.TIF File Extension

2 file types use the .tif file extension.

Tagged Image File

Developer Adobe Systems
3.5  |  262 Votes
NEW: Open your .TIF file online with File Helper.View Online

What is a TIF file?

A TIF file is an image saved in the Tagged Image File Format (TIFF), a high-quality graphics format. It is often used for storing images with many colors, typically digital photos, and includes support for layers and multiple pages.

More Information

Screenshot of a .tif file in Microsoft Photos 2020
TIF file open in Microsoft Photos 2020

The TIFF format was developed in the mid-1980s by Aldus Corporation (merged with Adobe Systems in 1994) to be a universal image format for different computer platforms and document scanners. The format became popular among professionals in the publishing industry, including photographers and graphic artists. The format's popularity was partially due to its ability to be edited and re-saved without losing image quality.

TIF files can be saved in an uncompressed (lossless) format or may incorporate .JPEG (lossy) compression. They may also use LZW lossless compression, which reduces the TIF file size but does not reduce the quality of the image.

NOTE: TIF files may also use the .TIFF extension.

How to open a TIF file

You can open a TIF file with various image editors since the TIFF format is common among graphics professionals. Some applications that support the format include Microsoft Photos (Windows), CorelDRAW Graphics Suite (Windows and macOS), ACD Systems ACDSee Photo Studio (Windows), Adobe Photoshop (Windows and macOS), and Apple Preview (bundled with macOS).

NOTE: You can also open TIF files with Google Photos in a web browser, Chrome OS, and on Android and iOS devices.

How to convert a TIF file

Several image viewers and editors, including Microsoft Photos, Apple Preview, and Adobe Photoshop, can convert TIF files to other image formats.

For example, Microsoft Photos can convert TIF files to the following formats:

  • .JPG - JPEG Image
  • .PNG - Portable Network Graphic
  • .BMP - Bitmap Image
  • .JXR - JPEG XR Image

Programs that open TIF files

GeoTIFF Image

Developer Adobe Systems
3.3  |  44 Votes

A TIF file may also be a TIFF-compliant geospatial image created in the GeoTIFF format. It contains geographic or cartographic data embedded as tags within the file. TIF files allow users to embed GIS data without deviating from the TIFF (Tagged Image File Format) format.

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Screenshot of a .tif file in QGIS 3
TIF file open in QGIS 3

Since GeoTIFF files contain coordinates, GIS applications can map specific regions of the raster image to latitude and longitude coordinates.

NOTE: The GeoTIFF format uses the extensible features of the TIFF specification to add tagged metadata to the image.

How to open a TIF file

You can open a TIF file in ESRI ArcGIS Pro (Windows), OriginLab Origin (Windows), QGIS (multiplatform), and several other GIS applications.

You can also open a TIF file in any image viewer that can open normal TIF files (such as Microsoft Photos or Apple Preview). However, image viewers will not show the geographic data your TIF file contains.

Programs that open TIF files


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