Helpful Hints

Five Common File Types for Sharing Images

designer sharing files

In our line of work, we send and receive a lot of artwork and images. Clients may have their own photography that they wish to incorporate into the design project that we are working on for them. Sending image files can be confusing for the novice because there are dozens of different file types that can be used for sharing images. We thought it might be handy to have a brief guide to the five most common image sharing file types.

.JPEG – By far the most common file type for sharing high resolution images. Most people will have heard of a JPEG. The file type is universally popular because you are unlikely to have any compatibility issues. However, the format does have limitations. For instance, it cannot support transparency.

.PNG – Because there is very little compression compared with other file types, the image quality is preserved – however that does tend to make the files rather large.

.GIF – At the other end of the compression scale, GIFs are highly compressed. The file type was developed for sharing images quickly back in the days of the dial-up internet. Don’t use this type of file for sharing anything that you want printed – the images will be very low resolution and only use limited colours. These days, GIFs are mostly used for sharing short animations and videos of cats being surprised by cucumbers on social media.

.TIFF – We designers love TIFF files, but they are less well known outside of design and print circles. TIFF stands for Tagged Image File Format. Maximum image quality is retained when sharing files in this format – making TIFF the best choice for high quality prints.

.PSD – Photoshop files can be shared between devices that both have Photoshop installed on them. This file format is handy for sharing ‘work-in-progress’ but a PSD file is not an exported or final image.

Ask an Expert

If you are confused by file types and unsure of the best way to share an image with us, just get in touch and we’ll do whatever we can to help you from our end. Call us on 01603 409060 or email

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