Resources/ Graphic Design - File Formats

Every digital file format uses a different color space, so they will each produce different results when viewed or printed. Read more about color proofing.

.EPS files
How they are different from other formats:
These files are scalable, which means they can be sized up without damaging the resolution or becoming "pixelated" or fuzzy. They are flexible and can be saved as GIF, TIFF or JPEG files if you have the right software.
How they are used:
EPS files are used only by designers, printers, sign/banner companies, specialty item printers, etc. Do not open or try to insert EPS files unless you are using a program such as Adobe Illustrator, Freehand, PhotoShop, Quark, PageMaker, Publisher or InDesign. Basically, these file types are useless in most Microsoft applications.
Color spaces: These files are the most flexible -- they can be in RGB (red, green, blue -- what your monitor uses to produce color), CMYK (cyan, magenta, yellow, black), grayscale, or spot color format.

.TIFF files -
How they are different from other formats: These are typically high resolution files used for full color or black and white printing by a commercial printer. They are not upwardly scalable like EPS files are. They are also good for insertion into documents that you seek to print out on a laser or ink jet printer. If an online version is needed, they can be down-sized as a lower-resolution GIF or JPEG file using PhotoShop software.
How they are used: Use these files by INSERTING them into the program you have open. Never try to just open them by double-clicking unless you are opening them from some type of photo-editing program like PhotoShop. To insert these files in MS Word, go to the Insert Menu, then scroll down to Picture. Insert picture from file. You may down size the images with good results. Making them larger will not usually yield good results, but scaling them down will work fine.
Color spaces: These files are in CMYK, bitmap or grayscale formats. They cannot be used for spot colors.

.GIF files -
How they are used: These are low-resolution files for use in Power Point presentations and web sites or online ads. The transparent versions can be used when you have a patterned background in Power Point.
How they are different from other formats: They are for use online and on-screen only, not in print.
Color space: GIF has its own color space specific for use on screens.

.JPEG files
How they are used:
These files can be low or high-resolution files and are the file format most digital cameras produce. In their low-resolution format, they are used online and in Power Point.
How they are different from other formats: They cannot be made to be transparent as GIF files can be. They are used more for reproducing photographs online whereas GIF files are used for line art images with fewer colors. The high-resolution version of these files can be changed into TIFF format for use in printed pieces or can be left as-is for insertion in MS Word documents.
Color space: RGB only

Low-resolution files vs. high-resolution files
Low-resolution files will only look good when viewed on a screen, not in print. High-resolution files will look good on both screen and when printed. High-resolution files are generally 300-1200 DPI (dots per inch). Low-resolution files are 72 DPI.

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