A Tagged Image File Format or TIFF is a specific type of computer file format for storing raster graphic images and exchanging them between application programs. Examples of these programs include word processing, scanning, image manipulation or editors, optical character recognition, and desktop publishing applications, among others.
The format was developed in 1986 by a group spearheaded by Aldus Corporation, which is now part of Adobe Inc. It can be identified with a .tiff or .tif suffix in the filename. Nonetheless, the format now remains as one of the most common graphic image formats alongside the JPEG standard and PNG file format.
The Pros: Advantages of TIFF
One of the advantages of this file format is that it can handle images and data within a single file, including header tags such as size, definition, image-data arrangement, applied image compression, thus making it flexible and adaptable. For example, a single TIFF file can contain both JPEF and PackBits compressed images.
What makes the format more flexible and adaptable is that it can be rendered in any classes, including gray scale, color palette, or RGB full color. Hence, including being a container for different image file formats, it is a single format usable across multiple computer platforms.
Take note that it can also store image data in a lossless format. Unlike the more common and standard JPEG standard, which is a lossy format, another advantage of TIFF is that it is useful for archiving image for further editing, transferring, and saving without losing image quality. The BMP file format, which is a lossless format, is less flexible when compared to TIFF.
The Cons: Disadvantages of TIFF
When compared to the PNG and JPEG standard, a principal disadvantage of TIFF is that it has a relatively large file size. Take note that this format is generally uncompressed. A single file can typically take up at least 100 megabytes of storage space.
Having a large image file size means that using the format would consume storage space quickly or it may be too large to be uploaded as an email attachment. When used as an online image for websites or web-based applications, it can take a long time to open or download, while also consuming more broadband data.
Remember that the format can store multiple files in a single file. A single TIFF file can be a container for different image files. This is useful for the storage and transmission of text data or documents. However, unlike the PDF format, it cannot directly store the textual contents of documents, thereby making it unsuitable for archiving searchable texts.
Summary and Takeaway: Pros and Cons of Tagged Image File Format
Based on the aforementioned, the advantages of the Tagged Image File Format center on its usefulness for editing, storing, archiving, and transmitting images. The fact that it can render lossless images and contain them within a single file format make them ideal for applications such as image manipulation, graphics editing, and desktop publishing.
On the other hand, the drawbacks of this format center on its limited applications. Despite being flexible and adaptable, it is unsuitable for on-demand online transmission, especially as a web image, because of its larger file size. In addition, when it comes to storing and archiving documents, the PDF format is a better alternative.