Updated: 09/12/2023 by Computer Hope
GIF file

Pronounced jiff and short for Graphics Interchange Format, GIF is a file extension and a bitmap graphics file introduced by CompuServe (primarily Steve Wilhite) in 1987.

Today, it is one of the most commonly used images on the Internet. The original release of the GIF standard was known as the GIF87a version. The GIF87a standard was later replaced in 1989 when CompuServe released an improved version known as GIF89a. This improved version supported animation and transparent images.

On December 24, 1994, Unisys and CompuServe announced they expected licensing fees for software that creates and displays GIF images. The thought of fees caused hysteria among developers and website owners using GIF images. Because of potential future GIF taxes, this hysteria led to developing the PNG format. The Software Freedom Law Center announced after October 1, 2006, all patent claims interfering with the employment of the GIF format expire, and users should have no concerns using the format.

How do you pronounce GIF?

The creator of GIF (Steve Wilhite) pronounces GIF as "JIFF" (a soft g), like the American Jif peanut butter brand, not "GIF."

What opens a GIF or .gif file?

Every image editor, paint program, and image viewer can open and view a GIF file. See the document below for a listing and examples of image editors capable of viewing and editing GIF files.

Should I save my image or photo as a GIF?

Deciding what image type to use when saving an image or photo depends on your requirements. If you're saving a basic image with no gradients and not many colors (e.g., a logo or illustration) and you're concerned about file size, we recommend using GIF. However, if you're working with a more complex image or photograph, we recommend saving it as a JPEG (Joint Photographic Experts Group) or PNG (Portable Network Graphics).


If your image is basic but requires transparency, we recommend PNG-24.

Should I write "GIF" in all uppercase?

Yes. GIF is an acronym that should be written in all uppercase.

1-by-1 GIF, BMP, Computer acronyms, GIF89a, Graphic, Interlaced GIF, JPEG, Photoshop terms, PNG, Raster, TLA, Transparent, Video terms, Web design terms