Updated: 10/11/2017 by Computer Hope

GIF image examplePronounced jiff and short for Graphic Interchange Format, GIF is a file extension and a bit-mapped graphics file introduced by CompuServe (primarily Bob Berry)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. The picture of a man holding up the Computer Hope logo is an example of a GIF.

On December 24, 1994 Unisys and CompuServe announced that 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 lead to the development of 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 JIF (a soft g), not GIF, just like the JIF peanut butter brand, if you are familiar with it.

What opens a GIF or .gif file?

Every image editor, paint program, and image viewer is capable of opening and viewing a GIF file. See the document below for a listing and examples of image editors that are capable of viewing and editing gif files.

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