A Computer Techie’s Guide to Types of Files

When you were planning to build a website or needed to make changes to your existing website, you would have come across different types of files like .jpg, .png, .pdf, etc. Now, unless you’re a tech genius or have had some sort of schooling in computers, there's no way you could know what these terms mean.

Even if you’re a designer who knows the abbreviations for these file types, you will need to understand the benefits of differentiating the types of files. Say you’re a designer who needs to decide which type of file to suggest to your boss. You need to be able to differentiate between various types of files and know what file format is best suited to make the logo design or social media post. If you don't know which types of files are best for each of these requirements, you might end up with a logo that can’t be used for all your branding purposes or having social media posts that are not responsive on all devices. Hence, in any case, understanding the types of files you need and their specific uses is an advantage to your business.

What are the Two Categories of File Formats?

Before we start with the commonly used types of files, you might need to know about two major file categories that all file types essentially fall under.

• Raster File

Raster images are made up of a series of pixels or individual blocks. JPEG, GIF, and PNG are all examples of raster image extensions. As pixels have a defined proportion based on their resolution (high or low), they cannot be stretched to fill spaces and become distorted, resulting in blurry or unclear images. Resizing the image means that you will have to compromise on image quality and resolution.

• Vector File

Vector images, on the other hand, are far more flexible as they are constructed using proportional formulas rather than pixels. Examples of vector files are EPS, SVG, and PDF files which are perfect for creating graphics that require frequent resizing. It is highly recommended that images such as logos and brand graphics that can be used across various platforms must be created as a vector, and you must always retain a master file. Vectors are great for making images that need to be resized as they can fit all sizes from being your brand image on a product that you make to large posters or banners . The real beauty of vectors lies in their ability to be sized as small as a postage stamp, or large enough to fit on an 18-wheeler!

Pro Tip: Always make a point to receive all or most of the types of files as vector images as they come in handy when using the files in the future.

Types of File Formats

Now let’s get into the real stuff. Here’s a list of the most common types of files that you would come across.

1. JPG

Named after its creator, the JPG (also known as JPEG) stands for “Joint Photographic Experts Group”. The file formats are generally used in photographs and images as it can be compressed to hold a large amount of information. This is the type of file format that cameras typically use to store photos.

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The advantage of being able to be highly compressed also has a major disadvantage. JPG images are generally described to have “lossy” compression, meaning the image will lose its original quality during compression in order to make the file small. Thus JPG files are not recommended for printing but are ideal for using on the website due to their small size. Though you can use a high-quality JPG for printing purposes we recommend you use PDF or PNG file formats for print.


The Tagged Image File Format file type contains a large amount of detailed data and is thus very large in size. The highly uncompressed nature of the images, combined with the fact that they can be saved in all colors, including greyscale, CMYK for print, or RGB for web makes them great for print purposes. But as the images are quite large, they might not be ideal to be used on the web as it can slow down your page speed.

But the best use of these types of files is in photo editing software like Adobe Photoshop and page layout software such as Quark or Adobe InDesign. The high quality of the images means that you can accurately design and edit images that need to be high definition.

3. PNG

We spoke about JPG files where we told you that the images lose quality upon editing. Portable Network Graphics or PNG files are a great example of types of files that don’t lose their quality when they are edited. This file format is almost never used for printing and is exclusive for websites.

PNGs are slightly larger than JPGs and hence aren't ideal for larger images. However, the main advantage with PNGs is that you can save images with transparent backgrounds, which can be extremely useful for design and marketing projects.


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PNG file format is best for site favicon. A favicon is a small 16×16 pixel icon that helps visitors locate your page when they have multiple tabs open. Favicons need to be created in small sizes and hence preferred to be created as a PNG file. The major advantage here is the ease with which PNG images can be created when compared to other types of files.

4. GIF

You’ve probably come across GIFs on social media. GIF stands for Graphic Interchange Format is similar to JPGs in that it can be compressed but is also different for quite a few reasons. The first difference, which is obvious, is that GIFs can be viewed as animated images. Secondly, as we mentioned, GIFs are compressible but are much larger in size than JPGs when saved.

GIFs are a type of bitmap images composed of many tiny parts called pixels, just like the JPEG and PNG file formats. It also belongs to the types of files that does not lose its quality union resizing and is most suitable for storing graphics with a few colors, such as simple diagrams, shapes, and logos, rather than gradients.

Additionally, GIFs have a limited color range, which make them suitable for web use only.

5. PDF

PDFs were originally created by Adobe so that users could capture and review documents and graphics on any device, application, operating system, or web browser. This file type is very useful as it can be interchangeably used for both web and print.

Though these types of files have a powerful vector graphics foundation, they can display both vector and raster graphics, along with forms, spreadsheets, and more. Having PDF versions of your file is important as this is the high-quality file format most printing companies require from businesses.

Whether you want to send someone a digital form to fill out a line, or send them a printable booklet, PDFs can display them all without sacrificing resolution/quality.

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6. MP4

The MP4 is a multimedia container format that is usually used to store motion pictures, meaning videos. Though the file can store video, audio, and subtitles, its compression format allows the end result to be a very lightweight file that can be easily uploaded to your website or favorite social media channel. An advantage with MP4s is that it can be played on all major media players and streamed over the Internet, so you don’t have to worry about downloaded specific software. In short, this is the best choice for creating or saving video files to your website, social media, and more.

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7. EPS

The Encapsulated PostScript format is mainly used for re-scalable vector images. Like PDFs, EPS files can hold both vector and raster image data. The key advantage ith these types of files is that no matter The size, it will always display at the correct resolution. Hence, these types of files are best used for creating logos or clothing designs.

Although EPS files can include raster data, this type of file format is not used with photographs or artwork and isn’t used to display images on the web.

8. SVG

Scalable vector graphics like EPS are great for producing a clean and professional look for images. Like EPS they maintain the highest quality even when resized and are thus these types of files are also great for creating logos. You can use this format to even enlarge your images to fit billboard and hoardings. Today, we can view SVG images on all web browsers. It’s also a good format for printing purposes. So when you’re creating logos, icons and illustrations, make sure you save them as an SVG file.

When you create your website on Strikingly, you don’t have to worry about using the right types of files as Strikingly website editor supports a range of image formats such as jpg, png, and gif format for images.

Strikingly’s website builder even supports txt, pdf, doc, xls, ppt, pages, key, numbers, wps, jpg, png, gif, mp3, mp4, wav, flac, m4a, docx, xlsx, pptx, odt, odp, epub, zip, zipx, 7z, rar, etc. And even if your file type is not one among those listed above, don't worry. You can convert any types of files to a zip or rar file and then upload it to your Strikingly website. The only thing you need to keep in mind is to limit the size of the file to less than 10MB. Strikingly also offers varied storage space based on the plan that you’ve signed up for. With the limited plan, you get 1GB, 3GB with the pro plan, and 10GB of storage with the VIP plan.

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Understanding the difference between the various types of files may not always come in handy. But it will definitely avoid amateur goof-ups and situations that could have been completely avoided. And now that you’ve brushed up your core knowledge once again, it's time to set on to bigger projects. But don’t forget to join Strikingly to make your job way easier.