Understanding the Differences in File Types
There are many different types of computer files, but the most common ones are documents, pictures, videos, and music. All of these file types have their own file extension that can tell you what type of data is saved within them.
For example, a .jpg file is an image file with JPEG format while a .docx document will use Microsoft Word’s default formatting. In this article, we’ll discuss the numerous types of file formats you’ll see across the internet.
Portable Document Format (PDF)
The Portable Document Format is a file type that was developed by Adobe Systems. It is most often used to share files with online users since they cannot be edited directly.
The advantage of PDFs being they can be read on any device which means you don’t have to worry about what software or hardware the recipient has access to.
PDF files are also very versatile. You can even convert HEIC to PDF files using a few simple steps.
Joint Photographic Experts Group (JPEG)
A JPEG file is an image file that compresses the data in the file to reduce its size.
This means you can send files with accompanying photos much more easily since they won’t take up as much room on your device or when it’s being sent over the internet.
The biggest drawback for this format is quality loss, which occurs every time you save a JPEG file once because it reduces the amount of information stored within each pixel.
This results in blurry images and other distortions sooner than later if repeatedly saved at low-quality levels.
Portable Network Graphics (PNG)
The Portable Network Graphics file type is a lossless image format, meaning the quality of every pixel stays intact when it’s saved and read back in.
This allows for images to be compressed without losing any information which makes PNGs great if you’re trying to save on bandwidth or send large files over slow connections that might stall while downloading a JPEG or other formats.
Graphics Interchange Format (GIF)
The Graphics Interchange Format was created by CompuServe in 1987 and is the only file format to support animation. GIFs are commonly used for memes, images with text on them, or other images that contain multiple frames of movement within a single image.
Like JPEG files, this type will lose quality every time it’s saved so you’ll want to keep an eye out after repeated saves if your goal is to preserve as much quality as possible.
Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG)
Scalable Vector Graphics are vector image files, meaning they are made up of mathematically defined lines instead of pixels.
This makes SVG images great for logos or other graphics that need to be resized without losing quality because it can all be done by changing the numbers in the file rather than re-saving every time an adjustment needs to be made.
Moving Picture Experts Group (MP4)
The Moving Picture Experts Group file type is a multimedia container format that is currently one of the most widely supported formats.
It allows for files like videos, audios, or even subtitles to all be saved in the same place at once which makes it very convenient when you’re trying to send these types of media over different devices without any hassle.
Word Document (DOC and DOCX)
While Microsoft Word is a proprietary word processing software, the document file types it uses are not.
A DOC or DOCX files can be opened with free applications like LibreOffice and Open Office just as easily as they could in their original format.
These two formats differ from one another in terms of which features have been updated within them over time so if you’re sending a version that was created in 2003 there might be some compatibility issues while someone who’s receiving an updated 2009 file won’t have any problems opening up their older copy.
Hypertext Markup Language (HTML and HTM)
The Hypertext Markup Language is an extremely important file type to know about for anyone who works with the internet.
It’s what websites are made of and this means if you want your website or blog posts online, you’ll need HTML knowledge in some capacity since it forms the basis of every page on the web.
While both files types share similar features, they can’t be changed into one another without first opening them up as text documents which makes exchanging information between these two formats very difficult no matter how much experience you have working with either format.
Microsoft Excel Spreadsheet File (XLS and XLSX)
The Microsoft Excel Spreadsheet file type is a proprietary spreadsheet application used for all sorts of data organization and analysis.
While it can be opened in free alternatives like LibreOffice, the XLS format isn’t compatible with Google Sheets which means you might have to convert your information into another format before being able to share it between applications or devices that don’t use Excel when needed.
Rich Text Format (RTF)
In order to open up an RTF file using Microsoft Word, users need only select “open” from their top toolbar menu bar where they’ll see an option for this particular document type along with other similar formats within the same section.
Unlike DOC or DOCX files, RTF can be opened by other programs like LibreOffice and Open Office which makes it much more universal if you’re sharing your document with someone who doesn’t use the same program as you to open up these types of files.
Audio Video Interleave (AVI)
The Audio Video Interleave file type is a multimedia container format that holds both audio and video together.
While you’ll have to download an application like a VLC media player in order to play AVI files, this isn’t necessary if all you’re looking for is the sound or visual portion of your file because other free applications will allow you to pick which element you’d like without needing any additional downloads at first.
Interested in Learning More File Types?
As you can see, there are dozens of file types you should know about. Recognizing these file extensions will help in downloading the right types for certain applications.
It can also help you avoid compatibility issues. To learn more about this subject, continue reading our blog for more helpful articles.