Tagged Image File Format (TIFF) refers to a very flexible and widely used file format for images and drawings. Despite the large number of different TIFF options, TIFF is an important format for exchanging images and raster graphics between different systems.
TIFF was designed from the beginning to be comprehensive enough to offer a wide range of storage options. For example, in addition to the actual graphic data, TIFF can also hold statistical data such as the names of the software used or the scanner type, etc. In addition, TIFF can represent bitonal formats with white and black pixels, but also graphics with grayscale or color representations. For these, TIFF uses various color models; such as RGB, CMYK or the Lab color model and has one, three or four color channels for this with up to 16 bitcolor depth. In addition, TIFF has up to 20 alpha channels with a bit depth of up to 16 bits.
The TIFF file format can be uncompressed, but it can also use lossy compression. Various alternatives are available for this with Run Length Encoding( RLE), JPEG, the LZW algorithm and compression according to CCITT Group 3 and 4.
These numerous possibilities make TIFF more complicated than other formats, but it can also be used more universally. In addition to many scanners, some graphics programs now also use TIFF as a storage format and not just for exchanging graphics.
The TIFF file format is designed so that its structure is independent of the operating system used. This means that it can be transferred from computer to computer over networks in a similar way to ASCII. It also recognizes the Exchangeable Image File( EXIF), Extensible Metadata Platform(XMP) and International Press Telecommunications Council( IPTC) metadata formats. The file extensions for TIFF files have the suffixes *.tif or *.tiff.