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Tagged Image File Format

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Tagged Image File Format
File extension:.tiff, .tif
MIME type:image/tiff, image/tiff-fx
Type code:TIFF
Uniform Type Identifier:public.tiff
Developed by:Aldus, now Adobe Systems
Type of format:Image file formats
Extended to:Exif, DCF, TIFF/EP

Tagged Image File Format (also known as TIFF) is a container format for storing images, including photographs and line art. It is now under the control of Adobe. Originally created by the company Aldus[1] for use with what was then called "desktop publishing," TIFF is a popular format for color and black and white images. The TIFF format is widely supported by image-manipulation applications, by publishing and page layout applications, by scanning, faxing, word processing, optical character recognition and other applications. [2] Adobe Systems, which acquired Aldus, now holds the copyright to the TIFF specification. TIFF has not had a major update since 1992, though several Aldus/Adobe technical notes have been published with minor extensions to the format, and several specifications, including TIFF/EP, have been based on the TIFF 6.0 specification.


  1. Versions 4 and 5 of the TIFF specification included the sentence "This memorandum has been prepared jointly by Aldus and Microsoft in conjunction with leading scanner and printer manufacturers"; there was a TIFF co-marketing and developer support effort with Microsoft during this time, though Microsoft was not a technical contributor to the specification. Version 6 (1992) of the TIFF specification dropped the Microsoft reference. TIFF Revision 5.0 TIFF Revision 6.0
  2. TIFF was chosen as the native format for raster graphics in the NeXTstep operating system; this TIFF support carried over into Mac OS X.

Other websites

  • Adobe TIFF Resources page: Adobe links to the specification and main TIFF resources
  • LibTIFF Home Page: Widely used library used for reading and writing TIFF files as well as TIFF file processing command line tools
  • TIFF File Format FAQ and TIFF Tag Reference: Everything you always wanted to know about the TIFF File Format but were afraid to ask
  • The BigTIFF File Format Proposal: Breaking the 4 gigabyte boundary
  • TIFF description at Digital Preservation (The Library of Congress)
  • TIFF Revision 4.0: Specification for revision 4.0, in HTML (warning: for historical purposes only, the TIFF 6.0 spec contains the full 4.0 revision)
  • TIFF Revision 5.0: Specification for revision 5.0, in HTML (warning: for historical purposes only, the TIFF 6.0 spec contains the full 5.0 revision)
  • TIFF Revision 6.0: Specification for revision 6.0, in PDF (warning: there is an outdated and flawed section (jpeg compression), corrected in supplements, and there are additions to this PDF too – for the full specification, see link to Adobe TIFF Resources)
  • TIFF Central More TIFF links and information.