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The Tagged Image File Format which is known as a TIFF image is an Adobe Systems development for the storage of all types of images from line art to photographs. While today this file format is a proprietary format of Adobe, it was originally developed by Aldus as a means of storing images for desktop publishing. Today the TIFF file format is still a publishing type of format in that it is most commonly used as a means of scanning faxing and other image related functions including that of image recognition tools.

Since its absorption into the Adobe network of files and protocols as well as development tools, the TIFF image format has had no major updates and its currently released specification of version 6.0 has been around since 1992. Furthermore, there have also been a number of newer specifications that have been developed which are based on the TIFF format which have been updated on a regular basis.

In its original development, the phrase of Tagged Image File Format was actually used as more or less a subtitle but with the latest 6.0 specification of the format, these subtitles no longer exist. Its intended development was to create a common file format for all desktop scanners to use in order to create more synchronicity in the desktop publishing field. It was back in the 1980’s that Aldus developed the TIFF as a binary type image format. The reasons for this was because those first generations of scanners and fax machines were only capable of rendering one of two values for every pixel; either on or off. What this meant is that the first specification of the TIFF was nothing more than black and white.

Of course many things have changed and the sizes of hard drives have increased as well as the advancement in photo scanning capabilities which has led to changes in the TIFF format to allow at first grayscale images followed by the current full-colour images of today. Aldus was also the original developer of the PageMaker software program and the developer for both JPEG as well as PNG which Adobe also got when consuming the Aldus Corporation.

Today, TIFF is seen as a very flexible type of image format in that it is capable of handling both data as well as images all in a single file. This data does not even include the standard header data which most image formats have, but rather it contains the data necessary for publishing peripherals to reproduce the image with fine accuracy; whether we are discussing a printer or even a scanner.

While the TIFF format is a compressed image format, unlike its competitors it is lossless which allows it to be edited, saved, re-edited and saved again without having to deal with loss or pixilation of the image in question. However, another bonus to the TIFF is that like PNG it is capable of handling layers, but it goes above and beyond that with the ability to handle pages as well.

Original Authors: Nick
Edit Update Authors: M.A.Harris
Updated On: 05/03/2009


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