Screenshot formats

on May 5, 2007 - 3099 Views

What format should I save my screenshot as?

The one vital rule:

  1. Not as a bitmap (.bmp)

If you don’t know the differences between different image formats, and how data relating to the picture is stored you might want to check out this article on Wikipedia about the way bitmap files are stored.

Using a bitmap, such as the 904KB image on shcorporation‘s freewebs site slows down your website hugely. Do you really think someone wants to sit and wait for an image to load just because someone can’t be bothered, or isn’t aware of how to make an image web-ready?

Okay, not a bitmap – but what should I use?

.gif, .jpg and .png are all fine.

Personally I prefer saving files in the .PNG (vector) format, because as wikipedia puts it, there are some distinct advantages over the other potential formats:

    • On most images, PNG can achieve greater compression than GIF (see the section on filesize, below).
    • PNG gives a much wider range of transparency options than GIF, including alpha-channel transparency.
    • PNG gives a much wider range of color depths than GIF (truecolor up to 48-bit compared to 8-bit 256-color), allowing for greater color precision, smoother fades, etc.
    • GIF supports animation while PNG does not.
    • PNG images are widely supported, but not as widely supported as GIF images

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PNG#Comparison_with_other_file_formats

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5 Responses to Screenshot formats

  1. Robin Monks says:

    Using a program like GIMP, http://gimp.org you can control compression for PNG, JPEG and GIF files. JPEG saved with a quality of 90 or higher for screenshots usually turn out quite good.

    Also, you can upload you image, even bitmap, at http://imageshack.us and choose the “resize image” -> “optimize without resizing” option to make the smallest possible graphic (and you can even host it off their site 🙂 )

    Robin

  2. Phil Gamble says:

    If someone is low enough to steal graphics they can easily print screen them from your program. But yes, distortion is the bad part of compressed JPGs.

  3. Grego says:

    JPGs aren’t good. They distort the image quite a lot. They are very bad if you want to look at detail. However, this makes them very good if you have graphics which you don’t want to be stolen…

  4. Phil Gamble says:

    Oh, I always thought PNGs were a vector format. Thanks for correcting me.

  5. Eyas says:

    Just a micro-correction, PNG is a raster (bitmap) format.

    Bitmap stores information about pixels, while vector stores informaiton as shapes.

    PNG’s compression might be ‘vector-like’ in some ways, but strictly speaking, it is NOT a vector format.

    Vector formats include:
    .dwg, AutoCAD’s format
    .svg, Scalable Vector Graphics, used in Wikipedia
    .swf, flash contains some vector-like features

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