The Most Popular Image File Format: Ranking the Top Choice

Choose the image file format you think is the most popular!

Author: Gregor Krambs
Updated on Apr 16, 2024 07:14
Welcome to StrawPoll, your hub for engaging and exciting polls and rankings! Today, we bring you a spectacular showdown - "What is the most popular image file format?" As visuals increasingly dominate the digital landscape, it's time to settle the score and crown the ultimate champion of image formats. Will the versatile and widely-used JPEG claim the throne, or will the animated and fun-loving GIF snatch the title? Perhaps the powerful and lossless PNG will rise to the occasion, or maybe a dark horse contender will surprise us all! Cast your vote now, and if your favorite format isn't on the list, fear not – you can suggest a missing option and rally support for it. Join the fray and help us determine the undisputed heavyweight of image file formats! Your opinion matters – so let your voice be heard and let the battle commence!

What Is the Most Popular Image File Format?

  1. 1
    This is the most popular image file format due to its widespread use on the internet and its compatibility with most devices. It is a compressed format that allows for high-quality images with smaller file sizes.
    JPEG (Joint Photographic Experts Group) is a widely used image file format designed for compressing and storing digital photographs. It uses lossy compression, meaning it reduces the file size by selectively discarding some of the image data. This results in smaller file sizes but also some loss of image quality. JPEG is versatile and supports millions of colors, making it ideal for photographs and complex images. It is the most commonly used image format on the internet.
    • File Extension: .jpg
    • Compression Method: lossy compression
    • Color Depth: 8-bit
    • Maximum Image Size: 65,535 x 65,535 pixels
    • Supported Color Spaces: RGB, CMYK, Grayscale
  2. 2


    This format is widely used for images that require transparency, such as logos and icons. It is also a lossless format, which means it does not sacrifice image quality in order to reduce file size.
    PNG (Portable Network Graphics) is a lossless image file format that was designed as a replacement for the GIF format. It supports a wide range of colors and provides compression without loss of image quality. PNG is commonly used for web graphics, icons, logos, and other types of images that require transparent backgrounds or crisp edges.
    • Lossless compression: PNG uses lossless compression algorithm, which allows for compressed files without any loss in image quality.
    • Supports transparency: PNG supports both binary transparency (a single color can be transparent) and alpha transparency (each pixel can have varying degrees of transparency).
    • Wide color range: PNG supports various color depths, including 1-bit (black and white), 8-bit grayscale, 24-bit RGB, and 48-bit truecolor.
    • Gamma correction: PNG supports gamma correction, allowing for proper color rendering on different display devices.
    • Interlacing: PNG supports interlacing, allowing for progressive rendering of images on slow network connections.
  3. 3


    This format is commonly used for animated images and memes. It supports animation and transparency, but has limited color depth and is not suitable for high-quality photographs.
    GIF, or Graphics Interchange Format, is a widely used image file format that supports both static and animated images. It uses lossless compression, meaning that the image quality is not compromised during compression. GIF files are most commonly used for simple graphics and animations on the web.
    • File Extension: .gif
    • Color Palette: 256 colors
    • Maximum Image Size: 65,535 x 65,535 pixels
    • Animation Support: Allows for frame-based animations
    • Transparency: Supports both fully transparent and partially transparent pixels
  4. 4


    This format is commonly used on Microsoft Windows systems and is known for its simplicity and compatibility with older systems. However, it is not a compressed format and can result in large file sizes.
    BMP (Bitmap) is an image file format that stores bitmap digital images. It is a raster graphics format that is widely supported across different platforms and software applications.
    • File extension: .bmp
    • Color depth: 1, 4, 8, 16, 24, or 32 bits per pixel
    • Maximum dimensions: 65,535 x 65,535 pixels
    • Compression: Uncompressed or optionally compressed with RLE
    • Pixel storage: Pixel data stored in rows
  5. 5
    This format is commonly used in professional settings due to its ability to store high-quality images and support for multiple layers and color spaces. However, it is also a large file format and not widely supported on the internet.
    TIFF (Tagged Image File Format) is a popular image file format known for its ability to store high-quality images with lossless compression. It is widely used in the photography and publishing industries.
    • Image Quality: TIFF supports lossless compression, allowing for high-quality images with no loss of detail.
    • Color Space: TIFF supports various color spaces, including RGB, CMYK, grayscale, and indexed color.
    • Bit Depth: TIFF supports both 8-bit and 16-bit per channel color depths, providing a wide range of color representation.
    • Metadata: TIFF can store extensive metadata including image description, author, copyright information, and GPS coordinates.
    • Layers: TIFF supports multiple layers, making it suitable for professional image editing applications.
  6. 6


    This format is the default file format for Adobe Photoshop and allows for the preservation of layers, masks, and other editing features. However, it is not widely supported outside of Adobe software.
    PSD (Photoshop Document) is a popular image file format primarily used by Adobe Photoshop for saving and editing layered images. It supports multiple color modes, transparency, and various image effects.
    • File Format: Binary
    • Max File Size: 2 GB
    • Color Modes: RGB, CMYK, grayscale, duotone, indexed color, multichannel
    • Layers: Allows saving and editing of multiple layers within a single file
    • Transparency: Supports alpha channels and layer masks for transparency
  7. 7
    This format was developed by Google and is designed for web use, with support for both lossless and lossy compression. It is gaining popularity due to its ability to provide high-quality images with smaller file sizes than JPEG.
    WEBP is an image file format that uses both lossy and lossless compression developed by Google. It is designed to provide smaller file sizes with high-quality images, making it ideal for web applications. It supports a variety of image data, including animated images and static images with transparency.
    • Lossy Compression: WEBP supports lossy compression, which reduces file size by discarding some image data.
    • Lossless Compression: WEBP also supports lossless compression, which preserves all image data while achieving smaller file sizes than other formats like PNG or GIF.
    • Animated Images: WEBP can store a sequence of images as a single file, enabling the creation of animated images similar to GIF format.
    • Transparent Images: WEBP supports transparency, allowing for images with alpha channel transparency like PNG format.
    • High-Quality Images: WEBP uses advanced compression techniques to maintain high-quality images, even at smaller file sizes.
  8. 8


    This format is used by professional photographers and provides the highest quality image capture with the ability to edit and adjust settings after the fact. However, it requires specialized software to view and edit.
    RAW (short for raw image format) is a type of image file format that captures all the data from the camera's image sensor without any processing or compression. It is often referred to as a digital negative due to its similarity to film negatives, containing the unprocessed and untouched image data.
    • Lossless Compression: RAW files use lossless compression to reduce file size without sacrificing image quality.
    • Higher Bit Depth: RAW files typically have higher bit depth, allowing for more color accuracy and dynamic range.
    • Flexible Editing: Due to the uncompressed nature of RAW files, they offer more flexibility in terms of post-processing and editing.
    • Sensor Data: RAW files store the raw sensor data captured by the camera, providing more information for editing and adjustments.
    • No White Balance: RAW files have no specific white balance applied, enabling photographers to adjust it freely during post-processing.
  9. 9


    This format is commonly used in graphic design and allows for vector graphics and text to be included in the image file. It is compatible with both Windows and Mac systems.
    EPS (Encapsulated PostScript) is a commonly used image file format that supports both vector and raster graphics. It is primarily used for high-quality printing and is widely supported by design and publishing software.
    • File extension: .eps
    • MIME type: application/postscript
    • Graphics model: Vector and raster
    • Color space: CMYK, RGB, Grayscale
    • Compression: Optional (LZW or RLE)
  10. 10


    This format is a vector image format that allows for scaling without loss of quality. It is commonly used for logos and icons on websites and is supported by most modern browsers.
    Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) is an XML-based vector image format widely used on the web to display and interact with two-dimensional graphics. It allows for high-quality scalable graphics that remain sharp at any size.
    • File Extension: .svg
    • MIME Type: image/svg+xml
    • Scalability: Supports both vector and raster graphics, allowing images to be scaled up or down without losing quality.
    • Interactivity: Supports event-based interactivity like hover effects and animations.
    • Text Support: Includes support for text handling, allowing for selectable and searchable text.

Missing your favorite image file format?


Ranking factors for popular image file format

  1. File compression
    The ability of the file format to compress images without significant loss in quality is essential. Lossless compression maintains the original quality, while lossy compression reduces file size at the expense of some quality loss.
  2. File size
    Smaller file sizes are generally preferable, as they take up less storage space and load faster on web pages or within applications.
  3. Compatibility
    The image format should be widely supported and easily viewable across various devices, operating systems, and software applications.
  4. Color support
    The format should provide sufficient color depth and support different color spaces (e.g., RGB, CMYK) for various use cases, such as photography, graphic design, and digital illustration.
  5. Transparency support
    Some formats can support transparent backgrounds or areas within an image, which is useful for graphic design or web design.
  6. Metadata storage
    The ability to store additional information, such as copyright, author, and geolocation data, can be useful for organizing and tracking image assets.
  7. Animation support
    Some file formats can support animated sequences, which is ideal for creating GIFs or short video clips.
  8. Vector support
    Vector image formats can store image data as mathematical formulas rather than pixels, allowing for easy scaling and editing without quality degradation.
  9. Ease of editing
    Certain image formats may be easier to work with and edit than others, which can be a critical factor for designers and photographers.
  10. Industry adoption
    Consider the popularity of the file format within specific industries, such as web design, printing, or photography. Industry-standard formats may be preferred or even required for certain applications.

About this ranking

This is a community-based ranking of the most popular image file format. We do our best to provide fair voting, but it is not intended to be exhaustive. So if you notice something or format is missing, feel free to help improve the ranking!


  • 199 votes
  • 10 ranked items

Movers & Shakers

Voting Rules

A participant may cast an up or down vote for each format once every 24 hours. The rank of each format is then calculated from the weighted sum of all up and down votes.


More information on most popular image file format

When it comes to sharing and storing images, there are a variety of file formats to choose from. Each format has its own unique features and benefits, making it important to choose the right one for your specific needs. Some of the most popular image file formats include JPEG, PNG, GIF, and BMP. JPEG, or Joint Photographic Experts Group, is known for its ability to compress high-quality images into smaller file sizes, making it a popular choice for web design and digital photography. PNG, or Portable Network Graphics, is another popular format that offers high-quality images with transparent backgrounds. GIF, or Graphics Interchange Format, is commonly used for animation and creating small, looping videos. Finally, BMP, or Bitmap, is a format that does not compress images, resulting in larger file sizes but higher quality images. Overall, the most popular image file format will depend on the specific use case and desired outcome. Understanding the differences between these formats can help you make an informed decision when it comes to storing and sharing your images.

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