Table of File-Types

From DT Online

Graphics and illustration
Name .ext Description/Characteristics Properties/Applications
Windows Bitmap .bmp Stores information about a picture pixel by pixel in an uncompressed format Can be opened in many graphics applications but very expensive on memory – not suitable for internet use.
Windows Metafile Format .wmf Microsoft graphic format. WMF files can hold both vector and bit-mapped images. XaraX is a good program to edit this file type if you don't have Microsoft tools.
Graphic Interchange Format .gif A compressed bit-mapped graphics file format used by the Internet using ‘lossless’ compression.

Note: Unisys owns GIF format, and companies that use the algorithm are supposed to license its use.

Limited to 256 colours so most effective for line drawings rather than colour photos. Background colours can be made transparent and with an animation editor, GIF images can be put together for animated sequences.
Joint Photographic Expert Group .jpg or .jpeg JPG is one of the image file formats supported on the Web. It is compressed using a ‘lossy’ technique so some detail is sacrificed. JPG images support 16 million colours and are best suited for photographs and complex graphics. JPG does not work well on line drawings, lettering or simple graphics
Portable Network Graphics .png A graphics Internet and developed as a patent-free answer to the GIF format. PNG uses ‘lossless’ compression techniques PNG allows control of the degree of transparency, known as opacity. Saving, restoring and re-saving a PNG image will not degrade its quality but PNG does not support animation like GIF does.
Tagged Image File Format .tiff TIFF graphics can be any resolution, and they can be black and white, grey-scaled, or colour One of the most widely supported file formats for storing bit-mapped images (e.g. used in PageMaker and CorelDraw)
ZsoftPaintbrush .pcx Originally developed for PC Paintbrush, PCX is a graphics file format for graphics programs running on PCs. PCX is supported by most optical scanners, fax programs, desktop publishing systems and applications such as PC Paintbrush.
Data Exchange Format .dxf A two-dimensional graphics file format originally created by for the AutoCAD system. Supported by virtually all PC -based CAD products (e.g. can be imported into TechSoft Designer).
Acorn Draw .aff The file format used by the Acorn Draw program. Can be imported into TechSoft Designer and XaraX.
Name .ext Description/Characteristics Properties/Applications
Hewlett-Packard Graphics Language (HPGL) .hpgl Created by Hewlett-Packard to control plotters. Accepted as a standard by almost all plotters.
Stereolithography file (STL) .stl STL is the standard file type used by most additive manufacturing systems. STL is a triangulated representation of the surface of a 3D CAD model Most 3D Printer drivers will accept these files.
Name .ext Description/Characteristics Properties/Applications
MS PowerPoint .ppt Used for creating slides and overhead presentations.

Note: This file type can become infected.

Can be opened in most versions of MS PowerPoint but some difficulties with images between different age versions. Stores images at original full size, which can result in over-large files.
Macromedia Flash .swf Macromedia Flash integrates video, text, audio, and graphics. Although proprietary, it is estimated now to be present more than 97% of Internet-enabled desktops. Flash files are an increasingly common means of providing high quality animation effects over the Internet.
Musical Instrument Digital Interface .mid A MIDI representation of a sound includes values for the note's pitch, length, and volume. It can also include additional characteristics, such as attack and delay time. The MIDI standard is supported by most synthesizers, so sounds created on one synthesizer can be played and manipulated on another synthesizer. Computers that have a MIDI interface can record sounds created by a synthesizer and then manipulate the data to produce new sounds.
Motion Picture Expert Group .mpg or .mpeg There are three major MPEG standards: MPEG-1, MPEG-2 and MPEG-4. MPEG uses a type of ‘lossy’ compression, since some data is removed. But the diminishment of data is generally imperceptible to the human eye. MPEG generally produces better-quality video than competing formats, such as Video for Windows and QuickTime. MPEG files can be decoded by special hardware or by software.
Apple Quick Time Video Clip .mov Apple QuickTime is a popular format for news, entertainment, movie trailers and virtual reality (VR) on the Internet. Use QuickTime to view news, entertainment, movie trailers and virtual reality content on the Internet. Digital cameras use QuickTime to capture audio and video clips.
Waveform audio file .wav The format for storing sound in files developed jointly by Microsoft and IBM, it has become a standard for sound on PCs. WAV sound files can be played by nearly all Windows applications that support sound.
Audio video interleave .avi The file format for Microsoft's Video for Windows standard. AVI files are limited to 320 x 240 resolution, and 30 frames per second, neither of which is adequate for full-screen, full-motion video but it does not require any special hardware Several programs capture this file extension including QuickTime and RealPlayer (available for the Mac). Recent files might be compressed with one the available codecs (i.e. compression standards).
Text and documents
Name .ext Description/Characteristics Properties/Applications
Text file .txt A true text file will be pure ASCII text with no formatting. Can be opened in Notepad, WordPad, or any other program designated as a text editors. Useful also to examine the content of other file types if required.
MS Word .doc The proprietary document format created by MS Word.

Note: This file type can become infected.

Can be read by most versions of MS Word but there can be some difficulties with included graphics when transferring across different aged versions. Can also be read by OpenOffice and LibreOffice
Rich Text Format .rtf A MS file type to specify the format of documents. Essentially an ASCII file with commands to indicate formatting information (e.g. fonts).

Note: This file type can become infected.

Often a system will be set so Word opens when an RTF file is encountered but RTF files can be transferred across most text based applications.
MS Publisher .pub The proprietary publication format created by MS Publisher Restricted transferability limited to specific versions of MS Publisher (but now supported by LibreOffice)
MS Word (XML) .docx XML-based document format now used in current versions of MS Office. Cannot easily be read by earlier versions of MS Office.
Adobe Portable Document File .pdf Captures formatting information from a variety of desktop publishing applications. Use to send formatted documents and have them appear on the recipient's monitor or printer as they were intended. To view you need Adobe Acrobat Reader, a free application distributed by Adobe Systems.
Open Document Format .odf An XML-based file format for spreadsheets, charts, presentations and word processing documents. Based on the Sun Microsystems specification for XML, (the default format for,) which had been specifically intended "to provide an open standard for office documents
The Internet
Name .ext Description/Characteristics Properties/Applications
Hypertext Mark-up .htm or .html Hypertext documents are used as the basis of most web pages Can be opened in any web browser and edited in any word-processor or text editor
Extensible Markup Language .xml A specification developed by the W3C and designed especially for Web documents XML should become the definitive file format used for web page design.
Scalable Vector Graphics .svg A vector graphics file format that enables two-dimensional images to be displayed in XML pages on the Internet. SVG images are scalable to the size of the viewing window and will adjust in size and resolution according to the window in which it is displayed.
Database and spreadsheets
Name .ext Description/Characteristics Properties/Applications
Comma-separated Values .csv Also known as a comma-delimited format for data representation. It is a database exported into a format where each record is a single line and each field in the record is indicated by a comma. Often associated with MS Excel but can usually be imported into almost any database or spreadsheet. CSV is one of the standard ways to transfer data into and out of a spreadsheet.
MS Excel .xls The proprietary spreadsheet format created by MS Excel (now superseded by the xlsx format)

Note: This file type can become infected.

Used in MS Excel and can also be captured by the OpenOffice Suite and LibreOffice
MS Access Databases .mdb The proprietary format used to exchange data between MS Access databases

Note: This file type can become infected.

Use restricted to MS Access database but can also be read by OpenOffice and LibreOffice
Back up and archive
Name .ext Description/Characteristics Properties/Applications
WinZip file .zip A compressed archive that may contain one file or many files in multiple directories. Use programs such as WinZip or the free download 7 Zip to reduce the size of uncompressed files before emailing them as attachments
Tape Archive File .tar A series of back up files strung together as a single uncompressed file. Most programs that will handle .ZIP or other archive formats will also handle .TAR files. Can be compressed to create files with tar.gz or tar.Z extensions

Note: File-type extensions should always be in lower case.

DT Online Buyers' Guide
  • Single Core processors are hardly ever available these days and Dual Core quite adequate (unless required for gaming and video editing etc.) but Quad Core would be better especially in view of the high graphics content likely to be needed for Design and Technology use.
  • Generally, the more expensive and newer processors and faster and more power efficient (although faster will almost always mean shorter battery life). Intel Core i5 and AMD Series-A8 processors or better are first choice but older Pentium or less expensive Celeron may be OK if only basic use is envisaged and speed is not a critical factor but cost is an issue.
  • Laptops for Design and Technology should have at least 4Gb of RAM (preferably 8Gb), 500Gb (preferably 1Tb) Hard Drive (but SSD is better), screen resolution of no less than 1600 × 900 pixels and Dedicated Graphics Card in addition to the usual network connections.
Laptops Tablets Wireless Mouse and Keyboard Laptop Monitors Web Cam USB Endoscope USB Microscope
Laptops Tablets Wireless Mouse and Keyboard Laptop Monitors Web Cam USB Endoscope USB Microscope