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A .gif file is a Graphics Interchange Format (GIF) image. GIFs are a popular image format on the Internet because they support transparent backgrounds and animation. They compress images using an indexed color palette, limiting each image to 256 colors. This color limit means that GIFs are best suited to illustrations and graphics with areas of flat colors, not photographs.

GIF images are viewable by any graphics editor or web browser. GIFs without animation can be easily converted to PNG (.png) images, another common format that supports transparent backgrounds. Converting a GIF to other formats, like bitmap (.bmp) or JPEG (.jpg), will flatten any transparent background, replacing it with a white field.

Converting to .GIF

Since the GIF format only supports a palette of 256 colors, converting a JPEG, 24-bit PNG, bitmap, or TIFF file will result in a loss of image quality. Converting an image with more than 256 colors into a GIF will result in dithering, or the blending of pixels of different colors together. Converting another indexed color image, like an 8-bit PNG, to a GIF will produce a result very close to the original.

About File Helper

File Helper is a free web-based file utility that can open Graphics Interchange Format files and over 150 other file formats directly in your web browser. It displays file properties, including metadata, and image EXIF data, along with information about the corresponding file type. File Helper can also view and convert images to several common formats. Have an unknown file or a file without an extension? No problem — File Helper can identify over 15,000 file types.

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