Which Graphic File Formats Work Where

Graphic file formats vary widely in their application. When choosing a graphic file format, here is the main consideration…

Will it the graphic be used in ink-on-paper printing by a commercial printer, printed out on a desktop laser or ink-jet printer, or viewed only on a computer screen?

Depending on the answer, the following will vary:
1. Line (vector, made up of solid lines) art, or photographic (raster, made up of dots) art?
2. Size (dimensions in inches or pixels)
3. Resolution (image quality)/file size
4. Color model (commercial printers use CMYK process color or PMS spot color matching, color doesn’t usually matter so much for desktop printing, and screens use RGB color.

All four of the above variables must be correct in order for the graphic to be reproduced accurately. When your commercial printer tells you that they need a hi-res EPS or TIF file, it is true. 

This tutorial is available with more detail: click here.

*The possible exception is Microsoft Publisher, but consult with your commercial printer before creating files for printing.
 

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