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What Is PNG?

Whether you're a graphic designer, digital artist, or a business owner creating presentations for clients, knowing which file format to use is a vital element of success. There are numerous file formats for photos and graphics, including JPEG, GIF, and PNG. What is PNG? Here are some of the basics of this type of file format so you can understand when to use it for your projects.
 
PNG Overview
 
PNG stands for Portable Network Graphics. It's a file format that's designed to compress image files without losing data integrity, and it's a non-patented alternative to the GIF format. Because this lossless compression format supports both full-color and grayscale images, it's widely used on the internet. One of the most common applications is storing screenshots and graphics on websites.
 
How To Open and Convert a PNG File
 
Now that you know what is PNG, the next step is figuring out how to access and use this format. If you have a PNG file on a Windows computer, you can open it with Windows Photo Viewer. Common internet browsers, including Chrome, Internet Explorer, and Firefox can automatically view PNG files without downloading them first.
 
Generally, you can also use a browser to open a PNG file that's saved on your hard drive. Other programs that can open PNG files include XnView, Google Drive, and Eye of GNOME. If you want to edit and save files in PNG format, you can use Microsoft Paint, the GIMP utility, or Adobe Photoshop.
 
The vast majority of free file converter programs can change a PNG file to another format, such as GIF, JPEG, and TIFF. There are also online converters, such as ZamZar. The PicSvg tool converts to the Scalable Vector Graphics format.
 
When To Use PNG Format
 
With all these available tools that can open, save, edit and convert various types of image file formats, you have the freedom to choose which format to use for each application. While PNG format is designed to compress image data, the file size can still be rather large, so it might not be the best option for emailing.
 
However, if image quality is important to you, PNG is an excellent format to choose. Saving in PNG format is especially smart for images that have a lot of contrast, large solid-color areas, and lines of text.  Because of the lossless nature of the compression, PNG is a great option for graphic design images, especially those that will be edited numerous times.
 
Using the right images and file formats can help your content engage your audience. When you need high-quality stock photos for your graphic design project, find countless options in Shutterstock's image library.
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