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What's A GIF And A JPEG?

Know what your Web designer is talking about-a simple guide to images.

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When you're talking to a Web designer, they might mentionGIFs or JPEGs. These are file formats for graphics. GIF stands forgraphics interchange format, and JPEG stands for joint photographicexperts group. You might see JPG instead of JPEG, which is mostcommonly used on PCs vs. Macs.

Both file formats use compression mechanisms to reduce a digitalimage. JPEGs work best for photographs while a GIF works betterwith line drawings or illustrations. Graphics saved as JPEGs aresaid to download faster than GIFs, but they can't be madetransparent or interlaced.

Transparent GIFs allow the background of a graphic to be madetransparent, which is handy to achieve certain designs. InterlacedGIFs appear to "fade in" as opposed to appearing like aVenetian blind from top to bottom. The image starts off blurry andcomes into focus, giving a feeling of downloading more quicklybecause you see the full image immediately, even if notclearly.

Aliza Sherman is an entrepreneur and author of Cybergrrl:A Woman's Guide to the World Wide Web (Ballantine Books).She is currently working on her next book and new company.

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