Graphics Interchange Format

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graphics interchange format

[¦graf·iks ′in·tər‚chānj ‚fȯr‚mat]
(computer science)
Common file format for compressed graphic images on the World Wide Web that is limited to 256 colors. Abbreviated GIF.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

Graphics Interchange Format

(graphics, file format)
/gif/, occasionally /jif/ (GIF, GIF 89A) A standard for digitised images compressed with the LZW algorithm, defined in 1987 by CompuServe (CIS).

Graphics Interchange Format and GIF are service marks of CompuServe Incorporated. This only affects use of GIF within Compuserve, and pass-through licensing for software to access them, it doesn't affect anyone else's use of GIF. It followed from a 1994 legal action by Unisys against CIS for violating Unisys's LZW software patent. The CompuServe Vice President has stated that "CompuServe is committed to keeping the GIF 89A specification as an open, fully-supported, non-proprietary specification for the entire on-line community including the World-Wide Web".

Filename extension: .gif.

File format.

GIF89a specification.

See also progressive coding, animated GIF.
This article is provided by FOLDOC - Free Online Dictionary of Computing (
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