What are lossless image formats?

3 Answers 3


Some compression-algorithms change the image to gain a better compression-ration - that are lossy algorithms/image formats. Most notably here is JPEG. Some keep all image information (from the original recording), these are called lossless. Lossless compression produces bigger files, but you have no changes to your graphic. Common lossless image formats are PNG, (GIF) or TIFF. As most of the time you can learn more from Wikipedia.

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    GIFs use lossless data compression, but can't be considered a lossless image format.
    – e100
    Jan 5, 2011 at 10:09
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    @e100: Yeah. With one caveat... saving a GIF usually means converting to indexed colour first, which typically does a bit of damage. Nov 19, 2012 at 6:44
  • @MarcEdwards: I think that is what I was trying to get at
    – e100
    Nov 19, 2012 at 10:12
  • @e100 I knew you'd know that. Just wanted to make it clear for the folks reading along at home. :D Nov 19, 2012 at 14:09
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    @e100 yes but same happens with PNG if you have a floating point image. The term lossless does not imply no loss in all circumstances, just no loss if the data is compatible. Preprocessing is of no concern, so its lossless after any needed preprocessing.
    – joojaa
    Apr 13, 2014 at 8:17

JPEG 2000 is an excellent lossless image format, at least, it can be configured as such. It's particularly useful for large files, as it allows for zooming in on a particular portion of an image without loading the entire image.


PNG24 is the only format you will find that has working transparencies that can lay on-top of CSS animations. Better to learn the easy way then the hard ways with GIF and PNG 8.

  • I think you have the wrong question here (just noticed you posted this for a different one)
    – Yisela
    Nov 19, 2012 at 19:39
  • If we lived in a world where all images were displayed independently then the traditional rule book would apply, but it is important for designers to understand how their designs are going to be animating if they will be. Rather then leaving the Ksize head aches to the developer.. do them a favor and keep these things in mind. thats all I was trying to say. Mar 6, 2013 at 16:39

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