BMP File Format
   
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    GraphicsAcademy.com  >  File Formats  >  Microsoft Windows Device Independent Bitmap

       

     

    BMP File Format

    Short Name BMP
    Long Name Microsoft Windows Device Independent Bitmap
    Typical File Extensions .bmp .dib
    Contains Bitmap
    This is the standard format for storing bitmaps in Microsoft Windows 3.x and later (although of course many Windows applications support other file formats).

    BMP files can contain bitmaps at a variety of color depths: black and white, 16 color with a palette, 256 color with a palette, or 24 bit True Color.
    • Black and white, and 24 bit color BMPs are not compressed.

    • 16 color and 256 color BMPs can optionally be compressed using a Run-length Compression scheme. However, few programs can write out compressed BMPs, and many programs which can read BMPs are unable to read compressed files.
    Confusingly, Microsoft have also developed another format also called BMP which was designed for OS/2. The OS/2 BMP format is very similar, but has a different header, and many BMP compatible programs can't read OS/2 BMPs (fortunately though, these are rarely encountered).

    Although the BMP format was initially developed for Microsoft Windows, you can find programs on many other platforms (Apple Macintosh, UNIX, Linux, etc.) that can read these files.

    BMP files do tend to be large files, so I recommend that you do not use them on your web site (even though they can be displayed by many [not all] browsers). Instead convert your BMPs to GIF or PNG format, by loading into your paint program and doing Save As...

    A technical discussion of this format can be found in Chapter 2 of Graphics File Formats by David C. Kay and John R. Levine.


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