Tagged Image File Format (abbreviated TIFF) is a file format for storing images, popular among Apple Macintosh owners, graphic artists, the publishing industry, and both amateur and professional photographers in general. As of 2009, it is under the control of Adobe Systems. Originally created by the company Aldus for use with what was then called "desktop publishing", the TIFF format is widely supported by image-manipulation applications, by publishing and page layout applications, by scanning, faxing, word processing, optical character recognition and other applications. Adobe Systems, which acquired Aldus, now holds the copyright to the TIFF specification. TIFF has not had a major update since 1992, though several Aldus/Adobe technical notes have been published with minor extensions to the format, and several specifications, including TIFF/EP (ISO 12234-2) and TIFF/IT (ISO 12639) have been based on the TIFF 6.0 specification.
The phrases "Tagged Image File Format" and "Tag Image File Format" were used as the subtitle to some early versions of the TIFF specification; the 1992 specification, TIFF 6.0, does not use either subtitle phrase, but is simply "TIFF".
TIFF was originally created as an attempt to get desktop scanner vendors of the mid-1980s to agree on a common scanned image file format, rather than have each company promote its own proprietary format. In the beginning, TIFF was only a binary image format (only two possible values for each pixel), since that was all that desktop scanners could handle. As scanners became more powerful, and as desktop computer disk space became more plentiful, TIFF grew to accommodate grayscale images, then color images. Today, TIFF is a popular format for high color-depth images, along with JPEG and PNG.
The first version of the TIFF specification was published by Aldus Corporation in the autumn of 1986 after two major earlier draft releases. It can be labeled as Revision 3.0. It was published after a series of meetings with various scanner manufacturers and software developers. In April 1987 Revision 4.0 was released and it contained mostly minor enhancements. In October 1988 Revision 5.0 was released and it added support for palette color images and LZW compression.
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