the Mayfair Printing Co. faqs/Supplying your own files

FAQs & Help > Supplying your own files

Common & Proprietary File Types

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Common File Types

Common File Types

The .pdf file format is widely supported by many software applications in the production of documents for print. Invented by Adobe and developed in the early 1990s as a way to present and exchange documents reliably, independent of software, hardware, or operating system. It is now an open standard maintained by the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO).

Encapsulated PostScript is a common vector file format usually generated with vector graphics software such as Adobe Illustrator and allow a graphic to be resized without altering the quality or resolution. Due to it’s high quality, it is commonly used with print elements so Designers often request this type of file when they need your logo [for example] to incorporate in their designs for print, web or large formats.

A .tif file is an image format for high-quality graphics and is widely used among publishing industries and photographers. They are widely supported and work in almost any program. Created in 1986 for the scanning of images, they were an attempt to get all companies to use one standard file format. Though .tif files originally only supported black and white, an update in 1988 added a colour palette. Now owned by Adobe, the .tif format is used for high colour-depth images and supports: Bitmaps, Greyscale, RGB and CMYK. They can also be compressed using LZW compression for reducing file sizes but this is NOT recommended when submitting .tif files for print.

A .jpg (pronounced ‘jay-peg') is a commonly used file format for storing digital images, particularly those produced by digital cameras and other photographic image capture devices. Lossy compression allows file sizes to controlled by the degree of compression applied allowing a selectable tradeoff between storage size and image quality.

A .gif (pronounced ‘gif' or ‘jif') is a bitmap image format that was introduced by CompuServe in 1987 and has since come into widespread usage on the web due to its wide support and portability. They’re created using lossless compression to reduce file size without removing any of the original data. The term ‘animated gif’ relates to its support of animation often seen in email design or in simple web banner ads.

A .png (pronounced ‘ping’) is a raster graphics file format that supports lossless data compression. Created as an improved, non-patented replacement for .gif — it’s the most used lossless image compression format used on the web. It was designed for transferring images on the Internet and is not for professional-quality print graphics as it does not support non-RGB colour spaces such as CMYK.

Besides the .raw suffix, there are many other Raw file formats. Raw files usually contain a vast amount of data that is uncompressed when shot on the digital camera or other photographic image capture device. As the name suggests, they’re raw because they’ve not been processed and therefore cannot be edited or printed until opened in an application such as Adobe Photoshop or Lightroom, Apple Aperture, Corel AfterShot Pro and Phase One Capture One Pro.

Capturing Raw files when shooting ensures you maintain greater control of your final images as Raw doesn’t just permit a greater scope for post-production due to the higher amount of data in the file, but also allows sharpness and image noise control that, if shooting in JPEG-only mode for example, may otherwise be compromised given the camera’s often limited internal processing capabilities.

Other Raw file formats include: .3fr, .ari, .arw, .bay, .crw, .cr2, .cap, .dcs, .dcr, .dng, .drf, .eip, .erf, .fff, .iiq, .k25, .kdc, .mdc, .mef, .mos, .mrw, .nef, .nrw, .obm, .orf, .pef, .ptx, .pxn, .r3d, .raf, .raw, .rwl, .rw2, .rwz, .sr2, .srf, .srw, .tif and .x3f

A .dwg file is a binary file format used for storing two- and three- dimensional design data and metadata. It is the native format for several Computer Aided Design packages including DraftSight, AutoCAD, IntelliCAD (and its variants), Caddie and Open Design Alliance compliant applications.

Scalable vector graphics are an XML-based vector image format for two-dimensional graphics with support for interactivity and animation. The SVG specification is an open standard developed by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) since 1999. The images in .svg files and their behaviors are defined in XML text files. This means that they can be searched, indexed, scripted, and compressed. As XML files, .svg images can be created and edited with any text editor, but are more often created with vector drawing software such as Adobe Illustrator and Affinity Designer. All major modern web browsers—including Mozilla Firefox, Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, Opera, and Safari—have at least some degree of .svg rendering support.

Proprietary File Types

Proprietary File Types

The .psd file extension is the native file format of Adobe Photoshop. Used in the print and photographic industry for processing, editing and retouching photographs, graphics and web design projects and much much more. A .psd file can contain multiple layers allowing the user to retain their work as editable layers even after the document has been saved.

The .indd file extension is the native file format of Adobe InDesign, a page design and layout toolset that allows you to work across desktop and mobile devices to create, preflight and publish everything from simple business cards and printed flyers to books and brochures, digital magazines, iPad apps, eBooks and interactive online documents.

Adobe InDesign has always had the ability to export a file that can be opened in a previous version. In all versions up to CS4 an .inx file (InDesign Interchange format) was exported but from CS5 onwards .idml took over as it is a well-documented XML-based format that also makes it possible for developers and scripters to automate InDesign document creation and modification, beyond what was possible with the old .inx format.

An .ai file is the native file format of Adobe Illustrator, a vector graphics application that lets you create logos, icons, sketches, typography and complex illustrations for print, web, interactive, video and mobile. Other file formats exported from Adobe Illustrator include .eps and .pdf.

The .qxp file extension is the native file format used by desktop publishing software QuarkXPress 6 and later versions. The .qxd file extension was used by QuarkXPress 5 and earlier however while the latest version doesn’t use the .qxd file extension, .qxd files can still be opened.

The .fh11 (and .fmx) file extension is the native file format of Macromedia Freehand MX (v11). Freehand is no longer supported by Adobe following their acquisition of Macromedia and as such, we cannot rely on the integrity of the files FreeHand can export for more complex artwork projects. It is generally advised to export your Freehand documents to another vector file format such as Adobe Illustrator or Serif’s Affinity Designer where possible to avoid any unexpected results once printed.

The .afdesign file extension is the native file format of Serif’s Affinity Designer — a welcomed newcomer to the vector graphics sector. It can open and export .pdf, .psd and .ai files as well as .eps and .svg files.

See further information about file formats and software applications we support.