PNG Images

PNG Images, PNG is short for Portable Network Graphic, a type of raster image file. It’s particularly popular file type with web designers because it can handle graphics with transparent or semi-transparent backgrounds. The file format isn’t patented, so you can open a PNG using any image editing software without the need for licensing.

PNG files, which use the .png extension, can handle 16 million colors — which definitely sets them apart from most file types.

History of the PNG file.

The PNG image format launched in 1995. IT expert Oliver Fromme came up with the name PING, later shortened to PNG.

PNGs are the next evolution of the GIF format, which had already been around for eight years when PNGs first launched. GIFs had several drawbacks, like requiring a patent license and a limited range of just 256 colors, which didn’t keep pace with ever-improving computer screen resolution. To avoid these issues, PNG files were made patent-free and included a significantly larger color palette. PNGs, as opposed to GIFs, are a single-image format — they don’t support animation.

What are PNG files used for?

The Portable Network Graphic is a versatile image file format. Here are just a few ways you can use PNGs:

Logos with transparent backgrounds.

Designers often use PNG files for logos. That’s because the format supports transparent backgrounds, which means designers can layer logo files on different backgrounds in a way that looks natural.

Online charts and graphics.

The PNG format uses lossless compression, which means that this file type retains of all its original data when compressed. This makes PNGs great for detailed graphics and charts on websites because none of the vital information gets lost.

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