PNG Image Format

PNG stands for Portable Network Graphics, popularly known as Portable Graphics Format. It uses a 24-bit colour as the foundation and supports true colour and grayscale. Unlike JPG or JPEG, PNG allows transparent backgrounds which increase the versatility of this file format. It supports lossless data compression which helps in retaining the quality of the image.

How does it work?

PNG supports lossless data compression which means data can easily be compressed and the original data can be reconstructed from it (the compressed data) perfectly. In simple words, you can compress the image without losing the visual quality. Other file formats such as JPEG use lossy compression which can reconstruct the compressed data into original data only to an approximation.

Using PNG, you can compress or manipulate the image as per your liking which is not possible with file formats.

Widely used for image transferring on the World Wide Web it is not suitable for printing purposes because it does not support the CMYK colour scheme


Keeping in view the drawbacks of GIF images, which could only support 256 colours display, the work on developing PNG began.

In the year 1995, Unisys Corporation imposed a patent on the Lempel Ziv Welch algorithm which resulted in the patent on GIF file format on the companies which uses these images for profit generation. In the same year, at a discussion on the image formats, Oliver Fromme suggested the name for this new image format as PING, which later became PNG. Fromme is the developer of the famous DOS JPEG viewer QPEG.

To date, there have been 5 versions of PNG released. The first one was released on October 1st 1996 and the latest one on March 3rd 2004.


  • PNG file formats support transparent backgrounds, which means you can overlay your images and adjust the transparency of the image.
  • PNG supports cross-platform. This means files are displayed correctly on all kinds of platforms such as Macs, Androids, and iOS platforms.
  • PNG file formats support 24-bit RGB and 32-bit RGBA and grayscale colour palettes. It is capable of millions of colour combinations and with the 32-bit RGBA feature and allows additional colour gradient and transparency.
  • PNG images are smaller than GIFs and take much lesser time for loading


  • Since PNG uses lossless image compression techniques the visual quality of the images is retrieved, and no data is lost during image compression.
  • It supports all true colours. The true colour is the specification of the colour of a pixel on a display screen using a 24-bit value.
  • PNG file formats allow transparency which is not possible with other file formats.

When to use

PNG file formats are very versatile in nature and can be for various purposes. A few of them are listed below:

Create logos: PNG can be used when you need a transparent background, say while designing a logo. You can easily overlay images or pictures and take the benefit of its transparency feature.

Retain the quality: When you are dealing with true colour images, JPEG and other file formats compress the files using lossy image compression which can degrade the quality of the images as well as the saturation of colours. PNG compresses the images while retaining the original quality.

Web graphics: Since PNG images can be compressed to extremely small sizes without losing the quality of the data, you can use the PNG file format for web graphics.

Easily available: You can get your hands on PNG images through various platforms like Chrome, Firefox, Opera, or any other web browser for that matter.

Easily convertible: If you are working on Windows version 8,9 or 10, while saving an image you can easily save that image as a PNG file format by selecting PNG from the drop-down options available.


PNG file formats changed how images were used before. JPG, JPEG and other file formats were workable, but until the development of PNG, no one thought that images could be used so widely, based on their features.

The advantages of PNG are various as stated above and can be used on almost all platforms.

You can even convert your PNG file into PDFs, and even ICOs and use it as and where required.