TIF file icon

TIF File Extension

Tagged Image Format

What is TIF file?

File with .TIF extension contains raster graphics along with metadata in the form of tags; TIF file can store multiple images. TIF suffix is equivalent to TIFF and the extensions can be used interchangeably. TIF is available in two versions – baseline and extended. Basic TIFF format is defined in TIFF 6.0 Part 1 document, which specifies format features such as:

  • Support for multipage graphics – subfiles of TIF file,
  • Support for multilayer images comprised of strips, which can be compressed separately,
  • Compression methods:
    • none,
    • CCITT group 3 1-dimensional modified Huffman RLE
    • PackBits,
  • Image types – bi-level, greyscale, palette-color, or RGB,
  • Information about byte order – little-endian or big-endian,
  • Format version.

Second part of specification (extensions) lists the following features:

  • Image trees – instead of sequential image collection, images and their variations are stored in a tree data structure; typically used to store thumbnails of multiple versions of an image in different color spaces,
  • Additional compression methods:
    • CCITT T.4 and T.6 bi-level encoding,
    • LZW,
    • JPEG-based.
  • Other image types
    • CMYK,
    • YCbCr,
    • HalftoneHints,
    • Tiled,
    • CIE L*a*b*.
  • Option to compose TIF image of number of tiles, similar to strips,
  • Private tags – can store information supplied by file developers.

TIF format was developed by Aldus company in 1986 as a graphics format for publishing industry. The latest version, TIF 6.0, was released 6 years later. TIF format is supported by many image editing and publishing applications and is still very popular. TIF format is now maintained by Adobe, and several TIF extension specifications have been published, for example, ISO 12234-2 (TIFF/EP), ISO 12639 (TIFF/IT), or RFC 2306 and 3949.

Programs which support TIF file extension

The list that follows enumerates programs compatible with TIF files, divided into 3 categories based on operating system on which they are available. Files with TIF extension, just like any other file formats, can be found on any operating system. The files in question may be transferred to other devices, be it mobile or stationary, yet not all systems may be capable of properly handling such files.

Updated: 02/04/2024

How to open file with TIF extension?

There can be multiple causes why you have problems with opening TIF files on given system. On the bright side, the most encountered issues pertaining to Tagged Image Format files aren’t complex. In most cases they can be addressed swiftly and effectively without assistance from a specialist. We have prepared a listing of which will help you resolve your problems with TIF files.

Step 1. Install Microsoft Windows Photos software

Install software to open TIF file The main and most frequent cause precluding users form opening TIF files is that no program that can handle TIF files is installed on user’s system. This one is an easy one. Select Microsoft Windows Photos or one of the recommended programs (for example, CorelDRAW, PaintShop Pro, Windows Photo Viewer) and download it from appropriate source and install on your system. Above you will find a complete listing of programs that support TIF files, classified according to system platforms for which they are available. One of the most risk-free method of downloading software is using links provided by official distributors. Visit Microsoft Windows Photos website and download the installer.

Step 2. Check the version of Microsoft Windows Photos and update if needed

Update software that support file extension TIFIf the problems with opening TIF files still occur even after installing Microsoft Windows Photos, it is possible that you have an outdated version of the software. Check the developer’s website whether a newer version of Microsoft Windows Photos is available. It may also happen that software creators by updating their applications add compatibility with other, newer file formats. This can be one of the causes why TIF files are not compatible with Microsoft Windows Photos. The latest version of Microsoft Windows Photos should support all file formats that where compatible with older versions of the software.

Step 3. Set the default application to open TIF files to Microsoft Windows Photos

If the issue has not been solved in the previous step, you should associate TIF files with latest version of Microsoft Windows Photos you have installed on your device. The next step should pose no problems. The procedure is straightforward and largely system-independent

Associate software with TIF file on Windows

Selecting the first-choice application in Windows

  • Choose the Open with entry from the file menu accessed by right-mouse clicking on the TIF file
  • Click Choose another app and then select More apps option
  • Finally select Look for another app on this PC, point to the folder where Microsoft Windows Photos is installed, check the Always use this app to open TIF files box and conform your selection by clicking OK button
Associate software with TIF file on Mac

Selecting the first-choice application in Mac OS

  • From the drop-down menu, accessed by clicking the file with TIF extension, select Information
  • Find the Open with option – click the title if its hidden
  • Select Microsoft Windows Photos and click Change for all...
  • A message window should appear informing that This change will be applied to all files with TIF extension. By clicking Continue you confirm your selection.

Step 4. Check the TIF for errors

You closely followed the steps listed in points 1-3, but the problem is still present? You should check whether the file is a proper TIF file. Problems with opening the file may arise due to various reasons.

Check TIF file for viruses
1. Check the TIF file for viruses or malware

If the TIF is indeed infected, it is possible that the malware is blocking it from opening. Scan the TIF file as well as your computer for malware or viruses. TIF file is infected with malware? Follow the steps suggested by your antivirus software.

2. Verify that the TIF file’s structure is intact

If the TIF file was sent to you by someone else, ask this person to resend the file to you. The file might have been copied erroneously and the data lost integrity, which precludes from accessing the file. It could happen the the download process of file with TIF extension was interrupted and the file data is defective. Download the file again from the same source.

3. Verify whether your account has administrative rights

There is a possibility that the file in question can only be accessed by users with sufficient system privileges. Switch to an account that has required privileges and try opening the Tagged Image Format file again.

4. Make sure that the system has sufficient resources to run Microsoft Windows Photos

If the systems has insufficient resources to open TIF files, try closing all currently running applications and try again.

5. Ensure that you have the latest drivers and system updates and patches installed

Up-to-date system and drivers not only makes your computer more secure, but also may solve problems with Tagged Image Format file. It is possible that one of the available system or driver updates may solve the problems with TIF files affecting older versions of given software.

Do you want to help?

If you have additional information about the TIF file, we will be grateful if you share it with our users. To do this, use the form here and send us your information on TIF file.

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