What Are Some Advantages & Disadvantages for GIF Files?

Updated July 19, 2017

There are various ways of compressing and saving image files on desktop computers. The GIF file format offers advantages and disadvantages in how it saves image data, making it more suitable for certain types of pictures.


The main disadvantage of a GIF file is its size. GIF files are generally a lot larger than JPG or PNG files, which may cause problems for people who wish to upload files onto the Internet.

Number of Colors

GIF files can only save images in 256 (8-bit) colours and are the oldest way of saving pictures. PNG and JPG files can display in 24-bit colours, allowing for much more complex shades to be shown.


GIF files support images containing a degree of transparency, something that other file types cannot do. This trait makes them better suited to such images as icons or logos that require transparent backgrounds to be displayed correctly.


GIF files have the ability to support simple animations within one file. This normally consists of a collection of images being displayed one after the other to give the illusion of movement.

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About the Author

Primarily based in Stoke-on-Trent, England, Tom Shingler was first published in 2004. Currently, he writes for "York Vision," "Nouse" and "The Zahir," as well as various blogs. Shingler is studying philosophy at the University of York.