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Is PNG a Vector File?

Are you someone who is not too good at tech? Don’t worry; you are not alone.

Tech can be tricky, but do you know what’s trickier? Differentiating between different types of images.

We understand that it is dreadful when your friend asks you to send him the PNG images rather than JPEG. Tech jargon like raster and vector can be confusing, and this blog is there to help remove your confusion.

So, is a PNG a vector file? The short answer is that PNG is not a vector file. PNG files are a raster file. Keep reading for more information about raster files and a vector files.

What is a Vector File?

Vector file types

When you are working on your computer, say sorting the pictures from last night’s super cool rave party, or finally submitting a long overdue assignment to a professor, you are actually working with two main types of files: vector and raster.

These files are built in such a way that they serve as the best file extension for specific situations. Adobe.com defines vector files as “images built by mathematical formulas that establish points on a grid.”

One of the vector files’ qualities is its high resolution that can’t be bothered with zooming the extension file; therefore, a vector file is best suited and more versatile for certain types of tasks.

Some of the examples of a vector file are as follows:

SVG – Scalable Vector Graphic

EPS – Encapsulated PostScript

PDF – Portable Document Format

What is a Raster File?

Raster type files

On the other hand, a raster file uses many colored pixels or individual building blocks to form a complete image.

Unlike vector files, you can not resize raster files as you wish to because of their intricate color pixels. Their building blocks do not allow these files to be dramatically zoomed in or zoomed out. When it comes to images found on the web and catalogs, they are almost always in the raster file extension.

Some of the examples of a raster file are as follows: 

TIFF – Tagged Image File Format

JPEG – Joint Photographic Expert Group

GIF – Graphics Interchange Format

PCX – Picture Image

BMP –  Bitmap Image File

PNG - Raster or Vector?

Now that you are clear about the definitions of the two most widely used file types – raster and vector, here is your answer: PNG is indeed a raster file. It can not possibly be a vector file because

  1. It does not allow you zoom in or zoom out a file, yet keep the pixels intact
  2. When you stretch a PNG file to fill a space that it was not originally designed to fill, its pixels will seem grainy and the image file blur.

 

This is precisely why it is recommended that raster files like PNG and JPEG be saved at precisely the dimensions that leave no space for any external complications in the file.

So, the next time your tech geek friends ask you to send them a file in raster type, you know what file formats to go for.

Lastly, the easiest way to remember the significant difference between the two types of file extensions is by comparing the most used file formats by you. Generally, the most used formats are JPEG (raster) and PDF (vector). Keeping these in mind will better help you understand the differences.