What are the differences between the compressions used in TIFF files?


The Tagged Image File Format (TIFF) is widely popular, and is particularly used in document imaging. It can support a number of compression types:

  • Packbits – Created by Apple, this lossless compression type is used for run-length encoding (RLE). Baseline TIFF readers must support this compression. Use this compression for higher compatibility with various applications.
  • CCITT (Huffman encoding) – Used particularly for encoding bitonal (or bi-level) images. “Group 3” and “Group 4” are particularly known for its use with fax transmission of images. Using this compression type will help keep smaller file sizes.
  • LZW – A lossless compression type that supports multiple bit depths. Because it’s lossless, it produces files that are generally larger than other compressions. Use this compression if you want to retain the exact visual quality of the image without data loss or artifacts.
  • JPEG – Very popular compression, used for color and grayscale images and can produce high compression ratios. JPEG allows a good amount of control over how the image in question should be compressed. Use this compression for general color or grayscale images.
  • Deflate – A lossless compression using Huffman and LZ77 techniques and also supports different bit depths.