File Format

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What Does File Format Mean?

A file format refers to the way data are arranged logically within a file. File formatting allows a program to retrieve data, correctly interpret the information and continue with processing.

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Techopedia Explains File Format

A file format includes the data encoding process, which ideally minimizes the required storage space. For example, picture and video encoding contain embedded processes like compression, where a picture is divided into pixels. A correlation is then derived to express pixel relationships. In this case, the difference between neighboring pixels is minimal, resulting in the addition of few differential data.

A file format may also contain presentation information. For example, a Microsoft .docx file contains both the document’s text and its final form, including color, position, spacing, font, font size and other information, which must be arranged in a standard form inside the file.

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Margaret Rouse
Senior Editor
Margaret Rouse
Senior Editor

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.