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Web Glossary
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GIF (Graphic Interchange Format)

Graphics Interchange Format. A compact graphics file format developed by CompuServe, that was once the standard for online color photos and images. It's still widely used for graphics that use only a limited number of colors, such as backgrounds. In recent years, however GIF has been superseded by JPEG for photos. While GIF images are limited to 256 colors, JPEGs can have up to 16 million colors. A "transparent" GIF has an invisible background, allowing the Web page to show around the edges of the graphic. JPEG does not permit this, so all JPEGs are rectangular.