The Graphics Interchange Format, which is marked by the extension gif, is suitable for bitmap images and animations. It is one of the early formats and has been used on the World Wide Web from the beginning.
It is particularly suitable for graphics with uniform color areas and clear edges, such as logos or banners. GIF only supports 256 colors and therefore can not reproduce color gradients well. Therefore, the format is not suitable for digital photography or the like.
The 256 colors are in a table and can be chosen freely from the RGB color space. GIF also supports transparency. Due to the low number of colors and the lossless compression, GIF files are usually very small.
A GIF file can also contain an animation or a controlled image sequence.
With a trick, TrueColor GIFs can be generated, ie with full RGB color gamut. However, these are not displayed correctly by some browsers.
There are two versions of GIF 87a and 89a, the former being irrelevant today.
GIF is now obsolete and is increasingly displaced by PNG, JPEG and Flash.