How to open .tif files without compromising on quality

Milan Stanojevic
by Milan Stanojevic
Deputy Editor
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  • A TIF file (Tagged Image Format) is a file format used for saving high-quality lossless images.
  • Tif files are often used to store digital photos processed by OCR software and hardware, scanners, and so on.
  • Adobe Acrobat DC is perhaps the best software you can use to open and view .tif files -- as are all the other tools listed in this guide.
  • For more useful guides, visit our hub dedicated to file openers.
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A TIF file or TIFF file extension is short for Tagged Image Format, which is a file that stores high quality graphics, and supports lossless compression such that its owners can easily archive the images without compromising on quality, yet still save on disk space.

It is often used to store images like digital photos, and is widely supported by applications such as scanners, fax, word processing, optical character recognition, and desktop publishing, among others.

This type of file is flexible and adaptable to handle images and data in a single file, and its ability to store in lossless format makes it a more useful image archive, as it can be edited and re-saved without the image losing its quality.

How to open .tif files in Windows 10

  1. Use Photo viewer apps
  2. Use File or Image converter software

1. Opening .tif files to view

There are various apps that can be used to open .tif files in Windows 10, but if you just want to view it, you can opt for a photo viewer such as the default, built-in Windows Photo viewer or Photos app.

2. Use a file or image converter

  • Best choice: Adobe Acrobat DC

Adobe Acrobat Reader DC

You might encounter difficulties while opening .tif files in the built-in Windows Photo Viewer or Windows Photos App. If you want to avoid any headaches and open your .tif files with a simple double-click, Adobe Acrobat DC is the right tool for you.

Not only that, but you can also use it to convert .tif files to a different format or PDFs to .tif files. All you need to do is hit the Save As button and select the format your want to use.

Download Adobe Acrobat DC

  • Recommended solution: Download File Viewer Plus

File Viewer Plus

We highly recommend downloading File Viewer Plus. It is an extremely powerful tool that opens more than 300 file types and also lets you edit them directly in its interface.

You will easily open, edit, and convert to other formats your .tif files without any problems.

Other photo viewer apps you can use include:

  • Irfanview

irfanview photo viewer

Irfanview is one of the most popularly used and best photo viewer software you can get. It is small, super-fast and compact, plus if you’re a beginner, it is so simple to use.

Professionals can also take advantage of this powerful tool, which, unlike other photo viewers, is built to create new, unique, and interesting features for your graphics.

It is actually the first photo viewer globally that delivers multipage TIF support. Plus it comes completely free of charge if not using for commercial purposes, otherwise you’d have to register with $12 for commercial use.

Download Irfanview

— RELATED: 10 best Windows 7 photo viewer tools

  • XNView


This is also one of the best Windows photo viewer software used in the world that can also convert images as it supports over 500 image formats. You can also edit images and export over 70 image formats.

It has unrivaled compatibility in terms of format supporting, which includes animated still formats.

Download XNView

Opening .tif files to edit

If you’re looking to edit the .tif file, whether or not it is in a different format, you can convert it without having to install a photo editing program for the TIF format.

One of the photo editing tools you can use for free is GIMP, a free photo editing software with sophisticated editing tools to create stunning and visually appealing photos in your library though it requires some extra skills or time to understand and use.

You can also use Adobe Photoshop, though it isn’t free. For GeoTIFF files, you can open it with GDAL, Geosoft Oasis montai, MathWorks’ MATLAB, and ESRI ArcGIS desktop software.

How to open .tif files in Windows 10

With an image viewer or photo editor that supports .tif files, you can simply open the file in the program itself, and then save the .tif file in a different image format. This is done by clicking File and selecting Save As.

You can also use file converters that convert one image file format to another like .tif files. If you cannot use an image or graphic file because the format is not supported, try a file converter software for images.

Do you use .tif files? Share with us how you open them by leaving a comment in the section below.

FAQ: Learn more about TIF files

  • What program will open a TIF file?

You can use one of the following programs to open TIF files: Windows Photo Viewer, Adobe Acrobat DC, File Viewer Plus or Irfan View.

  • What is the difference between a JPEG and TIFF?

TIFF files are larger than JPEG files and can save more depth than their JPEG counterparts. Also, TIFF files can store multiple layered images.

  • Should I scan in TIFF or JPEG?

If you scan your documents for archiving them, you should definitely scan them in the TIFF file format to preserve all the image details. If file size is important, then scan your files in JPEG as this format compresses the images which requires less storage space.

Editor's Note: This article was originally published in April 2018 and was revamped and updated in December 2020 for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.
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