Abbreviation for Graphics Interchange Format
A file format for data exchange, developed by Compuserve.

It adopts LZW compression as a standard method, and image files are generated with a high compression ratio. It is therefore used especially on the Internet, including for image communications. In addition, other features of GIFs also include animated GIFs, which make images appear to move on websites, and the effect of a foreground image floating in the background is created by the use of transparent colors.

An American company, Unisys Corporation, held a patent for LZW, the compression technique adopted by GIF; however, the patent expired on June 20, 2003 in the U.S. and on June 20, 2004 in Japan.

GIF was previously read as both zifu or gifu; however, when the developer, Mr. Steve Wilhite, received the Webby Awards for 2013, he said at the award ceremony that gifu was incorrect and zifu was correct.