gif The .gif filename extension refers to the GIF graphical file format created by CompuServe in 1987. The format is from the class of raster graphics which uses a dot matrix type data structure of orthogonally placed pixels, each with their own color information. The file format has a rich history of usage in storing sprite data for video games especially those released in the early 90's. The GIF format has also been used in low-resolution animation clips distributed over the internet, and in design of sharp-edged art that utilize a palette of a few colors up to a max of 256 colors. The GIF file format has its advantage in its compression technique, which limits file size but does not compromise image quality. The file format natively opens on many of the popular web browsers.