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File Format
Name Metaformats


A metaformat (or meta format) is a generic low-level file format used as a basis for defining high-level file formats.

Whether a format is a metaformat is ultimately a judgment call. There are no definitive answers to questions like: What is the difference between a container format and a metaformat? Or a serialization format and a metaformat? Is CSV a metaformat, or is it a database or a spreadsheet format? Should TIFF and PDF be considered to be metaformats, given all the subformats of them that have been defined?

Another reasonable, but different, definition of metaformat is "a format that describes other formats".

Formats that implement other formats

Formats that describe other formats

Related: File identification software, Format validation and analysis software, File viewing and editing software


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