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File Format
Name PNG
Extension(s) .png
MIME Type(s) image/png
LoCFDD fdd000153
PRONOM fmt/13, fmt/12, fmt/11
Wikidata ID Q178051
Kaitai Struct Spec png.ksy
Released 1996

Portable Network Graphics (PNG) was devised starting in a discussion on newsgroup in 1995, with the first version of its specification released in 1996. The motivation for its creation was to create a free and unencumbered image format in the wake of the patent issue with GIF.

PNG has become a very popular graphic format, but widespread adoption on the Web was slow due to the fact that the first specification came out over a year after the Web had begun to be popular with the general public, meaning that there were many sites and browsers out there not using and supporting the new format; subsequently, browsers began to support it, but often had rendering problems which persisted even in fairly late versions years later; this caused webmasters to be slow to switch from GIF to PNG, though many eventually did so. Since the LZW patent that affected GIF is expired now, the "free format" motivation for the switch no longer applies.

Unlike GIF, PNG officially supports only still graphics, not animation. However APNG, an unofficial extension of the PNG image format that retains the .png file extention does support animation. Another related format, MNG, officially does support animation.


Format details

A PNG file consists of an 8-byte signature, followed by a sequence of chunks. Each chunk has an 8-byte header containing a 4-byte chunk length, and a 4-byte chunk type code. Each chunk also has a 4-byte trailer containing a checksum.


A file begins with an 8-byte signature: 89 50 4E 47 0D 0A 1A 0A.

A standard PNG file also has ASCII "IHDR" at offset 12. You can check for this to distinguish it from CgBI.


Extensions by chunk type

Chunk type References and remarks
oFFs, pCAL, sCAL, gIFg, gIFx, gIFt, fRAc Refer to Extensions to the PNG 1.2 Specification, v1.2.0.
sTER Refer to Extensions to the PNG 1.2 Specification, v1.3.0.
dSIG Refer to Extensions to the PNG 1.2 Specification, v1.4.0, and the PNG dSIG website.
acTL, fcTL, fdAT Used in APNG files.
vpAg, caNv, orNT Used by ImageMagick.
CgBI Refer to CgBI.
eXIf, exIf Exif metadata. Refer to PNG Proposed eXIf chunk [approved 2017-07].
iDOT Used by Apple products. Some info at [1].
cpIp, cmOD Used in PNG Plus.
prVW, mkBF, mkBS, mkBT, mkTS Used in Fireworks PNG.

Other extensions

  • XMP metadata can be stored in an iTXt chunk with keyword "XML:com.adobe.xmp". Refer to the XMP Specification, Part 3.

Related Formats


Metaformat files


Support for PNG is ubiquitous. Software listed here may have been selected arbitrarily.

Sample files


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