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Windows BMP Graphics Files

This describes the bitmap graphics-file formats used by the Microsoft Windows operating system V3.x, Window 95 and OS/2.

Bitmap-File Formats

Windows bitmap files are stored in a device-independent bitmap (DIB) format that allows Windows to display the bitmap on any type of display device. The term "device independent" means that the bitmap specifies pixel color in a form independent of the method used by a display to represent color. The default filename extension of a Windows DIB file is .BMP.

OS/2 BMP files have a different header and color table encoding. Mark Fleming's PICT / BMP application, and XTND BMP translator will read OS/2 format of BMP file but will not write them.

Images of the World - Vol#1 CD-ROM includes one fully licenced copy of the PICT / BMP application and XTND translators.

BMP formats:

Bitmap Compression

Windows versions 3.0 and later support run-length encoded (RLE) formats for compressing bitmaps that use 4 bits per pixel and 8 bits per pixel.

Compression of 8-Bits-per-Pixel Bitmaps the DIB is compressed using a run-length encoded format for a 256-color bitmap. This format uses two modes: encoded mode and absolute mode. Both modes can occur anywhere throughout a single bitmap.

Compression of 4-Bits-per-Pixel Bitmaps the DIB is compressed using a run-length encoded format for a 16-color bitmap. This format uses two modes: encoded mode and absolute mode. These are different than the 8bit methods.

Macintosh File Type of: BMPp or BINA

MS-DOS extension: .BMP


Updated: 19 Oct 2002, By RMF