13 types of audio-visual files with Definitions and Common Uses

In this article, we explain why it's important to know and use different file type and provide a list of 13 common audio-visual file types organized by their media format.

Why is it important to know different types of files?

In your career, it’s important to know different file types so you can select the right one for your tasks. Professionals in many industries, including business, marketing, teaching and technology, may need to save and share different types of files. Understanding the file formats can help share information efficiently with your clients, colleagues and managers.

Certain software programs or emails only accept a particular file format. Learning about the different types can help prepare you for a variety of responsibilities in your workplace. If you’re saving a file, you may need to choose from several options, and learning more about the file types can help you select the best one for the particular task. For example, when sending a graphic design for your company’s logo, you want to select the right image format to ensure the picture maintains resolution and quality on your website.

5 types of image files

You may send images to display logos or graphics for a website or presentation. Here are some of the most common image file types you might encounter in the workplace:

1. Joint photographic experts group (JPEG or JPG)

This is one of the most common image file types. You might use this file when sending images for your company’s website or social media page. This file compresses the image but maintains colors and graphics clearly. If you save this file multiple times, it will continue to compress, which means it will lose quality, so consider using this file when you plan to use it immediately.

2. Graphics interchange format (GIF)

When working with short animated graphics, you may use a GIF file. This file type support short clips or moving images. You may use this on a website, communication site or social media platform. This file is best for small or simple animated files.

3. Scalable vector graphics (SVG)

This file type is most common in website design. If you’re designing a logo or graphic for a client’s website or your company’s website, you may work with SVG files. This extension supports smaller image files and short animations. This file type maintains a clear resolution and may work well with search engines, which could help clients find your graphic.

4. Portable networks graphic (PNG)

You can use a PNG format for sending images for web pages, such as logos or photographs. This format maintains its size and quality throughout multiple saves and changes. It’s lower resolution than other file types, so it’s best for websites rather than printed images.

5. Tagged image file format (TIFF or TIF)

A TIFF file is a high-quality image file type. You may use this file type when scanning documents, using a desktop publisher program or printing high-quality items. For example, if you are publishing a marketing pamphlet, you may upload TIFF files for the photographs. This can help you print high-resolution images. This is a large file type, so it’s best to use an alternative image file type for your websites and web pages.

Top 5 common types of video files

You may use video files for your company’s website, marketing campaigns or presentations. Here are some of the most common video file types you might work with:

1. Moving picture experts group layer four (MP4)

The MP4 file format is a popular video format. Most computers and mobile devices can open and play MP4 videos, making it a common choice for professionals and companies sharing video content. You can use this file to send, upload and receive videos for your company’s website or social media platforms. This file saves visual and audio information accurately, but it has a lower resolution than other video format types.

2. Audio video interleave (AVI)

This video file format, created by Microsoft, is another popular format you may encounter in the workplace. It is a large file type, which means it can take up a lot of space on your computer or cloud system. It maintains quality throughout multiple saves and changes. You may use this file format to share videos on social platforms or through your company’s website.

3. QuickTime Movie file (MOV)

The MOV file, created by Apple, is a file type professionals may use with QuickTime software. This file works well for movies and longer videos, although the files can be large. You can edit these files in different sections, which may be helpful for longer projects. Depending on your industry, you may use this file to create training videos or promotional films.

4. Flash video format (FLV)

The FLV file format works well on streaming services and websites. It’s a popular type of file that’s small and easy to share, but it may not work with all mobile phones. If you’re sharing content with clients on their phones, you may choose another file type. If you’re uploading a video to a streaming website, this file may work well.

5. Advanced video coding, high definition (AVCHD)

Professional videographers may use this file format. It maintains high-quality images for short and long projects. If you’re creating a professional video, for real estate, marketing or entertainment purposes, you may work with this file format.

Top 3 types of audio files

You may use an audio file to upload readings or sound recordings. This is common in certain industries, such as education or writing. Here are the most common audio files you may use in the workplace:

1. MPEG 4 audio (M4A)

The M4A is a common type of audio file. This file type is a compressed format, which makes the file size smaller. This can make it easier to share and upload. It also maintains relatively high quality. You may use this type to record your readings for a lecture or presentation or to save audio notes for yourself or your team. It may not work with all computer systems, so consider checking your favorite audio programs to ensure you can listen to the completed file.

2. MPEG layer audio 3 (MP3)

This file format compresses audio files into smaller sizes, making them easier to share with others. It also keeps a high level of sound quality and works with a variety of software platforms. You may use this file type to record and share your readings or audio comments.

3. Waveform audio file (WAV)

The WAV file is another common audio format that maintains high quality. Professionals may use this format if they work with Microsoft Windows programs. Typically, these files and not compressed, which means they may maintain sound quality, but they may be larger than other compressed types.

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