Vector Formats – What Are They and Why Do You Need Them?

We have talked about some of the more popular image file extensions in previous articles – Best Image File Extensions, Other Popular Image Extensions.  However, those articles only talked about some of the more general types of image extensions, raster images. Image files that are vector formats are more specific types of image and that is what we’re talking about here.

vector formats
Image by Theen Moy

A vector file format (sometimes known as EPS files) store the image in a different way than the more traditional image files.  A traditional, or raster, file format stores the characteristics of each pixel in the image file. Vector formats are stored as lines, shapes and colors that are in a mathematical formula.

When Do You Need Vector Formats?

If you are not already familiar with vector formats, you probably need one because you are trying to submit an image somewhere, but were told that you needed to provide a vector file format instead of the one you gave them.  It is typically used for a lot of website work, handling logos and things like that where the quality and ability to scale the image are very important.

There are other instances when you would need to have an image in a vector file format and most of them are related to making it easier to manipulate the image.  If you just have raster images and don’t have any plans to do anything different or creative with them, you probably won’t need to utilize vector formats.

When the image is in the vector file format, the elements are all separate.  This means you can easily change the color for one of the elements, without having an impact on the others.  This comes in very handy when you want to alter the background of the image, but not the main image.

Another big benefit to using vector formats is that they scale very well.  That means your image will look great as a small thumbnail size, but you can also use the very same image and blow it up to a poster or even billboard size without losing any of the detail or quality.  If you tried this with a standard image file, the image would be nearly unrecognizable if it was blown up that large.

Vector Format Extensions

The most popular of the vector formats is the SVG file extension.  The Scalable Vector Graphics file was created as an open standard format. The purpose of creating the SVG file was to provide people with a file extension that was an all-purpose image file that was also versatile, scriptable and scalable. Due to the scriptable nature of the SVG format, it is frequently used in web applications.

Other types of vector formats include the Gerber format (RS-274X), AI (from Adobe Illustrator), ODG (Open Document Graphics), PPT (Microsoft PowerPoint) and XPS (XML Paper Specification).

If you need to convert from a raster image to a vector file format, (or vice-versa), the first thing you should try is to use an online image converter.  This could save you hundreds of dollars vs. sending your files to a professional to get them converted.

Cloud Music Storage – Amazon vs iTunes

Does anyone remember “back in the day” when you could only hear your favorite songs at home or from the radio if you happened to be listening when your song was played?  Those days are long gone.  In today’s online world, you can take your entire music collection with you where ever you go.  However, in order for this to be as cool as you want it to be, you have to pick the right system to keep all your music.  We’re going to compare the two most popular cloud music storage options – iTunes Match and Amazon Cloud Player to help you make the right choice for you.

cloud music storage
Image by Grace Kat

Both of these cloud music storage services allow you to store and stream your music, which is the ultimate goal.  However, there are clear differences between the two that you should consider before making a decision. In some instances, when you go through the process of getting all your music on the same platform, you will have to convert some of your music to a different type of audio file format.  If you go through this process once, you definitely don’t want to have to do it again.

Audio File Formats

The type of audio files that are supported by each system are shown below:

  • iTunes Match: MP3, AIFF, WAV, MPEG-4, AAC
  • Amazon Cloud Player: MP3, AAC, WMA (Windows only), OGG, WAV, ALAC (Mac only), AIFF and FLAC.

If you plan to use music files that are FLAC, OGG or WMA, you will need to convert them to a different type of file first.  Neither iTunes or the Amazon music service have the ability to handle those files.

Differences Between Cloud Music Storage Options

The first difference between these two cloud music storage services is that iTunes only has one type of service available while Amazon has a free version of their cloud player and a paid version.

The free Amazon version allows you to add 250 songs (that you didn’t purchase from Amazon).  If your music needs are minimal and you only want a few of your favorite songs or CDs available when you’re away from home, this is a good choice. However, if this limit is too low, you will need to move to one of the paid options.

Another difference between these cloud music storage systems relates to organizing your music library.  Amazon’s cloud player doesn’t help with that.  However, if you have music on multiple devices and would like your music player to have the ability to consolidate those, remove duplicates and keep a synced version available on each device, iTunes is your best bet.

Since the Amazon cloud music storage system is web based, it means your music is available on any device that has a web browser.  It also works with both Android and iOS so if you have multiple devices, or plan to share the account with others who have different devices, this works well.

On iTunes, you can only access your music where the iTunes platform resides, or on an iOS device, but that nowhere else.

One big thing to keep in mind is that while these are two of the best options available for cloud music storage, you are basically only renting them.  If you don’t continue to pay the yearly fee (if you’re using the paid version of Amazon), you will lose access.

Files Supported by Your eBook Reader

eBook Reader File Formats
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eBook readers have a lot advantages over books in a printed paper-form. They are lighter, multiple books can be stored on one device, you don’t need any bookmarks because the reader remembers the page you read last, and so on. Yet, once you decided that you want to buy an eBook reader, you have quite the variety to choose from.

Following, we have listed some of the most popular eBook readers and the different file formats they support. Whether your can open and view PDF documents, MOBI files, or even PNG images on your mobile reading device can help you to choose the right one for you.

Amazon Kindle

The most well-known of all eBook readers isthe Amazon Kindle, as well as the Kindle Touch and Kindle Paperwhite versions. The one file extension most commonly associated with the Kindle is the eBook format AZW3 (or AZW for earlier versions). Other files the Kindle can open and display are:

  • eBook Files: AZW and AZW3MOBI and PRC (unprotected)
  • Document Files: TXT and PDF

Other files are supported by the Kindle as well, made usable on the device through conversion:

  • Document Files: HTML, DOC, and DOCX
  • Image Files:  JPEG, GIF, PNG, and BMP
  • Audio Files: AA, AAX, and MP3 (Kindle Touch)

Unfortunately, not all eBook file types can be opened with Amazon’s Kindle devices. The very common EPUB file, which is used by many other eBook readers, is not supported.

Barnes & Noble Nook

The Nook series of eBook readers was developed by and for the American company and book retailer Barnes & Noble. The e-reading devices are based on Android technology, and B&N even offers a service where you can read a Nook Store book for free for one hour per day when connected with the wi-fi connection in the B&N stores.

  • eBook Files: EPUB and PDBCBZ (Nook Tablet)
  • Document Files: PDF; DOC and DOCX (Nook Color and Nook Tablet)
  • Image Files: JPEG, GIF, PNG, and BMP
  • Audio Files: MP3, AAC, and OGG (Nook 1st gen and Nook Color)
  • Video Files: MP4, 3GP, MKV, WEBM, and more (Nook Tablet)

The Nook does not support Amazon’s AZW3 and books stored in the MOBI file format.

ECTACO jetBook

The jetBook is ECTACO’s mobile reading device which was introduced to the market in 2008. Files supported by the jetBook include:

  • eBook Files: EPUB, FB2, MOBI, and PRC
  • Document Files: PDF, TXT, RTF, and HTML
  • Image Files: JPEG, PNG, GIF, and BMP
  • Audio Files: MP3

The built-in MP3 player enables users of the jetBook to listen to music directly on the device while reading.

Amazon’s AZW and AZW3 files are not supported by ECTACO’s jetBook.

Kobo eReader

The Kobo (the name is an anagram to the word “book”) was developed by Kobo Inc. in Toronto, but later on bought by the Japanese company Rakuten. The following files are supported by the Kobo reader:

  • eBook Files: EPUB, MOBI, PRC, and CBZ
  • Document Files: PDF, TXT, and HTML

The Kobo Reader does not support Amazon’s AZW and AZW3 files.


Thee is a huge list of mobile reading devices developed and going under the name of PocketBook. The brand also produces tablet computers with an Android operating system.

  • eBook Files: EPUB, MOBI, FB2, and DJVU
  • Document Files: TXT, PDF, and HTML

Amazon’s AZW and AZW3 files are not supported by PocketBook devices.

Now that you read about the file formats supported by the most popular eBook reading devices, it should be a lot easier to make a choice. But even if you encounter an eBook you can not open with the reader you bought, you can still convert your eBook files into a supported file format.


FAQs About Using an Audio File Converter

If you are new to the world of using an audio file converter, there is very good news for you. Unlike many of the tasks involved in dealing with technology, using an audio converter is actually very simple if you find the right one.

Here are a few of the questions people usually ask when they are getting started with converting audio files.

audio file converter
Image by photosteve101

Why do I have to convert files?

There are many reasons that would require you to find and use an audio file converter.

  • In some cases, you may find that music you purchased in the past will no longer work on the new devices you have because of the file format.
  • You might also be trying to submit an audio file to an online site that only accepts certain types of files.
  • Another scenario is that you need to convert your files to a lossy format to save space on your hard drive.

There are many other reasons that people need to use an audio file converter, but these are the most popular.

How do I convert my audio files?

This is the really good news, especially if you are not a techie! You don’t really need to have any specific skills in order to use most audio file converters. There are many tools and online programs that can easily handle this conversion, and most of them are free.

All you have to do is find a good, free audio file converter and figure out the best way to give them the file you need. This is usually done by simply browsing through your video files and selecting the one you want converted. Then you have to tell the converter what type of file you want your file converted to.

The converter will then either update the same web page you used to submit the file, or send you an email with the updated file that has been converted.

What type of converter do I choose?

There are many different types of audio file converters available and you will have to make a few decisions before you find one that suits your needs.

Online vs download

Unless you have unusual requirements, it makes the most sense to use an online audio file converter. For those, you just have to send them the file you want converted, and they will convert it and send it back.

Anytime you choose a tool that requires you to download software to your computer, you’re taking a risk. Even if there is no malicious code hidden within the tool, everything you add to your computer has a chance of causing a conflict with your existing system.

Tools you have to download also tend to me more difficult to use, especially in the beginning when you’re trying to get everything set up correctly.

File Type

As you review the different audio file converters, you should definitely make sure that it has the ability to convert the file to the specific file type you need.


Before you settle on a specific online audio converter, you should look at the file you need converted, determine what your needs are and make sure the audio file converter you are considering have the ability to provide all the features you need.

How do I find a good converter?

Once you have made a list of the features you need in an audio file converter and decide what type of converter you need, you simply need to do a search to find the best one.

Native Apple (Mac) Files

Native Apple (Mac) Files
Image by Sean MacEntee

Users of Apple devices like Mac desktop computers, MacBooks, iPhones, or iPads are already familiar with them: the native Apple Inc. file formats. Users of other platforms and operating systems like Windows and Linux however can face difficulties with those formats because they, sometimes, have never heard of them.

This could become a problem for Apple users as well when they try to send assignments, essays or other documents, videos, or audio files from their device to someone working with a Windows computer or an Android phone.

Knowing about this problem is the first step to the solution. Either users of Apple devices or the recipients of those Apple native files can convert their files into a format supported by the operating system and device in question. Yet, before you can attempt a conversion, you will have to know which file formats are exclusive or native for Apple devices.

Thus, we listed some of the most common native Apple file formats for you.

Document Files


Keynote Presentation File – Files with the KEY extension are created with Apple’s Keynote Presentation program. Keynote can create playback presentations containing images, slide animations, set time frames, videos, etc. KEY files can be compared to Microsoft’s PowerPoint presentation files.


Pages Document File – When using Apple’s word processing program Pages, your files – including pictures, formatting, layout and the like – will be saved with a PAGES extension. They work like Microsoft Word files like DOC or OpenOffice Writer text files.

Audio Files


Audio Interchage File Format – AIF or AIFF files are lossless and uncompressed audio files developed by Apple. These files are popular among professional musicians since they can store their music with very high quality using these file types. Converting your files to AIFF can thus be important if you wish to work with your audio files on a more professional level. The compressed versions of the AIF/AIFF files feature an AIFC extension.


Apple Core Audio Format – One advantage of CAF files is that these containers can hold several types of audio and additional metadata. With these new features, it quickly replaced the AIF format since it doesn’t have the same limitations. It can also hold audio data that exceeds the size of 4 GB.


MPEG-4 Audio File – M4A is the common file format used on Apple iTunes. In addition to audio track, M4A files also store additional data like images. What sets these files apart from other audio files is that lossless compression is available for M4A files as well. There’s also the possibility to convert your audio files to M4A.


MPEG-4 iTunes Music Store Audio File – Similar to M4A files, M4P files can be found on Apple iTunes. In addition to the features of the M4A files, M4P files are protected using Apple’s DRM copy protection.


MPEG-4 iPhone Ringtone File – M4R audio files are part of Apple iTunes as well. They are not meant to be “real” music tracks though, but serve the purpose of being ringtones for the iPhone. They have undergone lossy compression.

Video Files


MPEG-4 iTunes Video File – M4V files are very similar to the well known MP4 format. When downloading a video from iTunes, it usually comes in the M4V format and can – but doesn’t necessarily have to – be protected with Apple’s DRM copy protection.


QuickTime Movie File – Nowadays, MOV files are not exclusively usable on Apple devises anymore, but can be opened on Windows operating systems as well. It’s a video file format originally developed for the Apple QuickTime Player, and converting your videos to MOV can be a useful feature.

Other Files


MAC OS X Disk Image File – DMG files usually serve the purpose of installing programs on a Mac computer, contain encrypted and compressed data. Mac computers treat DMG files like hard copy disks.


iOS Application File – Files with an IPA extension are essential for anything downloaded from iTunes, may it be games, programs, or utilities. They contain information necessary for the iOS device to open and/or run the programs they are linked to.


Apple QuickDraw Picture File – PICT files are created when using the Apple QuickDraw program. They can contain vector graphics as well as bitmap images with a big variety of colors. Yet, PICT images are raster images, which means that they are not scalable without loss in quality.

Your Weekend Music Cleanup Project

music cleanup
Image by Jason Toney

The time has come, hasn’t it? You’ve been collecting music for years now and just haphazardly adding those music files to your hard drive. However, if you’re like the rest of us, at this point you probably have no idea what music you have. If there is a song or a cd you want to listen to, chances are pretty good you won’t be able to find it. It’s time for a music cleanup weekend.

Select the Player You Will Use

The first step probably wasn’t an issue when you started collecting music because the options were so limited. You likely used whatever music player was suggested when you acquired the tracks. However, there are many more music players available now, and they don’t all work well together with the devices you’re using today to listen to your music.

There are dozens of different players available now and you should take your time to select the one that will work the best for you. In some instances, you may have to convert your music to a different format so that it can be used on your chosen player. This is the part of your music cleanup project that can be the most cumbersome, but it is essential.

Here are a few of the music players you should consider as you start your project to organize music files.

  • Windows Media Player
  • iTunes
  • Sonora
  • Zune Player
  • Clementine

Clean Up Your Music Library

After you’ve selected the music player you want to use for your music cleanup project, it’s time for the fun stuff. This step includes looking at your music.

The first part of this is to track down all the places you have music stored. Then, start looking at the actual music. You are likely to find some really odd stuff that makes you wonder what you were thinking when you bought it. Delete those. Also take a look at the quality of the track. If the quality is so low that it would now be annoying to listen to it, either delete the track or download an upgraded version.

While you’re doing this review, you are also likely to find that you have some duplicates (which is a reminder of why it’s a good idea to spend time on your music cleanup project!) Decide which one to keep and delete the other.  When you’re done, make sure all your music is in the format you want.  If you need to convert your music, you can do so here.

Meta Data

The next step in your music cleanup project is to clean up the meta data. You could do this by hand, but there are many different apps out there that can do this for you, and it will save you a great deal of time and trouble. TuneUp, MusicBrainz Picard and Mp3tag are a few to consider.

Sync Your Music

Since most people want their music to be available when they’re on the go, the next step in your music cleanup project is to sync your music on your mobile devices. iTunes, Winamp, Media Monkey, Windows Media Player and Music Bee are a few to consider.

Stream Your Music Anywhere

The final step in your music cleanup project is to set up your music on a music streaming service. This will allow you to take every music track you own with you, everywhere you go. Some options to consider are Google Music, Spotify, Rdio and Amazon Cloud Player.

DOC vs. DOCX File Extensions – What is the Difference?

DOC vs. DOCXSome of the most frequent documents that people have to convert are DOC and DOCX. People who have been using word processing software for years seem to suddenly be experiencing problems, but they don’t know why. The difference between DOC vs. DOCX files can be easily explained and if you’re having problems with these documents, either one can easily be converted for easier access and use.

Both the DOC file extension and the DOCX extension come from Microsoft Word, which is part of the Microsoft Office suite of products. This is why both of these file extensions are so popular.

The DOC file extension has been used by Word for a very long time, however, the last time it was included in Word was in Word 2003. The next update for Word occurred in 2007 and their default file extension used for word processing was changed to DOCX. When you’re looking at the DOC vs DOCX question, it basically comes down to how old the MS Word program was that created the original document.

Why the Change From DOC to DOCX?

The DOC file format was proprietary to Microsoft. This means that software from other types of word processing products frequently had trouble reading DOC files because they couldn’t read the files. Microsoft wanted to create a new file extension for word processing that was an open standard format.

That desire for an open product that other companies could also use resulted in the change to DOCX. Because of that, the behind the scene coding work for DOCX was done in XML, hence the “X” part of the DOCX extension. Another benefit of the DOCX file type is that newer features were added that were not possible when using the old coding.

Since Microsoft developed DOCX to be the new standard for word processing, it seems likely that at some point, the DOC file extension will slowly be phased out.

Problems With the DOC to DOCX Conversion

One of the biggest issues that came from this DOC vs. DOCX issue was not being able to open DOCX files when you are using Word from 2003 or before. Since most people do not upgrade their Microsoft Office each time a new product is released, this became a problem. To help with this, MS has made a “compatibility pack” available. In most cases, this should allow an older version of Word to open a DOCX file.

However, like all things related to software, this doesn’t always work. Sometimes, the easiest way to handle the DOC vs. DOCX problem is to simply use an online converter to convert the file type to the one that works best with your version of Word.

You no longer need to be confused by the DOC vs DOCX issue. They are both word processing files from Microsoft Word and the only difference is the year of the program that created them. If you’re having problems, look for the MS compatibility pack. If you have trouble, or don’t have time to mess with that, simply convert your documents.


Popular Video File Extensions

video file extensions
image by mobilechina2007

The world of online media exploded with the widespread use of video files. However, all of those additional options also made life more confusing for non-professionals who often use video files. There are many different types of video file extensions out there, and it’s important to know what type of file you need before you convert any of your old files.

Being better educated about video file types can also help you make better decisions when you buy new videos online and have to select the type of file you want to receive.

Some of these video file extensions may sound familiar because they can also be used for an audio file, but the features are different when video is involved.

Video File Extensions

Flash Video – FLV

The FLV video file format has become very popular lately because of its cross-platform usage. Almost all website platforms and browsers support flash videos. Flash can support streaming downloads as well as progressive downloads and these files are also very compact to take up less space.

AVI Format – AVI

The Audio Video Interleave file is still popular among many users and this is likely because it was originally developed by Microsoft. That means the video file type is well supported and you shouldn’t have many issues with trying to play these types of files. Of course, if you do have problems, you can easily convert the videos to a different type of video file and it should then work for you.

The AVI video file extension works with multiple types of codec’s and the file contains both audio and video files. However, the M-JPEG or DivX codecs are the ones most often used.

Quicktime – MOV

The MOV file is another video format and this one was originally developed by Apple, however it can also be played on Windows computers. It is most frequently used to store video files or movies for online use. The format typically includes tracks that store the audio, video or accompanying text snippets that go along with the video.

MP4 Format – MP4

Contrary to what some people believe, an MP4 file is NOT just a bigger, better version of an MP3 file. The MP4 video format is typically used to store visual (or audio) streams online, most frequently for those files that are defined by MPEG. Video file extensions like the MP4s are best played on Apple QuickTime Player devices.


The MPG file format (Moving Picture Expert Groups) usually use either MPEG-1 or MPEG-2 to compress the video files. These types of video file extensions are frequently used when you are creating movies that yiou want to be able to download (or allow others to download). MPG files can be played on either Windows devices or on Apple QuickTime Player.


The Windows Media Video file extensions came from Microsoft and they can only be played on Window devices, unless you install extra components on your device to help with this. If there is not a conversion utility available for your device, you will need to convert the WMV file to a different video file type to be able to view it. The WMV file was originally created for online streaming, but has now become a focus for more specialized online content.

Popular Lossy Format Options For Audio Files

lossy format
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There are so many different options available when you want to convert your audio files or download new music tracks. The problem is that unless you’ve really done your research, you probably don’t know the difference between the different audio file extensions. We previously talked about the difference between lossy and lossless formats and we also discussed lossless file extensions in closer detail. In this post, we’re going to review the most popular lossy format extensions.

Unless you’re an “expert music listener”, chances are pretty good that you will be using the lossy format for most of your music. The music files are compressed, which means you can easily manage hundreds of tracks on your hard drive. While this compression reduces the quality, you probably won’t notice it unless your needs are “professional”.

Lossy Format Options


This is the type of lossy file format that most people are familiar with. “MP3” stands for MPEG Audio Layer III. If you download music, it is most likely to default to this file type. The MP3 file isn’t the most efficient type of lossy format, however it is the most common. This means it has the most support.


An Advanced Audio Coding file is another lossy file extension. iTunes from Apple has boosted the popularity of the ACC format and it is beginning to rival the MP3 file. The AAC extension is similar to MP3 files in the quality of the sound, but it does not take up as much space. Even though this is an Apple format, because of its popularity, most types of music devices have the ability to play it.


This is a Windows Media Audio file and it comes from Microsoft. The WMA lossy format is similar to both the MP3 and AAC in quality; however it falls behind because it is not as well supported. This means you may need to convert your audio files at some point in the future depending on what devices you use for your music. Unless there is a specific need to have a WMA file, it is probably best to use AAC or MP3 if you have a choice.

Ogg Vorbis

This is an open source format that is similar to MP3 and AAC. Since it is open source, it is free and doesn’t have patent restrictions like the more popular audio file types. However, if you are just a user that probably doesn’t have as much of an impact on you. If you strongly favor open source options, Egg Vorbis is a good one. However it is important to note that since it is not as popular as the other lossy formats, you will likely be much more restricted on the types of devices you can use.



If you want to use a lossy format, the best option is likely to be either an MP3 or AAC format. They both give you high quality without using up a ton of space on your hard drive. They are also both well supported and are likely to be able to be played on most types of music devices.

More Popular Image Extensions

In a previous article, we image extensionsdiscussed several of the most popular image file extensions. This included the raster image extensions of JPG, GIF and PNG as well as the vector format of SVG. While those are the image extensions most people are familiar with, it is not a comprehensive list, by far. There are hundreds of other file extensions used for image files, and that is what we’re focused on in this article. Each of the image extension types we discuss below are raster images.

Since these file formats are less common than the original four we discussed, you are more likely to have problems when you try to open them because your device may not be set up to handle them. If that is the case, a simple image file conversion program can help.


The Exchangeable image is similar to the JFIF format that uses the TIFF extension. This image extension is most frequently used as part of the JPEG writing software that is part of many types of digital cameras. The EXIF handles the exchange of images from the digital camera to the software you use to edit and view the image. Some of the information contained in the file is from the camera like shutter speed, exposure level, date and time the picture was taken, etc.


The Tagged Image File Format typically uses 8 or 16 bits per color (using red, green and blue), which gives combined totals of 24 or 48 bits. The structure of the TIFF file was created with flexibility in mind and it is easily extendible. This has caused many vendors to extend the file using proprietary tools and methods. While that makes the TIFF file very flexible, it also means that all TIFF files are not created equal. You may be able to view and edit some types of TIFF files, but not others.


The RAW file extension refers to “raw image formats”. These types of image extensions are used on some digital cameras instead of using a specific type of file extension. These types of files typically use lossless compression and the size of the file is typically smaller than TIFF formats.


Files that use BMP image extensions are created from a Windows bitmap file. This file image extension is used in (Microsoft) Windows to manage many graphic files. BMP files are typically very large because they are not compressed. However, since they can be used in any Windows program, they are very popular. However, because of their size, in many cases if you want to save them or send them to someone, you will need to convert them to a different type of image file first.


This is a new type of image extension that was designed by Google. These files can be either lossless or lossy.    The format was designed to automatically reduce the size of the image so the web page could be loaded much more quickly. The WEBP format was also created with the goal of replacing the JPEG file as the standard for photos posted on the internet.

As mentioned above, there are literally hundreds of different image extensions. We discussed the most popular file types in a previous post and discussed the next tier of raster image extensions here. In future articles, we will discuss vector file types.