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Opening TIFF Files

The TIFF file format specification allows for a lot of variants and combinations. Fortunately, the majority of the files you will encounter will probably belong to a rather limited set of TIFF flavors, categories, variants, or whatever you want to call them. (Actually, there is no clear-cut definition of what constitutes a 'TIFF file variant'. If you are interested in these issues, you may find useful links in the Links section of this manual to get you started with your search for more information.)

You may need to know what flavor exactly a particular TIFF file is. Either you are set out to deal with the general case, and you will need to build a test image library by yourself, hunting down, diagnosing, and building support for the many compliant and not so compliant files (or rather tag configurations as found in particular files) out there. Or, you usually deal with a limited number of flavors, but sooner or later, you find yourself having a customer complaining about the lack of support for this or that particular file, and you'll need to know why.

A diagnostic tool like this TIFF Tag Viewer, showing the set of tags that constitute any page in a TIFF file, is an invaluable help. To use it on a particular file, either

  • Use 'Open with' on the file, if your Windows flavor supports it, and select AsTiffTagViewer
  • Or start AsTiffTagViewer, and use the Browse button to open the file.

AsTiffTagViewer does not actually decode raster color data. It is thus super-fast and very robust, and will be able to show tags of files other software may not be able to open.

Viewing TIFF Tags

After opening a file, AsTiffTagViewer shows the set of TIFF tags that constitute the first page. It shows known tags as well as proprietary undocumented tags aka 'private tags' or 'custom tags', though, naturally, it is not able to come up with a meaningful name for all of the undocumented ones.

Use the page navigation buttons to browse through the TIFF file's pages. If you need to investigate a tag value that is not just a single numeric value, it may be useful to pop up a HEX dump by clicking the 'View Tag Value' button.

Additionally, some file and page statistics are shown. And, last but not least, you can use AsTiffTagViewer as a documentation tool. Whether you plan to ask for help in a newsgroup or mailing list, or want to specify the TIFF flavor your application produces, you can hit the 'Copy Tags as Text' button to create and copy to the clipboard a tag dump in plain text. This can be easily pasted into your mailclient or word processor.

Live update

At regular intervals, AsTiffTagViewer fetches the 'Latest news' and latest AsTiffTagViewer version number from the AWare Systems website. If at that time a newer version of AsTiffTagViewer is available, the user is asked to confirm or postpone an auto update. This feature cannot be disabled. We guarantee however that no information is actually being sent from your computer. Our data travels to your computer, not the other way around.

TIFF Links

Adobe TIFF resources page
TIFF specification, revision 6.0
TechNote2 on JPEG-in-TIFF
TIFF specification, supplement 1
TIFF specification, supplement 2

TIFF File Format FAQ
TIFF Tag Reference
AsTiffTagViewer, a freeware TIFF Tag Viewer for Windows

LibTiff, a free and open source TIFF codec
TIFF and LibTiff mailing list subscription page
TIFF and LibTiff mailing list archive

Tip: Especially note TechNote2, since it invalidates part of the TIFF specification. Failure to do so will result in incompatibility with virtually all other JPEG-in-TIFF software, whether they comply with TechNote2, or try to comply with the original ambiguous specification. If you use a third-party library, check whether this library complies with TechNote2, since many libraries don't.

Thank you

Thank you for using the AWare Systems TIFF Tag Viewer. We welcome any feedback at info@awaresystems.be. Whenever any particular TIFF raises questions, please especially note our TIFF Tag Viewer download page and the LibTiff mailing list archive.