Which File format is best suited for Archiving Purposes?

Archiving important documents, images, and other things has been a common practice that humans have adopted over the centuries. Some of the most significant achievements in the history of humans are preserved in different forms. But these are in physical condition; what about digital things? We will look at that in this article as we discuss which file format is best suited for archiving purposes.

Which file format is best suited for archiving purposes?

The best solution for archiving any digital file is storing them in Lossless file formats. This allows you to save the data in its original format without hampering its quality at all.

Archiving happens differently for different types of files. Images, Videos, or Documents have different requirements when it comes to archiving.

But before we dive into the details of the same, let’s understand why archiving is necessary. And how not choosing a suitable file format can cost us dearly. 

What is archiving? Why is it important?

We all have grown up reading about the things from our past being preserved for centuries.

For example, the original manifesto or US Declaration of Independence is still present in its original condition even after 200 years. The same goes for the first printed literature and famous renaissance paintings.

But things are not the same for Archiving Digital Data. We have the misconception that it, too, shall remain the same for years. But that is not true at all.

Given the drastic changes that the technology industry has gone through in the last few decades, it’s almost impossible to store physical data.

Technology has gone from floppy to CDs, USBs, and now Cloud. And we all know that whenever a new technology comes into the market, the support of the previous modes fades away.

For example, no more devices in the market would support floppy discs.

In such scenarios, it becomes essential not to only archive files in the right place, but also in the correct format. Hence it is crucial to understand which file format is vital for your designated file format.                            

Which File Format is best for archival purposes?

As discussed earlier in the article, every file format will have its own demands. Hence let’s look at each of them individually to get a proper comprehension. 

Images: archiving images is a tricky business as you have to be constantly aware of choosing non-destructive files that can be edited in the future. Here is a list of some of such files:

  1. TIFF (Tagged Image File Format): This file format is used explicitly for the purpose of archiving. Being a lossless file that takes in every detail and stores them in pristine and original condition, TIFF files can sometimes be huge. But they are the best option for archiving your files. 
  2. PNG (Portable Network Graphic): This is another lossless file format commonly preferred for archiving purposes. Unlike the TIFF files, these files are not very big in size; hence are perfect for storing and sharing files that don’t have a high degree.

Videos: While archiving video files, there are certain things that you need to keep in mind. Your file should be widely supported, easily opened, and edited, along with being lossless. So, here are a few file formats that might help your archiving process:

  1. Uncompressed Video Formats: These kinds of videos are not compressed to reduce their size, hence maintaining high-quality data along with originality. Some famous examples of such formats are AVI, QuickTime (MOV), and Windows Media Video (WMV).
  2. Lossless compressed video formats: Unlike the previous format, these files are compressed yet manage to maintain a high quality of data, that too in the original quality. Apple ProRes, Avid DNxHD, and Huffyuv are some common examples.
  3. H.26: This is one of the most widely supported video compression formats. And this is what makes it the most suitable archiving format for videos. It offers ease of accessibility and can be opened and edited in the future.

Documents: the best file format for documents are the ones that allow easy access and can be edited over time.

Hence, they also need to be widely supported across different operating systems. And here are some examples of such file formats:

  1. PDF (Portable Document Format): This is one of the most common formats for file archiving. It’s no big news that PDF is one of the most widely supported formats across all systems. And since it maintains the original formatting of documents along with images and fonts, it has to be the most popular format as well.
  2. Word Document: Another format supported universally is DOC or DOCX format. Hence it makes them more suitable for archiving purposes. 


Archiving digital data is a task that requires a lot of consideration. Hence having proper knowledge of which format is your friend and which is not is very important. We hope this article gave you a basic idea of Which File Format is best for archival purposes.

You can decide the proper format for your requirement using the knowledge provided in this article. Or you can also use this as the base for your future research. 


What is the best practice for archiving digital files?

The best method for archiving your digital files is creating regular backups, selecting appropriate file formats, using the digital preservation process to manage the archiving process, and storing multiple copies in different locations to ensure there’s always a backup available in every situation. 

Why is digital archiving important?

Like tangible things, nontangible digital files are also vulnerable to lose and degrade over time. This might be caused by a system failure, software obsolescence, or even a malware attack.

Hence it becomes crucial to have all your files archived in a manner that would result in no minimal loss of documents.  


  • Ashish Simon

    Hello folks! I am Ashish Pawar – A graduate from the field of Arts but an avid admirer of all things tech; therefore, made a leap into writing technical articles for ‘how-to’ guides and ‘informational content’ with the aim to make tech understandable for the masses. I have been in this field for more than a year now. My ideology is that even a layman should be able to understand tech easily. As a creative individual I am also passionately engaged in activities like photography, music, and dance.