The Meaning of PNG: What It Is and How To Use It

Do you know the definition of PNG? This article will provide you with all of the information you need on the abbreviation PNG, including its definition, usage, examples, and more!

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What does the term PNG mean?

According to Your Dictionary, PNG means Portable Network Graphics. This image format is a bitmapped graphics file format and PNGs are endorsed by the World Wide Web Consortium. This file format is pronounced ping and was originally created as a replacement for the GIF, or Graphics Interchange Format because of budding legal and license problems. The PNG file format uses a lossless compression technique and also supports an alpha channel to provide transparency in the image. It also has color correction and built-in gamma. There are different types of PNGs including PNG-8 which stores each pixel in eight bits with an indexed color palette like a GIF, PNG-24 which offers true 24-bit color and PNG-32 which adds an 8-bit alpha channel.

According to The Free Dictionary, the acronym PNG can stand for much more than just Portable Network Graphics. This term has many other alternate definitions which are used last commonly. While these definitions are still valid, since they are not used as often, it is important that you provide a reader or listener with the proper context if you are going to use one of them. They should be standard practice for any acronym that has more than one potential definition. 

  •  Portable Network Graphics
  •  Pressurized Natural Gas
  •  Park ‘n’ Grab (geocaching)
  •  Pennsylvania National Guard (est. 1747)
  •  Pencil Necked Geek
  •  Project Next Generation (various organizations)
  •  Plano Nacional de Graduaçao (Portuguese: National Graduate; Brazil)
  •  Passive Night Goggles
  •  Private Non-Guaranteed (bond)
  •  Pipeline Natural Gas
  •  Professional Numismatists Guild
  •  Persona Non Grata
  •  Private, Non-Governmental
  •  Pacific Northern Gas Ltd. (Canada)
  •  Personaggio Non Giocante (Italian)
  •  Pencil Notes on Gum (philatelic imperfection)
  •  PNGs Not GIF
  •  Papua New Guinea
  •  Papouasie Nouvelle Guinée (French: Papua New Guinea)
  •  Peer Networking Group (various locations)
  •  Pseudorandom Noise Generator
  •  Pawnee National Grassland
  •  Program on Networked Governance (Harvard University; Cambridge, MA)
  •  Proportional Navigation Guidance Law

What are other image format file types?

There are many different types of file formats that you might choose to use depending on your needs. Different types of formats from a GIF format, to a PNG format, to a JPEG/JPG to a PSD file type are useful for different use cases. Some types of image file formats can use both RGB and CMYK, and some have lossy or lossless data compression. Some support transparency, and some are better for a smaller file size for web graphics but have worse image quality while others have high-quality images but are less beneficial for use on browsers like Chrome, Safari and Firefox because they do not meet the international standard. These all are programmed different to create a  perfect pixel-for-pixel representation of the screen. Some use groups of pixels to create high-contrast images. Each of these are in a different category of image data that is better for different use cases. You wouldn’t use the same file type for illustrations and photos from digital cameras that  you would for web content! According to Hubspot, the below is a list of different image file formats that you might come across.

First, and very common is the JPEG/JPG, which stands for Joint Photographic Experts Group. Since these are able to display so many different colors – millions, in fact, – they are perfect for use in photographs. However, these are lossy which means that quality is lost when a file is converted to a JPEG. This is usually the default format for images on the web, but they are unable to support transparency, animation, and other color changes. There is also a BMP, or Bitmap Image Format. These are all considered raster image formats. You will find that  online or printed out images are all raster images and are created with pixels. And based on their resolution, they will be a certain size. If you scale up or down it might become distorted, blurry or unclear. Roster images cannot be resized without compromising their resolution. You should always make sure that if you are going to use a raster image for something it is the right size and resolution before you proceed. On the web, images require a lower resolution and they can still look clear. In print, images must have a higher resolution to look good. 

There is a PSD, which is an Adobe Photoshop file format. These file types are both created and saved in Adobe Photoshop and contain layers. This means that they are very large images, however, it makes it easy for them to edit. This file format is great for creating illustrations, complex artwork, logos, and other types of graphic design in which it is useful to have different layers that you can edit. There are also several different types of file format that are considered vector image files, which are constructed using proportional formulas and not pixels. This means that the images that are created are scalable and are able to be resized all the time. This is also useful for graphic design work and particularly for logos, because you may need a logo that is extremely small or one that is extremely large. 

Overall, the acronym PNG stands for Portable Network Graphics, which is a type of image file. The PNG image format can have transparency and opacity and opaque or transparent backgrounds and are a very small file size. These are often used in web design, logos on web pages and on Macs are the default file format for screenshots since they do not take up a lot of room on a computer. 


  1. PNG – What does PNG stand for? | The Free Dictionary 
  2. Png Meaning | Best 4 Definitions of Png | Your Dictionary 
  3. 10 Types of Image File Extensions and When to Use Them | Hubspot