PNG File: How to Open and Convert

png file logo The Portable Network Graphic (PNG file) is one of those formats that are commonly applied to images. Its difference is that it carries a bitmap of indexed colors and avoids any loss after compression. The PNG file format is the preferred one to store web graphics, pictures with a transparent background and some digital photos.
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How to Open?

Paid: Adobe Photoshop, Affinity Photo.

Free: FileViewer Plus, FastStone Image viewer.

Online: Free Online Image Editor, Google Docs Viewer.

How to Convert?

Desktop: Easy2Convert, WebPconv.

Online: Zamzar, Convertio.

Mobile: The Image Converter, Image Converter.


What Is PNG File?

png file in adobe photoshop interface

The Portable Network Graphics (PNG) extension belongs to the raster family and performs lossless compression of the image. It has been designed as an improvement over the Graphics Interchange Format (GIF file) and is non-patented.

A PNG file can contain RGB or RGBA types of images. They can be either based on a palette or the full-color opposite, plus the standard grayscale images or the ones with an alpha channel that adds transparency. Since PNG has been designed simply to transfer images through the Internet and did not consider any professional printing tasks, the format doesn’t support other color types like CMYK. The image contained in the file is broken up to chunks, with such data as pixels or textual comments encoded and the integrity checking carried out in RFC 2083.

PNG format belongs to the more common types and thus many users encounter it at some point. That might be an image downloaded from a website or one sent by email. Sometimes screenshots have this resolution as well. Professionals find more use for it, saving such things as web graphics or certain icons that need to have a transparent background.

  • The image quality is preserved regardless of the compression ratio
  • Can be used to save intermediate picture versions
  • Processes a large number of colors
  • Can maintain several levels of transparency
  • Allows to work with layers
  • Makes it possible to add meta-data to the file
  • Files weigh little
  • Not suitable for animated pictures
  • Can not process full-color images well
  • Does not permit to store several images within one file

How to Open a PNG File?

Regarding the question of what is .PNG file extension opened with, the answer would list a variety of free and paid programs available among image and video editors, plus the web browsers. In addition, the most common operating systems have a built-in viewer, like Microsoft Photos or Apple Preview, that can also open these files.

Professional Software to Open a PNG File

Adobe Photoshop. This program is often referred to whenever people speak of image editing. Hardly any other software can stand up to it in what regards the number of high-quality tools and their number is only increasing with every new update. The amount of people using this software speaks of its quality even better.

Affinity Photo. With this program, you can export images as PNG files. Only be aware that the adjustment layers won’t be preserved. If instead, you’re opening a PNG file, then those layers will work perfectly fine.

Capture One Pro. If you have the latest version, you will also be able to create or edit PNG files with ease. Professionals prefer using this program in combination with the first option to get even better results out of the increased functionality.

Free Software to Open a PNG File

FileViewer Plus. If you don’t know what is a PNG file, chances are you don’t need expensive professional software. This program is great because it can handle an astonishing amount of image file extensions, from the very popular ones to some rather rare. In addition, it can also process video and text formats so that you can view and even edit them. This saves you from the necessity to install weird programs from unknown sources when you encounter a rare type of file.

FastStone Image Viewer. Another great option that works only with images but allows you to do more than just view and make alterations. You can manage your images and also turn them into proper slideshows with nice transitions. The program can process a large number of various formats, which makes it versatile. In addition, you can compare as many as 4 pictures at once and significantly speed up certain processes. Since this software is in free access, you save some money by using it. But don’t worry, you will not be exposed to advertisements or spyware when doing so.

XnView. This software can serve as a great PNG converter because it supports something over 500 of various formats. It can obviously be used as a basic image and logo editor or just a viewer. You can make minor alterations. like correct brightness or contrast levels, rotate, crop or change size. With multiple images, you can create slideshows and even use the program to create your own webpage.

Open a PNG File Online

Free Online Image Editor. This program’s key feature is the elimination of the necessity for download or installation. Just open the website and start doing what you need. This enables you to use the service anywhere and on any kind of device, starting from a PC and ending with your smartphone. You can process either still images or animated ones. If you need to place a comment on a PNG file, try to upload your own font for that and make it look more tailored to the occasion.

Online PNG Tools. If you need to work specifically with the .png extension, then it would be better to use this specialized program. It only provides the tools needed for the task. The program has a simple design and can be used absolutely for free, not exposing you to any kind of advertisement. This is a very straightforward tool that works in any browser and gives you precisely what you need to alter or create a PNG.

Internet Explorer. In case you just need to view PNG files and you use Windows 10, forget about the hassle of accessing any websites. Just open the good old Internet Explorer. The feature is located in the File menu. To open it, simply press Alt. Click on the Open option, choose Browse and indicate All files. This will enable you to locate the necessary file. After you click OK, the browser will display the picture.

  • Get more information about the EPS file and other camera file formats.

How to Convert a PNG?

Easy2Convert PNG to JPG. In case the PNG file extension is a nuisance, here is an easy way to get rid of it by performing a quick conversion. For different occasions, you can use different image definitions and sizes. Such a tool is irreplaceable for those professionals who constantly need to perform such conversions.

WebPconv. In case the final outcome has to be in the WebP format, you can use this incredibly convenient program. It works with JPEG or PNG and can perform simultaneous conversion of a number of images so that you can complete your working tasks faster. In addition, if you need to perform a visual check of the converted files and compare their sizes, it is quick and easy to do. All the tasks can be conveniently completed within one window. In case you need to perform an opposite conversion, just switch to the second tab.

Pixillion Image Converter Software. For those who need more than just a PNG file converter, there will hardly be a better option than this one. It is easy to understand and use, recognizes a large number of formats, performs the tasks in no time, and has the additional benefit of working with batches of images. You can perform the task in one click and be ready to post the image online, email it, or transfer to the phone. The graphics will be preserved while switching vector formats. Other little tools like resizing or inserting captions and watermarks are also available.


  • Is JPEG or PNG better?

The answer depends on the goal you’re trying to achieve. The main distinction between the two is that JPEG lowers the image quality and works better for reducing photos to sizes smaller than BMP. PNG, instead, somewhat compresses the file but preserves the quality, which is great for storing items like line drawings, text and iconic graphics.

  • What is a PNG file used for?

Such files contain a bitmap with the colors indexed and that enables to compress the image information without losses. A GIF file would do the same but it is limited by copyright. The former is a common choice for websites due to this.

  • Is PNG good for printing?

The PNG file definition implies that it is best used for screens. It can handle deep colors, which opens the possibility of working with photos in high resolution. But those tend to become very heavy due to the format being lossless. You can definitely print such a file, but the task is easier to perform with something more optimized, like a JPEG or TIFF.

  • Does PNG have a transparent background?

If the image you have is on a colored background, you will need to remove it first. Then the result could be saved in the PNG format which has been designed for Internet use. A slightly more common JPEG would not be able to keep the background transparent.

  • Are there any disadvantages of using PNG files?

One disadvantage of using PNG files is that they tend to have larger file sizes compared to other compressed image formats like JPEG, which can impact loading times on websites or consume more storage space.

Besides, PNG is not well-suited for complex or high-resolution images with many colors, as it may result in larger file sizes and loss of detail.

  • How can I optimize the size of PNG files?

To optimize the size of PNG files, you can employ the following methods:

  • Use image compression tools specifically designed for PNG files, such as PNGGauntlet or TinyPNG, which employ various algorithms to reduce file size while preserving image quality.
  • Reduce the color palette of the image by converting it to indexed color mode, particularly if the image contains a limited range of colors. This can significantly reduce file size without a noticeable loss in quality.

Ann Young

Hi there, I'm Ann Young - a professional blogger, read more