The BMP file format (also known as Bitmap Image file, or simply Bitmap) is an image file format natively used by the Microsoft Windows operating system. BMP files are typically uncompressed raster images and store image data in a device-independent bitmap (DIB) format that allows Windows to display the bitmap on any type of display device.
A BMP file consists of either three 2-byte (16-bit) or four 4-byte (32-bit) types of data: a file header, a bitmap information header, a color palette, and the pixel array. The final part, the pixel array, contains the actual image data, which should be saved in a format that correlates to the color table. If the color table has fewer than 17 colors, the data for the pixel array is usually stored as 8-bits per pixel. Otherwise, the data is saved in 24-bit format.
BMP files are often large in size due to their bitmap nature. Consequently, they are not commonly used for web graphics or sharing images over the internet, which require more compact file formats like JPEG or GIF. However, they remain popular for Windows applications due to their compatibility with the Windows platform.
BMP files may be edited using image editing software that supports BMP files, such as PaintShop Pro or Adobe Photoshop. BMP files may also be converted into other formats such as JPEG or PNG.
The BMP file format is commonly used by Windows to store desktop-background images and for cursor graphics. It can also be used to store other types of digital images including photographs, logos, and illustrations.