I’ve been thinking about this for a while, and really haven’t been able to decide. As far as screen captures go, I’ve been using PNG for over 10 years and it’s worked well. PNG offers a great balance between the size of a file and its colour depth. And you don’t have to worry about artifacting or other nastiness that comes with JPEG.
But it’s images like flowcharts, diagrams, and other illustrations that have been on my mind. Formats like PNG are OK, but not spectacular. TIFF and BMP offer good resolution, but their way too big. EPS … well, I’ve never had much luck with that format.
Over the last few years, I’ve seriously considered Scalable Vector Graphics for illustrations. It’s an open format, many graphics applications — both free/Open Source and commercial — support it.
So, an open question: what format(s) do you recommend for illustrations in documentation? Keep in mind these criteria:
- The format should offer good resolution and colour depth, either in print or electronic format
- It should transfer online easily
- The file shouldn’t be excessively large
- You should be able to scale the images in that format with little or no distortion
Feel free to leave a comment.