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An open file format is a published specification for storing digital data, usually maintained by a standards organization. Basically this means that an electronic file can be used and implemented by anyone. For example, an open file format can be used by proprietary and free and open source software. In contrast, proprietary formats are controlled and defined by private interests.

Examples of open file formats



  • JPEG – an image format standardized by ISO/IEC
  • PNG (Portable Network Graphics) – a raster image format standardized by ISO/IEC
  • SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics) – a vector image format standardized by W3C
  • VRML/X3D – realtime 3D data formats standardized by ISO/IEC
  • Ogg, container for Vorbis, FLAC, Speex (audio formats) & Theora (a video format)
  • mkv (Matroska), container for all type of multimedia formats (audio, video, images, subtitles)


  • HTML/XHTML – a markup language standardized by W3C
  • ODF (OpenDocument) – a suite of office document formats standardized by OASIS and ISO/IEC
  • PDF – a document image format standardized by ISO


  • XML – a markup language standardized by W3C

See also

  Wikibooks has a book on the topic of FOSS Open Standards.