What Is BMP File: Definition, Function, and Comparison

Dany updated on Mar 16, 2023 | Home > Knowledge Center

What Are BMP Files

A BMP file is an image that has been saved in the Microsoft-created Bitmap (BMP) raster image format. On April 1st, 1995, the Bitmap file was published by the renowned American company Microsoft Corporation, and this was a great success.

The BMP file format was created by Microsoft for its Windows operating system to retain the resolution of digital images on various screens and gadgets. No matter whether Color or black and white, two-dimensional photographs can be stored.

In short, files with the BMP extension are uncompressed raster images made up of rectangular grids of images and are abbreviated for bitmap images.

We will discuss what is BMP file used for and how to open BMP files. If you want to know more about BMP files, you can read the pros and cons of BMP files and the difference between BMG and TIFF in this passage. If you accidentally delete BMP files, we will teach you how to recover them.

BMP files

What Is BMP File Used For

The different file format has different features, meaning they have different functions. What is a BMP file used for? BMP files are mostly used for:

🖼️Preserving high-resolution digital images and art. BMPs are perfect for high-quality 2D digital pictures since they can contain images of various colors and features. Many artists and photographers will choose to save images as the BMP extension.

🎨Design business logos and web images. Most business logos and web images are saved as BMP files. BMP files are present on almost all vibrant and themed websites in an effort to attract users.

🖨️Support print photos. Because of the features of BMP files, users can print full-color images with BMP file extensions. This file type will not lose data when you edit or save files.

How to Open BMP Files on Windows, Mac

BMP files are very popular, and the default image viewer can open BMP files. Mobile phones can also open BMP files. Here are some detailed tutorials for beginners on how to open BMP files:

Open BMP Files on Windows

Step 1. Find the target BMP file on your computer.

Step 2. Right-click the BMP file, and you will see the available operations.

Step 2. Move your pointer to the "Open with" and all the applications that can open BMP files will appear. You can choose "Photos".

How to Open GIF Files on Windows with Photos

Open BMP Files on Mac

Step 1. Find the target BMP file on your Mac or MacBook Pro.

Step 2. Right-click the BMP file, and you will see the available operations.

Step 3. Choose Open With > Preview (default).

open with macOS Preview

Can't Open BMP Files on Windows/Mac

If you cannot open BMP files on Windows or Mac with the default applications, you should download some third-party applications, such as Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop, and Canvas.

Or you can use some converter to convert BMP files to other image formats. You can download and install a variety of free image converters from the internet onto your device. Your BMP file can be converted to popular file types like PDF, JPG, TIF, ICO, and PNG.

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Pros and Cons of BMP Files

If you still cannot understand what makes BMP files special and what are the main features of this file type, we will lay out the pros and cons of BMP files below:

Pros of BMP Files:

  • Each BMP is device independent, allowing for quality to be maintained whether stored or presented on many hardware and display types.
  • The BMP file format is fairly adaptable because it enables different color depths, alpha channels, color profiles, and optional data compression.
  • BMP files work with a wide range of web browsers and other programs.

Cons of BMP Files:

  • BMP file is an old format, and many users think this is an outdated image format.
  • Uncompressed BMP files are larger than JPEG and PNG files, and because of the large size, the files may not be shared easily.
  • BMP can be replaced by TIFF files. Using TIFF, you can accomplish anything that you can with BMP.


We have mentioned BMP and TIFF in the last part. While TIFF is the best for saving ongoing photo modifications because TIFF files support layers and 32-bit color channels, BMP files are good for long-term archiving since they are uncompressed and support transparency. Here is a table that can help you know the differences between BMP and TIFF.

BMP File TIFF File
High image quality High image quality
8 bits per channel maximum 32 bits per channel maximum
Support Transparency Support Transparency
Don't support layers Support for layers
Large file size Larger than BMP
Widely support Support most applications

How to Recover Deleted BMP Files

Many photographers will choose to save images as BMP files, which are pretty large. If you accidentally deleted some important BMP images, you can recover them from the Recycle Bin or Mac Trash.

If you have emptied the Recycle Bin or Trash, you can recover files from Recycle Bin after empty with data recovery software. EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard is one of the suitable BMP file recovery programs. You can recover deleted BMP files from local PCs, USB flash drives, external hard drives, SD cards, etc.

EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard


After reading this passage, you may know more about BMP files. The question "What is a BMP file?" has already been answered, and you should know how to handle BMP files and how to recover deleted BMP files on your computer after reading this post.

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