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What is WMF?

Image Format Description

WMF, which stands for Windows Metafile Format, is a graphics container file format. Introduced by Microsoft for its systems, it contains information that describes another file.

The WMF file is basically a 16 bit format that stores vector and bitmap-format image data with a list of instructions (or “calls”) for Windows to restore the image on an output device. The vector data stored in the WMF files is described as GDI (Graphics Device Interface), and the bitmap data is stored in the form of DDB (Device Dependent Bitmap) or DIB (Device Independent Bitmap). WMF files are smaller than other similar metafile formats, therefore they save space. They also have no actual file size as such since the format is device independent.

The structure of a WMF metafile format is simple. It consists of a header containing a description of the record data stored in the metafile; followed by one or more records of data. Each record is a binary encoded GDI function call. As the metadata of one record is played back on a device or computer screen, the data from other records perform their function call and the object in the image is played back. The last record of the file gives the indication that the record data has reached its end. In other words, the image is complete.

Although WMF is specific to Microsoft Windows (versions 3, 95, 98, Me, NT, 2000, XP and Vista), it is also supported by almost all other non-Windows based applications and platforms.

The Windows Metafile Format, with the file extension of ‘.wmf’, is mainly used by graphic designers, advertising designers, product designers, and website designers. WMF files can be converted to other image formats by Factory Image Converter.

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