BMP File Format – All You Want to Know (Meaning & How to Open)

Nola Jones Nola Jones
Feb 07, 2023 (Updated: Feb 07, 2023)Filed to: Knowledge

For those who have recently bumped into BMP files on the computer, there must be so many questions wandering in your head. But don’t worry; BMP is a simple image format. And here is a detailed post elaborating on things you should know about such a file format, like what the BMP is and, how to open BMP files on your computer, whether you are using Windows 11 or mac OS X. All the questions will be addressed in the following content. Moreover, you will also find some valuable tips to help you better maintain or use the BMP files. Browse through and dig it out.

Part 1: Knowledge about BMP File Format Part 2: How to Open BMP Files on Windows 11/mac OS X Part 3: FAQs about BMP File Format

Part 1: Knowledge about BMP File Format

Before jumping to the method of opening BMP files on your device, figuring out the question “what is the BMP” is more urgent and will lay the foundation for understanding such format. Therefore, the following content will give you a comprehensive definition of BMP and introduce what is inside this file.

1.1: What is the BMP File Format

You might also see a reference like "Device Independent Bitmap" (DIB) when searching for the BMP definition. In fact, files with BMP extensions are image files saved in the Bitmap raster image format. This BMP file format, originally developed by Microsoft, is less popular and common than JPG or PNG in your daily life. This format is designed to preserve digital image resolution on different screens and devices. Meanwhile, BMP can store both color and black-and-white images. Because of the way, it handles pixels and raw format, the BMP file has higher quality than the PNG file, but only slightly higher.

1.2: What’s Included in a BMP

The file structures of a BMP file contain headers, also known as fixed-size structures and variable-size structures. These structures’ sequence is predetermined. Sometimes, the header information can vary based on the version of Bitmap. Generally speaking, a Bitmap file header, DIB header, and pixel array exist in a BMP file. Other optional structures in a BMP include extra bit masks, color table, gap1, gap2, and ICC color profile. Since the BMP file format stores numerous raster graphics data, the size of a BMP file is usually large. And it is also suitable for storing high-quality photos like artwork.

1.3: BMP File: Pros and Cons

No quality drop for image storing.
You can store and view BMP images on different devices.
Compatible with most programs on Windows and Mac.
Support a wide range of color depths, profiles, and alpha channels.
It is an outdated image file format.
Inconvenient for web-sharing due to large file size.
BMP does not support CMYK color mode.

Part 2: How to Open BMP Files on Windows 11/mac OS X

Although the BMP file format sounds a bit complex, it does not have a high demand for display devices. Without using graphics adapters, you can see a BMP file on any display device since it has strong compatibility. In other words, you can easily open BMP files with many pre-installed viewers on Windows and Mac, no matter which system you use. Microsoft Photos on Windows 11 and Apple Preview or Photos on Mac can all open BMP files quickly. For more professional viewers, Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator are also excellent choices. Meanwhile, you can use Photoshop to resize or create a BMP image.

Bonus Tip: How to Convert BMP Images for Free

JPG and PNG are great alternatives for BMP file format and help save your disk space, for they usually are smaller than a BMP image. Consider converting your piled-up BMP images to JPG/PNG and clean up the disk space on Windows/Mac. Without costing a penny or installing extra apps, AnyRec Free Image Converter Online lets you convert a BMP image to JPG or PNG in seconds. You can upload up to 40 BMP images simultaneously and convert them all to JPG with a click. Make sure each BMP image is less than 5MB for successful conversion.

Step 1.After entering the official page of Free Image Converter Online, choose the output format above. Then, click the "Add Images" button to select and upload BMP images from your device.

Free Image Converter Online AnyRec

Step 2.

Although conversion is a good way to reduce your BMP file size, some data might lose after converting it to JPG or PNG. You can also try the Free Image Compressor Online tool to compress your BMP files and maintain the original data.

Part 3: FAQs about BMP File Format


All in all, here are all the basic knowledge for beginners to learn about what BMP file format is. Meanwhile, readers can also learn about the advantages and disadvantages of this image format. Most importantly, it is simple to open BMP files on both Windows and Mac, for it’s compatible with both systems. Besides, follow the tips and steps above if you have large BMP images to compress.

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