By Dennis Mortensen In Events, WTD | September 2023

Recommendations for image file formats (WTD Atlantic 2023)

We were chuffed to have been chosen to host a talk on The Power of Product Screenshots in your Help Documentation at the Write the Docs Atlantic conference on September 12. It was a great couple of days learning all things software documentation with the passionate and engaging community that is Write the Docs. Thank you to everyone who took the time to listen to our talk and for all the thoughtful questions throughout.

LaunchBrightly The Power of Product Screenshots WTD Atlantic

Q: Do you have recommendations for selecting the appropriate image format based on different situations or use cases in developer-focused documentation? - Nikhila Jain

If with image format you mean the literal choice of file format for the digital image in use, such as PNG, GIF [A], JPG, SVG, etc. The choice matrix might look like this:

  1. Lossy Compression (smaller file size)
  2. Lossless Compress (larger file size)

I personally swear to any format which produces a lossless compression, especially with screenshots, as we can often assume they include small UI components with intricate lines and icons, and most importantly include written text. Not only can we compress dramatically, without any loss, but even when that is not possible, I am eager for my audience to be able to read any text without any strains.

In other words. My recommendation is PNG!

Ping me and I’d love to provide additional commentary on how to make a few simple adjustments to make sure your PNGs are not bloated (we obviously take all those precautions when generating screenshots at LaunchBrightly).

[A] Pronounced with a hard “G” ;-)

You can see a summary of the talk and find a link to the recording here.

And you can also find a link to the other great questions from the chat below:

Got a question on product screenshots that wasn’t answered? Feel free to connect with us (Dennis, Josh) or email and ask directly! We’re always happy to chat :-)