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What’s the difference between png and svg

what's the difference between png and svg

Unraveling the Mystery: PNG vs. SVG – Understanding the Differences

In the vast landscape of digital graphics, understanding the nuances between various file formats is crucial, especially when it comes to choosing between PNG (Portable Network Graphics) and SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics). Both formats have distinct characteristics and are suitable for different purposes. Let’s delve into the key differences between PNG and SVG to help you make informed decisions when handling graphics for your projects.

Resolution and Scalability:

PNG: As a raster image format, PNG is pixel-based, meaning it consists of a grid of individual pixels. This makes it ideal for photographs and detailed images but can result in loss of quality when resized. Enlarging a PNG image often leads to pixelation.

SVG:In contrast, SVG is a vector-based format, using mathematical equations to define shapes. This allows SVG images to be infinitely scalable without loss of quality. Whether viewed on a small mobile screen or a large billboard, an SVG image remains crisp and clear.

File Size:

PNG: While PNG is widely used for its ability to maintain image quality, it can have larger file sizes, especially for complex images. This is due to the fact that each pixel is individually defined, contributing to a higher level of detail.

SVG: SVG files are typically smaller because they store shapes and paths rather than individual pixels. This makes SVG a more efficient choice for web graphics, as smaller file sizes contribute to faster loading times.

Editing and Customization:

PNG: Editing a PNG image is limited to raster-based software like Adobe Photoshop. While you can make changes, resizing or modifying detailed aspects may result in a loss of quality.

SVG: SVG is a plain-text XML format, allowing for easy editing with any text editor. Additionally, vector graphics software like Adobe Illustrator or Inkscape can be used to manipulate SVG files extensively. This makes SVG ideal for projects that require frequent edits and customization.


PNG: PNG supports alpha channels, allowing for varying levels of transparency. This makes it a popular choice for images that need to overlay on different backgrounds.

SVG: SVG also supports transparency, making it versatile for creating complex designs with elements that seamlessly integrate into various backgrounds.


PNG: PNG files are static images and do not support interactive elements. They are best suited for displaying fixed images or photographs.

SVG: SVG files can include interactive elements such as links, hover effects, and animations. This makes SVG a preferred choice for web graphics that require dynamic and engaging content.

In summary, while PNG and SVG both have their merits, the choice between them depends on the specific requirements of your project. Use PNG for static, detailed images, especially photographs, and turn to SVG for scalable, customizable, and interactive graphics, particularly for web-based content. Understanding these differences empowers you to choose the right format for your graphic needs, ensuring optimal quality and performance.