Byte Order for TIFF Images

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Today’s Question: In Photoshop CC, when I choose “Save As” to save an image as a TIFF file, the TIFF Options box displays the choice of Byte Order (IBM PC or Macintosh) pre-selected for Macintosh. Is there a way to always make it pre-selected for IBM PC?

Tim’s Quick Answer: There is not a way to change the default Byte Order setting in Photoshop, at least as far as I know. However, for the vast majority of users, there’s actually no benefit to choosing one option over the other.

More Detail: There was a time long ago (ten years or so) when selecting the correct Byte Order option for TIFF images was important. This was due to software compatibility issues, specifically as it related to the way image file data was stored on a Windows versus Macintosh computer.

Today’s software (with very few exceptions) is able to read TIFF images regardless of which Byte Order option is selected. Frankly, I would prefer it if Adobe removed the Byte Order setting from the TIFF Options dialog altogether, and simply provided a default setting option in Preferences.

Windows users can most certainly read and write TIFF files that are saved with the Macintosh setting for Byte Order with the vast majority of software available today. In fact, there isn’t a single imaging or video software application I use that doesn’t support TIFF files saved with either Byte Option setting.

So, if it makes you feel better to choose one option over the other, by all means feel free. But I recommend simply ignoring the fact that this setting even exists in the TIFF Options dialog, as it is extremely unlikely you will run into any compatibility issues with any software or operating system regardless of which setting is selected.