file compression

RAR vs Zip: Crowning the File Compression Champion

File compression is a great way to reduce the size of a file to take up less space on your computer. It also allows you to send and receive files faster, even on slower internet speeds. When it comes to compressing files, the choice usually comes down to the ZIP or RAR formats.

If you download and upload files on the internet on a regular basis, then you’ve seen and even use ZIP and RAR files. They’ve been the most popular file compression formats for decades. Despite their similarities, they have key differences that will help decide your choice.

In this guide, we’ll take a look at the RAR vs ZIP formats. Read on!

ZIP Format’s Background

ZIP is a compressed archive file format. It can contain more than one file or folder and uses the “.zip” file extension. It’s useful if you need to send both PDF and Word documents for a college paper submission in only 1 file.

It’s a format developed by Phil Katz released in 1989. ZIP was once part of the PKZIP utility of PKWARE. It was later supported by other software utilities.

In 1998, Microsoft included built-in support for ZIP in Windows. One common use of ZIP files is in software downloads. A single ZIP file encases all the essential components of a program before its transfer.

This makes the program efficient for storage space and time by reducing redundancy. The ZIP file will consume less space and bandwidth. It also retains the internal integrity and organization of the original file.

Besides compressing files, ZIP can encrypt your files through password protection. It also allows you to split archives with only a few clicks.

You can compress or zip multiple files using various methods. This includes LZMA, DEFLATE, PPMd, WavPack, and BZIP2, among others.

Each of the files has its own separate storage, allowing you to access and extract one at random. This means you can also add new files in the ZIP archive without re-zipping the entire archive.

ZIP files can also contain more content unrelated to the archive. This makes the ZIP format a self-extracting archive.

RAR Format’s Background

RAR stands for Roshal Archive. It’s named after its Russian developer, Eugene Roshal. It uses the “.rar” file extension.

Like the ZIP file, it’s used for storing multiple files that can be of different file types in 1 container. It’s also used for data compression to make files more efficient for storage and transfer.

As a compressed archive format, it’s common to encounter RAR files online. Users will often find these files on file-sharing sites and software downloads. RAR is also used for file scanning and error recovery.

Unlike ZIP, RAR is a proprietary format used only with the WinRAR archiver. This means you can only create and extract RAR files by using WinRAR. RAR uses a higher compression ratio than ZIP compression through its proprietary algorithm.

The WinRAR archiver is also capable of ZIP file compression and extraction. Besides ZIP, it can also operate on other non-RAR formats. It supports programmable self-extracting archives, error repairs, and embedded comments.

Operating System Support

ZIP was wider and native support across different operating systems. ZIP files are more accessible because they are open-source. On the other hand, RAR will require third-party software like WinRAR.

Windows offers native support for ZIP since Windows XP. Windows users can create and extract ZIP files with a default compress ZIP file feature. To use RAR, you need to buy and install WinRAR.

Mac OS X also supports ZIP along with other archive formats. You’ll also need to purchase WinRAR to compress file size using RAR.

Linux has support for ZIP out-of-the-box. You can use standard programs like File Roller to work with RAR files. However, you’ll first need to install the command-line utilities from the package manager.

Chrome OS supports both the ZIP and RAR format.

Key Differences

The basic difference is in licensing. ZIP is a format created to be standard for lossless data compression and is open-source. It uses several compression algorithms, with DEFLATE being the most common.

RAR’s proprietary compression algorithm may cause significant implications on various factors. Here are some key factors to consider when choosing between RAR vs. ZIP.

Accessibility

The ZIP format has an advantage when it comes to accessibility. ZIP’s wider OS support means it’s more accessible to users.

ZIP also gets its edge by being older than the RAR format. It’s still the most used and accounts for a large number of archive files on the web.

This is a crucial factor considered by software developers. They will want their files to be accessible to avoid complaints of being unable to extract files.

Compression

RAR can achieve a small file size than ZIP with the same file or set of files. The margin can be large in different cases.

The difference can vary depending on the file size and types you’re compressing. In a file compression benchmark test, experts tested WinRAR to compress a 310 MB test. They were able to compress the file by up to 71% of its original size, resulting in 90 MB.

Meanwhile, WinZIP can compress the same test file down to 125 MB. That’s a compression ratio of over 60%.

When it comes to RAR vs ZIP compression, RAR proves superior. If your main concern is storage space, then the RAR format is better than ZIP.

Speed

The ZIP format uses a less complex format structure to contain files. This makes it quick for both compression and decompression. It uses DEFLATE, an older yet common compression algorithm.

RAR compression is even faster than ZIP. This is because its compression algorithm is more efficient than ZIP’s DEFLATE compression.

Security

The default Windows and Mac OS support does not include password protection. Meanwhile, WinRAR has native support for password encryption. This gives the RAR format a security advantage.

Which File Compression Format Is Best?

When it comes to accessibility and popularity, the ZIP format wins. If we’re talking about efficiency and security, RAR takes the crown. The answer to which file compression format is best will depend on your needs and priorities.

Whichever format you choose, check your files if they’re in the file type you need before sending them. We can convert files like PDF to JPG online for free. Convert your files with OffDrive today!

convert PDF

How to Convert PDF Files for Your Kindle

Almost 20 percent of people reported owning a Kindle or other e-reader device. The Kindle’s easy-to-use features and lightweight functionality make them extremely popular to read books, magazines, newspapers, and their own PDF files.

While downloading e-books onto a Kindle may be seamless, downloading your PDFs onto your Kindle is a different story.

Many people do not know how to convert PDF files from their computer or phone to their Kindle. If this sounds like a familiar problem, have no fear. 

We have created a complete guide on everything you need to know about converting PDF files to read on your Kindle. 

Convert PDF Files from Your Desktop or Laptop

The first way many people think they can convert PDF files to their Kindle is through their laptop or desktop device. Whether or not you have an Apple or a PC, here are the steps for transferring PDF files from your computer to your Kindle. 

First, locate the exact PDF file or files you want to convert to your Kindle. There is nothing worse than going through the hassle of transferring over a PDF only to discover later that it was the wrong one. 

Once you have the correct PDF file, plug in your Kindle to your computer with a USB cord. You should see the name of your Kindle show up in either the Explorer section of Windows or the Finder section of Apple.

Open the Kindle in either the Explorer or Finder section and click on the “documents” folder. 

Next, you can either copy and paste the PDF file you want to be converted directly into the “documents” folder or simply drag and drop it into the folder.

Once you have deposited the PDF file into this folder, you are done. You can do this for as many PDF files as you need to be converted. 

You will see the newly converted PDF files in your library the next time you use your Kindle.

Send PDF Files to Your Kindle Via Your Email

Another, less well-known way of converting PDF files to your Kindle is to send them through email. This hack for converting PDFs is a great option if you are traveling, on-the-go, or do not have access to your laptop or desktop. 

Here are the steps to take if you want to send your PDFs to your Kindle. 

First, log on to Amazon and go to the “preferences” tab under the “manage your content and devices” section. Go to “personal document settings” and then from there, go to “send to Kindle email settings.”

There you should be able to find the “approved personal document email list.” Verify that your email address is listed in this section. If not, add it now.

Next, you need to find your Kindle email address. Finding this address will enable you to send converted PDF files directly to your Kindle from your email.

To find this, go on your Kindle and go to “app settings.” Verify what the email address is under “send to Kindle email address.” 

Once you have all this information, you can now send PDF files via email. Open up a new email draft. Put “Convert” in the subject line and attach the PDF files you want to read on your Kindle. 

Type in your Kindle email address in the address field and click send. Once the email is sent, you should be able to read the PDFs on your Kindle with ease. 

How to Read PDFs on Your Kindle

Following any of these methods listed above will help you read any type of PDF on your Kindle. In both scenarios, you will need to give it a few minutes to allow for the PDF files to load completely.

It should be noted that there may be minor formatting issues you see when reading these converted PDF files. Some common issues you see could be indents being a little off, spacing issues between paragraphs, and more.

If your newly converted PDF has images included in them, there is a chance that they may not load all the way or have formatting issues as well.

A good rule of thumb to prevent most formatting issues when converting PDF files is to send from a laptop or desktop rather than emailing them. 

Emailing PDF files to your Kindle is a great option for when your PDFs are text-heavy and you are not near a computer. However, emailing PDF files typically sees the most issues with formatting. 

Formatting differences aside, reading your PDFs on a Kindle is a great way to read through work documents or academic textbooks. If you are a writer, sending PDF files to another person’s Kindle is an easy way to get more people to read your work.

Looking for More Tech Tips and Tricks for Kindles?

File conversion can seem like an extremely tricky matter to many people. For that reason, most people avoid using their Kindle to its full capacity simply because they do not know how to convert PDF files. 

We hope this comprehensive guide has taught you the best ways on converting PDF files to your Kindle. Take the power of the Kindle back into your own hands to read more than you have before by converting PDF files. 

If you are looking for more info on how to convert PDF files to your Kindles, visit us at Offdrive. Our blog has all the latest insights and trends into tech tips and tricks to make your life easier. 

Posted in PDF
raw files

What Are RAW Files and How Do You Convert Them?

When you are taking photos with a professional digital camera, you are going to have to deal with RAW files, unless you change the default format. And for some, this can be a problem. 

However, it doesn’t have to be. RAW files are of the greatest quality, because they store all of the image data, allowing users to adjust the variable how they like.

In this article, we will cover these files in more depth. As well as teach you how to convert them for whatever needs you have. 

Whenever you’re ready to take your photo editing journey to the next level, keep reading.

What Are RAW Files?

There are many types of RAW files. The most common is the.RAW extension for a Photoshop file, used in certain scenarios like image data transfers between applications. This format describes the color information of pixel-by-pixel text in binary form.

It has nothing to do with RAW image formats that are created on digital cameras. Digital camera RAW image files provide the greatest quality because all of the camera sensor data is saved in an uncompressed and unprocessed form.

Some examples of these image formats are Nikon NEF, Olympus ORF, Fuji RAF, Sony ARW, Adobe DNG, Canon CR2, Panasonic RW2, and many others.

Camera raw images allow editors to change the photo parameters however they like because there were no modifications already made. Processed photos will usually end up in a .JPG or.TIFF format.

A RAW file might also represent a Raw Audio Data file, in which the same concept of lack of compression and processing is applicable. Other files with.RAW might be for the GameCube Emulator or Wii.

How to Convert RAW Files?

You have several options when it comes to converting RAW files. For instance, digital camera RAW files can be converted with a built-in converter. 

Nikon cameras often come with an option to convert within the device. Although convenience is a virtue, the tools only let you adjust some attributes. Not to mention, there’s an issue of judging the exposure, color, sharpness from the camera monitor. 

A small screen will present an image much differently than a computer monitor. Having the conversion option on your camera in a rush is great, but it should not be your go-to option.

How many image attributes you can adjust will depend on the software of your choosing, so if you’re looking for a program to convert your files, research intricately.

Some simple programs change the format .RAW to another, applying the same attributes the camera used when you take the photo in the original format.

Adobe Photoshop has a converter that allows you to adjust several panels of image attributes. For specifics on in-camera conversion, you will need to look at the manual. You can also find specific tutorials that are designed for your applications of choice.

General RAW Conversion Rules

In any case, there are some general rules to follow when starting with a RAW conversion. First and foremost, you should never delete your original RAW file. 

You might want to convert the file again with a different setting someday. Keeping the RAW file means you will have a pristine condition that you can return to whenever you like.

The settings used when making the conversion will stay with the RAW file, sort of like an outline of a recipe. The next time you open the file, you will not have to make adjustments again. They have applied automatically. 

Because your image data is still RAW, you can apply new adjustments without doing any damage to the image. To retain the greatest image quality after conversion, save the file in TIFF.

TIFF is a non-destructive format. It preserves as much of the image data as possible. This means you get the best quality, which is why TIFF is the standard for publishing. 

Most word processing, photo editing, and publishing software can work with TIFF. Most retail labs print TIFF primarily. Other non-destructive formats are PSD and PNG, which is why Photoshop uses them natively. 

PNG is compatible with practically all programs, but very few offer compatibility with PSD files. So if you want to make things simple and nobody requires more of you, simple use TIFF.

TIFF Downside & JPEG Use

TIFF does have one issue, however. Pictures in this format will be of much greater size than JPEG. But that’s what you have to deal with if you want to retain the best possible quality. If you want to use your converted image online, you will need to store it in JPEG.

TIFF cannot be worked online. Emails, browsers, and other apps don’t display them. JPEG is the universal photo format and is also compatible with almost all software/retail locations.

Just know that JPEG is a loss format, which means you will experience quality depreciation because of the compression. As far as RAW conversion, the best practice is to save two copies, one in TIFF and one in JPEG.

Image Conversion Online

Now that you know what RAW files are, as well as how to convert them, you are that much closer to making sure you get the results you want. As long as you know what file you want to end up with and which attributes to retain, you will get exactly what you want. 

And if you’re interested in converting the various image files to any other image format, check out our online conversion tool for free.

what is an APK

What Is an APK File and How Do You Open It?

Have you ever seen an APK file, but wondered what it was? Well, you’re in the right place to find out what you need.

In essence, an APK is an archive file for applications on the Android OS. However, that’s not the only way to describe it, APK does so much more than that. 

In this article, we will cover everything you need to know about what is an APK so that you can have a full-fledged capacity of using it. 

Whenever you’re ready to learn about APK and what it’s for, keep reading.

What Is An APK?

APK, also known as an Android Package Kit is a file extension for a file that is used to distribute applications for the Android OS. It’s the .exe alternative of Windows OS used for installing software. The APK contains all of the necessary data of the application, starting with its resources and going as far as the manifest of the compiled app code.

Most android users download APK files from the Play Store when installing an application. The only reason they don’t know about it is that Android does everything in the background, you only see the front-end. If you know how to manually install applications, there are many other sources for APK files.

Nonetheless, you should be very cautious about downloading APK files, as much as you would be cautious about .exe files. Malware is easily stored in these files and can ruin your device.

These are the following prominent components of a regular APK file.

  1. META-INF: signature, manifest file, list of archived resources
  2. lib: native libraries for device architectures
  3. assets: raw resources that are bundled with application
  4. res: resources not compiled
  5. AndroidManifest.xml: version, name, and contents
  6. resources.arsc: compiled resources
  7. classes.dex: compiled Java classes

And that’s pretty much it. However, APK files can be customized to other specifications, making the contents variable. Now that you know what is an APK, let’s discover how to open it.

How Do You Open an APK File?

APK files are not restricted to being opened on Android. They can also be opened on MAC, Windows, etc. Opening APK on android simply requires the downloaded file and then opening it via a click. But APK files installed not on Play Store will not install right away, there is a firewall that prevents that from happening.

To bypass the installation restriction on unknown sourced filed, navigate to one of the following menus.

  1. Settings > Apps & Notifications
  2. Settings > Security
  3. Settings > Apps & Notifications > Advanced > Special App Access > Install Unknown Apps

Depending on the version of your device, you might need your application form which you download (Edge, Chrome, Brave) to have permission for installation. If you see Unknown Apps or Unknown Sources, enable that option.

If the APK does not open, browse it with your file manager. If you don’t have one, try Astro or ES File.

On Windows

You can also open APK on Windows using an emulator for Android. BlueStacks is a very popular example. In this application, you visit the My Apps tab and then click on the Install APK option in the corner.

After doing so, you can browse through your files and install any APK you like.

On Mac

Android apps can be tested on Mac as well, but not natively. ARC Welder is an extension for Chrome that runs on all OS. This means you can open your APK on any computer, as long as you have this extension.

On IOS

You cannot install or open APK on iPad or iPhone because the file build is incompatible with how applications work on IOS. The two platforms are not cross-compatible, but emulators can potentially solve this problem.

APK Extraction

Another way to open APK files on any of the potential OS is via an extractor tool. Since APK is just an archive of folders, you can unzip it with WinRar, 7-Zip, or PeaZip to see what makes up the application.

Doing this will not let you use the APK file on the device. To do this, you will need an Android emulator on your device which will run the necessary Android OS on your device.

How to Convert APK?

Even though file conversion is usually done with an application, it’s not really applicable to APK files. That’s because APK files are designed to run on certain devices only, unlike other files like PDF or MP4 that can are opened on many platforms.

Instead, if you want to convert your APK to an archive like ZIP, you will use the extractors mentioned above. Either open the file in the extractor and repackage it, or you can simply change the .APK extension to .ZIP.

This might seem odd because renaming a file does not actually convert a file. But it does work with APK files because the format is already using .ZIP, it’s just appending it as .APK.

You cannot convert APK to IPA for IOS use, neither can you convert APK to EXE for Windows using. But you can certainly find an alternative that works in place of the app that you want to install. Most developers have the same application available on multiple platforms but in the appropriate format.

Instead of using a non-existent APK/EXE converter, you simple open the Windows APK opener and then use it to open the application. It does not need to be .EXE for it to work.

You can also convert APK to BAR to use the application on BlackBerry devices. This is done by uploading your file to the converter, like a Good e-Reader. The conversion happens automatically and then you can download the BAR file back to your device of choice.

Ultimate File Conversion 

Now that you know what is an APK, you are that much closer to unlocking the full potential of its use. Unfortunately, there is not a way to convert APK to other platforms, but there are workarounds as mentioned above.

If you’re interested in a variety of file conversions directly in your browser without downloading software, check out our conversion solutions.

7Z

What’s a 7Z File and How Do You Open It?

Do you want a free and easy way to compress your business and personal documents by up to 70%?

The answer lies with 7zip, an award-winning file compression archiver that’s used by millions of home and business users. It also offers high-end encryption to keep your spreadsheets, images, and files safe from prying eyes.

This article looks at the 7z file software and how to open 7-Zip files. 

You’ll learn all about the compression format along with the major benefits 7-Zip has to offer. Discover the differences between 7z, RAR, and Zip. Then see how to convert between several archive compression formats online for free.

Read on to find out why 7-Zip is a must-have tool to compress and secure your data.

What Is a 7z File?

7-Zip or the 7z format is a type of file compression software, similar to the popular .zip format found in Windows.

A 7z file looks and acts like a folder. It groups files together and uses an intelligent algorithm to remove unneeded data which reduces the overall file size.

This algorithm is called LZMA and it offers:

  • Fast compression and decompression speeds
  • Higher compression ratios than other archiving algorithms
  • Small code file size and memory requirements
  • Works with multi-threading for faster processing

All of these innovations allow you to take several files or folders and compress them to 30-70% of their original size. You can then send this group of files together via email or upload it to the cloud with ease.

Benefits of 7-Zip

The 7-Zip format is recognized as having better performance than regular zip files because it offers:

  • Full control over how you archive and compress
  • 256-bit AES encryption to keep files safe
  • Higher levels of compression at faster speeds than Zip
  • Opens other compression formats like BIZIP2, TAR, and X2

A popular rival to both the .zip and .7z formats is RAR.

RAR stands for Roshal Archive, named after its creator Eugene Roshal. Half-a-million users have downloaded the software and use it to compress their files. However, the WinRAR tool comes with a financial cost — approx. $55.

The biggest benefit of 7-Zip is that it’s free!

You can download the 7-Zip File Manager and it won’t cost you a penny. Also, benchmark tests that compare the three formats prove that 7z offers the best service.

Why use a worse product that costs money when 7-Zip does it better at no cost?

Opening 7z Files

What’s the best way to open a .7z file?

Firstly, download 7-Zip File Manager if you use Windows. macOS users must download an alternative compression software tool called Unarchiver. Both are free.

Make sure to choose the latest version of 7-Zip File Manager that matches your operating system (32-bit or 64-bit). You also have the option to download an executable (.exe) or installer (.msi) file or a standalone option (.7z).

For full integration with Windows, it’s best to choose the .exe option.

Follow the on-screen installation instructions and accept all the defaults. You need to have administrative privileges to be able to do this.

Program and Windows Shell

Once installed, you have two methods when opening a 7z file:

  1. Through the file manager program
  2. Via Windows Explorer (Windows Shell)

Opening the file manager gives you a host of options including adding and extracting files and copying/moving data.

Beneath the icons is a list of files in your Documents folder. You can navigate to another directory like Downloads or wherever the 7-zip file is located that you wish to open.

To view the contents of the 7z file or any compressed file like .zip, simply double-click it.

You’ll see a list of the files and folders along with their full file size, compressed size, and other useful attributes. You can order files by attribute by clicking on the header row.

Double-clicking a file will open it in a temporary location, a bit like a preview. But it’s best to extract the file(s) by clicking the Extract button. Choose the destination and the software will unpack them there.

Windows Shell Integration

7-Zip also integrates directly with Windows Explorer.

Open Explorer and navigate to the file you want to extract. Right-click and you’ll see a 7-Zip menu option. Moving your mouse over this branch displays a list of choices including ‘Open Archive’, ‘Extract Files…’, and ‘Extract here’.

Choose the latter to automatically extract all the files/folders contained within the 7-zip file to the current directory.

7z Conversion

Although 7-Zip can open different formats, that doesn’t mean that your friends or workers have the software installed.

They may only have WinRAR on their computers or no compression apps at all. In any case, you’ll need to convert your files to a different type.

The great news is that Offdrive lets you do this for free!

Convert 7z to Zip

Use our 7z to Zip online conversion tool to change your files into a format that everyone can open.

Although .zip files don’t offer the same functionality, Windows can read and open them. That means they’re guaranteed to work.

7z to RAR

For WinRAR users, convert 7z to RAR format.

All it takes is for you to upload your file and check the reCAPTCHA box to verify that you’re human. Hit Convert, wait for your file to process, then download it to your computer.

7z to TAR

Linux users often use the TAR compression format. Converting 7z to TAR sounds complicated but it doesn’t have to be with our online tool.

Remember, all of our conversion services are free. And you can upload and transform as many files as you want.

Free Online Archive Conversion at Offdrive

7-Zip files offer an excellent compression to speed ratio for reducing the total file size of your data.

The 7z extension brings with it built-in AES encryption that’s unbreakable if used with a strong password. The 7-Zip File Manager for Windows even integrates with Explorer so you can right-click a folder and compress it within seconds.

7z conversion is easy thanks to Offdrive’s free online Archive Conversion tools. Not only can you convert 7z to Zip or RAR formats but our service lets you convert formats in reverse.

Want to transform your RAR file into a 7-Zip archive? Then use our free tool to upload and convert as many files as you need.

video file

Top 8 Video File Formats of 2021

There are over 30 different types of video file formats currently in existence. But not all are still in regular use. Support for Adobe Flash player ended in December 2020, so the FLV video file format will be a has-been file type soon enough.

With video technology changing every year, it can be difficult to stay on top of the best video file formats to use. But it’s important to do your research and choose the appropriate format so that you can share and upload your work without any issues.

You want to make sure people can watch your videos in the quality you intended!

The guide will explain all the top video files still in use in 2021. It lists their specifications and in which purposes to use them. 

1. MP4

MP4 is an Apple video file format that is technically called MPEG-4, but .mp4 is the file extension so that’s why MP4 is the more common name. It’s a progression of Apple’s QuickTime file format.

Apple created MP4 way back in 2001 to work in low-bandwidth internet connections and for the file size to be as small as possible. So MP4s are compressed more than other file types, which means the quality is good but isn’t the best. 

This is not one of the best video files to export your feature-length documentary in!

But it’s an extremely common video file type and will work on the vast majority of media players. This is regardless of whether the players are Apple devices or not. It’s perfect for general social media sharing and slideshow presentations.

2. MOV

MOV is Apple’s main alternative to MP4 video files. It is now Apple’s preferred QuickTime player video file and is much more ideal for movies and professional videos. Canon cameras usually record MOVs.

MOV files can hold video, audio, subtitles, and timecode metadata which is perfect for videographers and editors. However, it is primarily an Apple file type for Apple devices and fewer media players recognize it. Some of the few that do include QuickTime, VLC, and Windows Media Player.

And because MOV videos are generally higher quality and hold more information than an MP4, for example, the file sizes are bigger. If you have a MOV video and need to make the file size smaller, you will need to use a video file converter to compress it.

3. WMV

WMV (which stands for Windows Media Video) is, unsurprisingly, a Microsoft video file format. They created it to rival Apple’s MP4 though it never quite matched the latter’s popularity.

Because it’s built to match an MP4, its benefits include compressed, small file sizes. This is perfect if you want to attach a video to an email or send a video over social media. 

However, the quality isn’t the best. And while Microsoft-owned media players will offer WMV playback, but many third-party players don’t. If you want a video file format that is guaranteed to be universally accepted, a WMV file format isn’t the one to choose.

4. AVI

And if WMV was Microsoft’s attempt to dominate the compressed video file format market, then AVI is their attempt to rival Apple’s MOV video file!

Developed way back in the 1990s, AVI is one of the best video file formats available, especially for professionals. It stands for Audio Video Interleave and many Nikon and Olympus cameras record in this file format.

AVI is usually a safer bet than MOV at being compatible with more media players.

However, the uncompressed video file sizes are huge. They are often much bigger than MOVs and can be around 2-3GB. 

5. M4V

An M4V is essentially an MP4 with one main difference: security and encryption.

Apple developed the M4V video file format to protect videos bought on iTunes. These videos were encrypted with DRM (Digital Rights Management) FairPlay copy protection. This means they could only be played on devices attached to the owner’s account.

Not every video needs data encryption so it’s not an ideal file format for everyone. However, if you are creating media that will sit behind a paywall (Patreon, audiobook, etc.) then encryption might be necessary.

M4V files play on any media player that accepts MP4s.

M4A is another similar video file type to the MP4. It’s more of a predecessor to the MP4 format as M4A is usually an audio-only file. The audio tends to be better quality than MP3 or WAV.

It’s extremely easy to convert an M4A file to an MP4 as you can just alter the file extension.

6. WebM

Google developed the WebM video file (also goes by the name HTML5) back in 2010. They’re generally compressed, smaller-sized videos designed for website streaming. Google made the WebM file with the future of internet streaming in mind.

So, if you have a video portfolio or a video-heavy website, then using WebM video files means you can display videos without compromising video quality or site speed/loading time.

However, it’s still not a popular choice of video file format. Many website owners still prefer to upload their videos on video streaming platforms like YouTube and Vimeo and embed the videos onto their websites.

Only time will tell if WebM makes a comeback!

7. MKV

Speaking of the future, MKV is supposedly a future-proof video file. The software developer Matroska developed this file back in 2002 to stay updated with the latest codecs.

MKV can handle audio, video, and other multimedia clips and contain them into one single file. It’s perfect if you need to add audio dubbing to a video or extra subtitle options.

It’s not as common as some of the other video file types on this list, but it’s highly adaptable and universally-accepted by most media players.

8. AVCHD

The final video file format on this list is one of the newest and most advanced. AVCHD stands for Advanced Video Coding High Definition and it’s a format Sony and Panasonic developed in 2006.

Because it’s their video file format, most Sony and Panasonic cameras will record in AVCHD. It was originally made for higher-end home video cameras and AVCHD 2.0 even supports 3D footage. 

It also has fantastic compression which means smaller video file sizes that keep the same level of quality. 

Use the Ideal Video File for Your Creations

Now you know exactly which video file is best suited to your needs! So, you can upload and share your videos with zero tech issues while retaining excellent quality.

Video file formats are always changing and updating. It’s important to check you’re still exporting and encoding your videos in the best format.

Our service offers free document, spreadsheet, image, and archive conversion. If you need tips on how to convert common file types (like videos), check out our blog post here.

convert images

Why You Would Want to Convert Images to PDF and Vice Versa

Have you ever emailed a file to somebody, only to be told that they can’t open it? When you ask, you get all kinds of reasons why. Maybe they don’t have the software you used. Perhaps they opened it as a different file type and it got distorted. 

These problems occur all the time, leading to much consternation and wasted time. It doesn’t just happen with documents, either. In many cases, even images can cause a problem.

If this has happened to you, consider this: have you ever tried to convert images into another format?

Converting images into a PDF file can make your life and the life of your email correspondence so much easier. PDF files are a universal standard that you can open regardless of computer software.

Because of this, there are several benefits to converting an image to a PDF file. Moreover, Offdrive makes it easy for you to convert your files to and from a PDF! 

Preserve Your Graphic’s Integrity

The chief advantage of converting an image to a PDF file is preserving your graphic integrity. This means the picture will retain its original quality, or at least something close to the original.

Just as the image preserves its quality, so too is the layout retained. The image will not be cropped, rotated, or anything else that would change its appearance.

Because the PDF file has a universal design, it will keep its quality regardless of what software a computer has.

Secure Your File

PDF files offer a plethora of security functions to make sure your file is safe. This includes being able to encrypt a password to your file. This way, nobody can open it without having express knowledge of the password.

Another valuable security function is the watermark function. A PDF file allows you to insert a company watermark into the image, making it much harder for someone to copy or plagiarize. 

Lastly, PDFs allow you to create a digital signature for your file. For example, if you were to create a certificate image,  you can sign your end of the certificate.

Multi-Dimensional and Compact 

A PDF file is incredibly multi-dimensional in what it allows you to include. You can add text, audio files, videos, three-dimensional models, and more to your image file. 

You may not need all of these things in a single file, but it can be advantageous. For example, say you are sending a report to somebody in your company.

You could convert your images, such as charts or graphs, into a PDF file. Then, you can add further information to the image through explanatory text. You can then follow that up with a video clip.  

Such a multipurpose tool can be tremendously efficient at saving time. Now, you may be wondering how a single file could manage so many different features. 

If so, that’s a fair question. The short answer is that PDF files are intensely compact. They can handle near-infinite amounts of data while also giving you control over the quality of the image.

When Should You Convert Images OUT of PDF Formats

While PDFs have many advantages, they aren’t perfectly suited to every task. Other image files often work better for some purposes than a PDF file would. If you’re wondering what you should use, have no fear! 

In this section, we’ll compare the uses of PDF files to other image file types. That way, you’ll have an idea of what file type best fits your purposes.

1. PDF vs PNG

PDFs are ideal for images you intend to print, especially for graphic design and poster use. They’re also convenient for downloading an image for storage purposes. 

PNG files, however, are the best option for things like web graphics, such as illustrations or logos. PNG files can also shrink to become much smaller sizes if certain elements are limited, making them a compact choice as well.

Furthermore, PNG files are much easier to edit than a PDF file is. If your image is a work in progress rather than a finished product, it’s probably best to save it as a PNG file.

PNGs can also become transparent, allowing you to put text over an image or layer the image with illustrations.

2. PDF vs JPG

JPG images, like PNGs, are an excellent choice for online usage. If you plan on posting images or photos online, JPGs can help keep the size small.

Another advantage to JPG images is their use in showing preview images in emails. They are also a stellar choice for printing images at high resolution. 

3. PDF vs GIF

GIFs are useful if the image’s colors are more uniform, with fewer than 256 colors included. It’s a better choice for computer-generated images. GIFs are also better if you want an animated image rather than a still picture. 

How Do I Convert Images to Different File Types

At this point, you’re probably thinking, “Okay, so I get what I should use different files for. But how do I convert them?”

While many tools allow you to convert images, none of them are more straightforward than our Offdrive tools. To get started, all you have to do is visit our homepage.

From there, you’ll see several shortcuts that allow you to convert files, such as PNG to PDF or vice versa. Click your desired shortcut, verify you aren’t a robot, and select your image.

Click the convert button and boom! You have a converted image. It’s that straightforward.

Choose What’s Right For You

We hope this content helped! Remember, when you need to convert images, first decide what you’re using them for. If you need something edited multiple times, a PNG is best. If you want top-resolution photos printed, a JPG is what you want. 

Of course, if you want a secure, universal image file, a PDF is the optimal choice. There’s no need to make it complicated.

microsoft office vs google suite

Microsoft Office vs Google Suite: Which One Is Right for You?

There was once a time when you didn’t need to think too much about which office suite you would use as Microsoft was the standard that we all turned to. Things have changed, however, and now there are more choices. One such popular choice is Google Suite.

Microsoft Office has been with us since 1990, which Google is relatively new to the office world having only launched its rival product in 2006. Both corporations would like you to use their products in your business. But is Microsoft Office better than Google Suite? 

Where do you stand in the Microsoft Office Vs Google Suite debate? Do you favor Office 365, or is Google Workplace better for your needs?

In this article, we look at the differences between Microsoft Office and Google Suite to help you to decide which one is right for you. 

Microsoft Office vs. Google Suite: The Background  

Microsoft Office and G Suite come from very different backgrounds. Office 365 is the latest product in a long history of Microsoft titles. Microsoft Office is very familiar to a lot of business users because the software has been with us since the early days of PC use. 

While Google may well be a well-known name, they’re still at the beginning of its journey into creating platforms for business use. Of course, Google has been with us since the 90s when they released their leading search engine.

Over the last two decades, they’ve added to their capability by bringing out apps such as Gmail and Google Docs- eventually bundling all of their apps first as Google Apps, then Google for Work, then G Suite, and then in October 2020, Google renamed Google Suite to Google Workplace.

Microsoft Office vs. G Suite: The Similarities 

Both Microsoft Office 365 and G Suite have lots in common. They are both subscription-based platforms charging fees based on the number of people using the service each month. 

G Suite is web-based although it does have the potential to work offline, Office 365 uses software installed on the desktop. It also provides web-based versions of all of its apps. 

Both G Suite and Office 365 work well on most devices. Due to the fact that it is web-based, you can use G Suite from most browsers and using any operating system. Microsoft software is available for Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS. 

Both Office 365 and G Suite offer the same applications at their core. Both have a word processing app, an app for spreadsheets, an email application, a calendar, a presentation app, and a contacts program, as well as messaging, video-conferencing, and note-taking. 

G Suite and Office 365 both utilize cloud storage. The two suites both offer plenty of tools too.

Microsoft Word vs. Google Docs

Microsoft Word is a familiar, full-featured wordprocessor. It is designed for power and has been around for long enough for all of the kinks to get ironed out.

More recent versions of the software have collaborative capabilities that put it on a par with G Suite. There are also extra layers of security to protect your valuable data. 

If you’re looking for more of a minimalist app with collaboration at its core, then Google Docs is for you. The layout of Docs may be less familiar to you. 

Because there isn’t a native version of Google Docs, you do risk losing data integrity when it comes to moving between on-server Microsoft Word and the web-based Google Docs. 

Microsoft Excel vs. Google Sheets

When creating business spreadsheets, Excel is very robust. It provides advanced formatting and scripting elements that make it ideal for analyzing macros. It has the ability to run more complex programs from the Excel platform. 

Sheets is fantastic for keeping records of contacts or for doing basic equations. It also has a chat window that allows you to discuss any changes that are getting made in real-time. 

The app falls down when it comes to investigating data, business intelligence, and pivot tables as Sheets has far fewer capabilities in this regard. 

Microsoft PowerPoint vs. Google Slides

Microsoft PowerPoint is not only familiar to many users, but it is also dynamic. It is commonly used across a variety of industries.

PowerPoint provides formatting and style elements that are both dynamic and varied. There are a lot of great built-in templates. 

In addition, PowerPoint is fantastic and integrating with social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube. As soon as you have added video files to a presentation, you can use them in presentations offline. 

Slides is very similar to PowerPoint. It doesn’t have the same range of features or templates though. The app is straightforward to use, however, with fewer features, you have less creative freedom as you might do with PowerPoint. 

Slides has native YouTube integration. You will, however,  need to have an internet connection to be able to show any presentations that are embedded with web videos. 

Microsoft Office vs Google Suite Comparison

So, when it comes to Microsoft Office vs. G Suite, which one is right for you?

With power and a great legacy, it’s hard to beat Microsoft Office 365. If you’re looking for software that is stable, secure, and packed full of features, this is the option for you. 

If you would prefer something a bit more basic but that allows for smooth collaboration, then look no further than G Suite. 

Wherever you land on the Microsoft Office vs Google Suite debate, you’ll still have the occasional need to convert your files. 

Offdrive lets you do that quickly and easily. Why not try it for yourself today?

self-publish an ebook

Self-Publish an eBook: How to Create an ePub File

Approximately 80% of Americans want to publish a book in their lifetime, but so few actually do. Why? Yes, writing a book takes time and dedication, but publishing a book in the traditional way is very difficult too.

There are so many hoops to jump through to get a book published in hardback and paperback. But if you decide to self-publish an eBook instead, that is an easy process you could learn to do by yourself.

And to self-publish an eBook, you will need to turn it into an ePub file. This guide will explain everything you need to know about converting your eBook, no matter what format it’s in, to an ePub file.

What Is an ePub File?

An ePub file is a type of file format specifically made for eBooks. ePubs have the file extension .epub just like PDFs, for example, have the file extension .pdf.

Since its creation in 2007, it’s the most-used eBook file format for eReaders like Amazon’s Kindle, Kobo, and Nook. The latest smartphones are also able to open ePub files. If a smartphone isn’t compatible, an app like Universal Book Reader can open eBook files too.

Benefits of Using ePub Files

Though an ePub file is widely known in the digital publishing world to be the optimum file format for eBooks, many still might opt to format their eBook as a PDF or other more common document file types.

If you want to self-publish an eBook, there are several benefits to publishing it as an ePub instead of the alternatives.

ePubs Are Editable and Adaptable

A PDF file format, as an example, is more like digital paper. The images and words aren’t editable (at least not easily) which doesn’t make for an intuitive, adaptable document.

An ePub file is a zip file containing style sheets, images, words, and other interactive media. They are much easier to edit than other document file types which is possible through HTML coding.

ePubs also adapt and fit whatever type of screen they are displaying on. With other word documents, readers need to pinch and adapt each page to fit the screen, but ePubs are programmed to do this automatically. This helps authors create eBooks that flow exactly as they intended. 

ePubs Are Secure Files

Other word documents like PDF and DOC aren’t very secure. Especially DOC and DOCX, which anyone can edit! ePub files give authors more security over their copyrighted work as they aren’t easy to share.

They are DML protected which means users need permission before they can share the file.

Plus, ePubs are the standard file format for eBooks now. Publishers and users alike all have devices and eReaders that are compatible with ePub and not any other type of file. They expect a certain level of quality when reading eBooks so using a different file format may be detrimental to the user experience.

Creating an ePub File: Step-by-Step Guide

So, now you know why you should publish your eBook in an ePub file format! Here is how to create an ePub file from a different document file type.

Step 1: Identify Your Current File Type

Your current eBook format is likely either a DOCX, HTML, ODT, PAGES, PDF, RTF, or a TXT file. Offdrive has the capabilities to convert any of these file formats to an ePub file. 

Step 2: Go to Our Homepage

From the homepage, identify the “Document Conversion” section of the top menu. Click on the relevant conversion option. For the sake of this example, we’ll convert a PDF to an ePUB file.

Note that Offdrive has the means to convert many file types. So, if you also need to convert images, compressed folders, spreadsheets, and more then we offer the tools to do so. The most common conversions are also available directly on the homepage.

Step 3: Upload Your Current eBook File

Once you’ve clicked on the PDF to ePUB conversion option, the next webpage will ask you to select the file you want to convert. Click on the green browse button and search through your documents to locate your eBook file.

Once you’ve selected the eBook file, click open. The box next to the green browse button will now be filled with your eBook’s file name.

Step 4: Complete the CAPTCHA Test

As is common with many websites where there is an input of data, all users need to complete a CAPTCHA test. This is a security feature designed to stop malicious hacking attempts from uploading harmful software to the website.

Anyone should be able to complete these tests. In this instance, the CAPTCHA test is simply a tickbox you need to check next to the words “I’m not a robot.”

Step 5: Convert the File to an ePub File Format

Next, click the green button to convert the file. It may take some time to scan the file for viruses and to complete the conversion depending on the size of the file. In most cases, the process shouldn’t take longer than a few seconds.

Then, you can either convert more files or download the file you just converted. If you click the download button, you will need to save the newly converted file to your computer. This is so you don’t lose it and can reaccess and use the file.

You have now created an ePub file! The process is identical no matter which type of file format you would like to convert to an ePub file.

Self Publish an eBook Using the Right Files

This is everything you need to know to self-publish an eBook using the ePub file format. It’s a straightforward process and ultimately, self-publishing your own book is simpler and more accessible than the traditional publishing process.

Do you need to create and convert other documents into different file formats? Our website has the capabilities for most types of file conversions. Check out how to convert a PDF to a DOC file here.

gif vs png

GIF vs PNG Image Files: What’s the Difference?

In the internet age, the distribution of images is extremely common across all sites. Anyone who strives to be internet fluent should recognize the need to know how to share images.

Over the past few decades, there are two common formats for sharing, posting, sending, and creating images: GIFs and PNGs. Do you know t\how to work both of these essential file types?

Now let’s take a look at everything you need to know about GIFs and PNGs and their differences. Here is a rundown on GIF vs PNG, what they actually are, and their origins.

After that, we’ll answer the important question you have probably asked yourself: should I use a GIF or a PNG?

What Are GIFs?

Both terms are, of course, acronyms of more complicated words. GIF stands for Graphics Interchange Format. While GIFs are great for animation and short clips, they lack strong and convertible coloring at times.

GIFs are really the “old and trusty way” to share files over the internet. They convert extremely well across numerous formats. The Graphic Interchange Format was developed in 1987 and has had two eras of prosperity.

After losing some appeal due to newer and higher-quality options such as PNG in the early 2000s, GIFs have enjoyed a second life utilized heavily within social media apps like Twitter.

What Are PNGs?

Mimicking the rise of GIFs, PNGs are also a technological achievement and a great option for image files. Also known as Portable Network Graphics, PNGs became common just at the turn of the century around 1998-1999.

PNG has color and brightness management and is superior to GIFs in that area. The files compress up to 25 percent better when sent. PNGs are better for creating images from scratch.

Unfortunately, PNGs do not support animation as GIFs do. But the advanced color is evident with PNGs as it supports thousands of more shades than GIFs (less than 300 colors).

Overall, PNGs are a slightly newer method and are more-advanced than GIFs, but this means that they might not work as well for older images and links as GIFs do.

Similarities of GIF vs PNG

Both PNGs and GIFs have been designed in the internet age to better share images and information. Since they are both great options, their use across the internet is split. That means it is important to be able to convert images between the two formats.

These two image management systems both are used for about 25 percent of files sent over the internet. JPEGs also are significant and are used over 40 percent of the time, making most of the market one of these three.

You can identify both by checking the file extension at the end of a file name. It should be listed at the tail end after a period. GIFs are sometimes spelled as “.gfa” instead.

Uploading An Image Online

You may need to upload or send a GIF or PNG for numerous reasons. As an assignment for school or work, you might need images. Most of the websites on the internet have carefully orchestrated ways to insert both of these file types when they publish pages since images are so essential.

PNGs and GIFs are very commonly shared over social media sites for personal use. Or that could even be for business if you are a member of the media. Anything from linking a URL to an image on a homepage to sending a gif by text is manipulating these images.

Now that you know how PNGs and GIFs are similar and different you can decide which one is better to use. But actually, the answer is both. It completely depends on the situation, as some instances call for a GIF and some for use of a PNG.

What factors are at play when it comes to deciding whether to use a PNG or GIF?

When to Use a PNG

There are a ton of PNG benefits with any image type or situation. As covered above, PNGs offer many of the advantages of GIFs as well as improving on many of their aspects.

Use a PNG for most situations, especially when you need clear and sharp graphics. Unless animation is involved, feel secure always using PNG.

The best thing about PNGs is that they are nearly as small as GIFs but with all the added benefits of the color and picture still included.

When to Use a GIF

Once again, the question of animation use is a crucial factor in making this determination. Anytime you are using animation, or any moving image, you should use GIF not PNG to send or post a file.

Another time to use GIF is when you are dealing with limitations on the size of and space for the image. GIF files are smaller than PNG or even JPEG files.

But if you are asking yourself, “should I use a GIF?”, when any of these factors are at play, steer clear: a need for photo-quality images with a range of colors, or a need to edit the image after sending/posting. If you plan on printing the image later on, don’t use a GIF.

Converting a GIF to a PNG

You may be wondering how to convert between the two image file types. There are two ways: you can convert a file manually between the two, which can be tricky. You can do this within a Word document or Paintshop.

An easier way is to utilize one of the many online sites that can convert the file for you.

Now You Know

For anyone who is online a lot, it is in their best interest to know GIFs and PNGs and how they work. Perhaps most important is to understand the differences between GIF vs PNG and how to convert pictures between the two.

For more helpful articles on file conversion, check out the rest of our blog!