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File Format
Extension(s) .pict, .pct, .pic
MIME Type(s) image/x-pict, image/pict
PRONOM fmt/341, x-fmt/80
Wikidata ID Q2044200
Released 1984

PICT, or QuickDraw/PICT, is a graphics format native to Macintosh computers. It is associated with the QuickDraw API.

Though it is a vector format, it is often used as if it were a raster format. Many files contain just a single bitmap image.

PICT format is complicated and quirky. Although plenty of documentation about it exists, there does not appear to be any single source that provides a reasonably clear and complete specification.


Format details

When PICT is used as a standalone file format, the file usually starts with an unused 512-byte header, usually with all bytes set to 0. When PICT is embedded as a resource inside some other format, this header is usually not present.


A version 1 PICT file has (hex) bytes 11 01 at offset 522 (or 10 if there is no header), and should end with ff.

A version 2 PICT file has bytes 00 11 02 ff 0c 00 at offset 522 (or 10 if there is no header), and should end with 00 ff.

Application data

Custom application data can be stored in PICT files by using the "LongComment" opcode. Each comment has an integer that identifies its "kind".

Notable comment kinds:

  • 100 is an Application Comment (see below).
  • 220 is used for ICC profile data.
  • 498 appears to be related to Photoshop, though it might also be used for other things.

The "kind" does little to identify the application, or prevent collisions. A better way is to use kind 100, which has a standard way to include a 4-byte application signature.

Related formats



Sample files


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