Windows Metafile

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  • Company: Microsoft
  • Extensions: wmf, emf, wmz, emz

Windows Metafile (WMF) is a graphics file format on Microsoft Windows systems, originally designed in the early 1990s and not commonly used after the rise of the World Wide Web and the widely used graphics formats such as GIF and JPEG. It is a vector graphics format which also allows the inclusion of raster graphics. Essentially, a WMF file stores a list of function calls that have to be issued to the Windows graphics layer GDI in order to restore the image. Since some GDI functions accept pointers to callback functions for error handling, a WMF file may include executable code. It is somewhat similar in purpose and design to the PostScript format used in the Unix world.

WMF is a 16-bit format introduced in Windows 3.0; a newer 32-bit version with additional commands is called Enhanced Metafile (EMF). EMF is also used as a graphics language for printer drivers.

There are also compressed versions of Windows Metafiles known as Compressed Windows Metafile (WMZ) & Compressed Windows Enhanced Metafile (EMZ).

EMZ is gzipped EMF.