Video formats
Zeiss LSM
Olympus VSI
Opera Flex
All I/O plugins

The TIFF file format is one of the most widely used formats in biosciences. Many commercial instruments write images using some flavor of TIFF. It is used in open source efforts as well; for example, the Open Microscopy Environment developed the OME-TIFF format as an open exchange standard for microscopy data.

ImageJ 1.x support

ImageJ 1.x (and therefore ImageJ2 in its default legacy mode) has built-in support for TIFF files via the File  ▶ Open... command.

You can also import TIFFs as virtual stacks via the File  ▶ Import  ▶ TIFF Virtual Stack... command.

  • Pro: The ImageJ 1.x TIFF reader is very fast.
  • Con: The ImageJ 1.x TIFF support is incomplete. Some valid baseline TIFF files will not open properly. In particular, TIFF files with out-of-order planes cannot be opened.


The Bio-Formats plugins offer a more complete TIFF importer, accessible via the File  ▶ Import  ▶ Bio-Formats command.

  • Pro: The Bio-Formats TIFF reader can handle many more varieties of TIFF.
  • Con: The Bio-Formats TIFF support is not as speedy as ImageJ1's TIFF reader.


The SCIFIO library, the I/O library of ImageJ2, imports TIFF files using code adapted from the Bio-Formats project. As such, it is similar to Bio-Formats in that it supports a wider variety of TIFFs, but is less performant than the ImageJ 1.x reader. SCIFIO is accessible via the File  ▶ Import  ▶ Image... command.