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DDS File Format Specification

File format .DDS
Developed by Microsoft
Category Raster Image file
Format Binary
Associated program Microsoft DirectX Texture Editor, NVIDIA Texture Tools etc.

What do you understand by DDS file format?

DirectDraw Surface(DDS) is file format developed by Microsoft for storing image data so that it can be easily rendered by a graphics processing unit (GPU). This file format improves the performance of an image heavy app because it doesn’t involve the CPU. DirectDraw Surface files can store different types of data; support layering and support mipmaps, cube maps, volume maps etc.

When Window 8.1 release, windows store apps use DDS files. The DDS format is a texture style in direct graphic processing systems introduced by Microsoft. After several generation of information of development, its texture feature becomes more and more plentiful. DDS format uses a lossy compression algorithm that isn’t ideal for regular modofication, it is optimized for computer video hardware, and DDS files are typically much smaller than PNGs. The DDS format is a 32 bit per pixel format that includes the alpha transparency information. A DDS file is an image format specially designed for Direct X applications and textures. It can also be used to store desktop backgrounds for the operating systems.

DDS Format

How to open DDS files?

  • STEP1: Select the DDA file, Right click the DDS.
  • STEP2: Now, choose "Open with" option & select default program.
  • STEP3: If default program option not available, then choose DDL Viewer Freeware, NVIDIA Texture Tools in the list of the program.
  • STEP4: Click Ok.

Note: If given software is not available on your PC, so you need to download from the internet and install it.

List of software that open DDS file

  • Microsoft DirectX Texture Editor
  • NVIDIA DDS Thumbnail Viewer
  • NVIDIA Texture Tools
  • DotPDN Paint.NET
  • DXTBmp
  • GIMP
  • DirectX

Game developer use DDS format

DDS Format

It is a common file format that game developers output. DDS stands for Microsoft DirectDraw Surface file format. DDS format stores textures s well as a lot of other information that is used in game for various reasons that are both technical and visual in nature. DDS is a file format, and the compression scheme is refered to asDirect X Texture Compression (DXTC). This file format specially designed for use in real time rendering application such as 3D games. It also allows you to store GPU specific compression formats. This format is very common in game industry.


In this article describe the concept of DDS format. This file format developed by Microsoft and this file format can store desktop backround. Also describe the DDS format specifications, software and ways to open DDS file.