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Learn bitmaps with online courses and programs

Images and graphics make up an important part of modern digital experiences and bitmaps are a foundational method of representing, storing, and sharing them digitally. Learn more about bitmaps with edX.

What is a bitmap?

A bitmap is a method of representing digital images, a ubiquitous component of today’s digital landscape. Also known as raster images, bitmap images represent pixels through an array, or “map”, of bits assigning each pixel a color. The number of bits allocated to individual pixels indicates how many colors that pixel can represent.

The number of possible color assignments is equal to: two ^ number of bits per pixel. So, if each pixel is represented by two bits, it can be assigned one of four different colors.Footnote 1

The potential applications for digital images are unbounded. They add color to web pages, capture treasured memories, and light up smartphones. Bitmap files allow users to store, edit, and share these digital images in high-resolution.Footnote 2

Beginner bitmap learners have likely already been exposed to some of the more popular bitmap-based formats, such as JPEG, GIF, and PNG files. For larger, more complex, or higher-quality images, the number of pixels in a bitmap image increases. Sophisticated digital cameras can produce bitmap photos with millions of pixels.Footnote 3

Bitmap | Introduction Image Description

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What you will learn in a bitmap class

Though bitmaps are all around us, manipulating these files can take practice and guidance. Online courses can be an accessible way to dive into the world of digital imagery with the oversight of computer science and bitmap experts. In a course about bitmap images, educators may answer questions such as: 

  • What is a bitmap?

  • What is a BMP file?

  • What are bitmaps used for? 

Learners can also explore topics related to the definition of bitmapping, the different bitmap file formats, how to use bitmap, and the best way to store a bitmap file.

Explore jobs that use bitmap file formats

Developers are likely to use bitmap image files at some point in their programming career. UX designers may interact with bitmap files as they add dynamic images to user interfaces.Footnote 4 Even photographers and photo editors may view and alter bitmap files on digital cameras or accessible bitmap software applications, including:

  • Adobe Photoshop

  • Microsoft Photos

  • Apple PhotosFootnote 5

edX offers a variety of educational pathways, including boot camps as well as bachelor's degree programs and also master’s degree programs, for learners interested in advancing their knowledge in a variety of subjects. Find the right course for you. 

How to use bitmaps as a developer

With only a basic understanding of coding, anyone can learn how to generate, edit, and share bitmap images as a developer. Known for their exquisite photo resolution and diverse color selections, bitmap files are best employed when developers need to present high-quality digital photos.

Photo editors who use software such as Adobe Photoshop will likely find bitmap files infinitely useful for retaining comprehensive detail and enabling precise pixel editing. Developers may also benefit from bitmap files’ easy sharing and compatibility with diverse browsers and applications.Footnote 6

If you are interested in adding new skills to your résumé, explore how online learning opportunities such as a coding boot camp or even a bachelor’s degree in computer science can help you build the expertise and experience you need to pursue roles in this field.