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Microsoft RIFF (Resource Interchange File Format) is a multimedia file format created by Microsoft for use with the Windows GUI. It is based on the Electronic Arts Interchange File Format (IFF) structure. RIFF itself does not define any new methods of storing data. Instead, RIFF defines a structured framework, which may contain existing data formats. Using this concept, you can create new, composite formats consisting of two or more existing file formats.

It is used to store audio, video, and graphics information used in multimedia applications.

Multimedia applications require the storage and management of a wide variety of data, including bitmaps, audio data, video data, and peripheral device control information. RIFF provides an excellent way to store all these varied types of data. The type of data a RIFF file contains is indicated by the file extension. Examples of data that may be stored in RIFF files are:

  • Audio/visual interleaved data (.AVI)
  • Waveform data (.WAV)
  • Bitmapped data (.RDI)
  • MIDI information (.RMI)
  • Color palette (.PAL)
  • Multimedia movie (.RMN)
  • Animated cursor (.ANI)
  • A bundle of other RIFF files (.BND)

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