The OME-TIFF format

The OME-TIFF format was created to maximize the respective strengths of OME-XML and TIFF. It takes advantage of the rich metadata defined in OME-XML while retaining the pixels in multi-page TIFF format for compatibility with many more applications.


An OME-TIFF dataset has the following characteristics:

  1. Image planes are stored within one multi-page TIFF file, or across multiple TIFF files. Any image organization is feasible.
  2. A complete OME-XML metadata block describing the dataset is embedded in each TIFF file’s header. Thus, even if some of the TIFF files in a dataset are misplaced, the metadata remains intact.
  3. The OME-XML metadata block may contain anything allowed in a standard OME-XML file.
  4. OME-TIFF uses the standard TIFF mechanism for storing one or more image planes in each of the constituent files, instead of encoding pixels as base64 chunks within the XML. Since TIFF is an image format, it makes sense to only use OME-TIFF as opposed to OME-XML, when there is at least one image plane.

Public image repositories allowing image downloads as OME-TIFF

For detailed technical information on OME-TIFF, see the OME-TIFF specification.

There is further information about Extracting, processing and validating OME-XML available.

We also have some example code in Java for extracting and modifying TIFF comments and converting other file formats to OME-TIFF.

Lastly, some OME-TIFF sample data is available for download, along with statistics comparing OME-TIFF and OME-XML with various types of compression.