Browse Definitions:
Definition

format

Contributor(s): Jennifer Sobczynski

Also see file format.

1) A format (noun, pronounced FOHR-mat) is a preestablished layout for data. A computer program accepts data as input in a certain format, processes it, and provides it as output in the same or another format. All data is stored in some format with the expectation that it will be processed by a program that knows how to handle that format. Generically, data formats tend to fall into bitmaps (strings of 0s and 1s) that describe images or sound patterns (or both), text formats (in which usually each byte value is mapped to a character), and numeric data formats (used by spreadsheet and other database programs).

A hard disk or other storage device is also said to be formatted when its space has been organized and divided into pieces that can be controlled for convenient storage and access. For example, a hard disk may be formatted into areas called sectors, tracks, and clusters.

2) To format (verb) a document or file for printing or displaying is to add the necessary information to it so that the output device will know how to present the output.

3) To format (verb) a hard disk or diskette is to set up the space divisions on the medium and initiate a space allocation table that will know exactly how to reach each bit of data that may be stored there later.

This was last updated in September 2005

Start the conversation

Send me notifications when other members comment.

By submitting you agree to receive email from TechTarget and its partners. If you reside outside of the United States, you consent to having your personal data transferred to and processed in the United States. Privacy

Please create a username to comment.

-ADS BY GOOGLE

File Extensions and File Formats

Powered by:

SearchCompliance

  • internal audit (IA)

    An internal audit (IA) is an organizational initiative to monitor and analyze its own business operations in order to determine ...

  • pure risk (absolute risk)

    Pure risk, also called absolute risk, is a category of threat that is beyond human control and has only one possible outcome if ...

  • risk assessment

    Risk assessment is the identification of hazards that could negatively impact an organization's ability to conduct business.

SearchSecurity

  • phishing

    Phishing is a form of fraud in which an attacker masquerades as a reputable entity or person in email or other communication ...

  • vulnerability disclosure

    Vulnerability disclosure is the practice of publishing information about a computer security problem, and a type of policy that ...

  • incident response

    Incident response is an organized approach to addressing and managing the aftermath of a security breach or cyberattack, also ...

SearchHealthIT

SearchDisasterRecovery

  • business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR)

    Business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR) are closely related practices that describe an organization's preparation for ...

  • business continuity plan (BCP)

    A business continuity plan (BCP) is a document that consists of the critical information an organization needs to continue ...

  • call tree

    A call tree -- sometimes referred to as a phone tree -- is a telecommunications chain for notifying specific individuals of an ...

SearchStorage

  • flash memory

    Flash memory, also known as flash storage, is a type of nonvolatile memory that erases data in units called blocks.

  • NAND flash memory

    NAND flash memory is a type of nonvolatile storage technology that does not require power to retain data.

  • NOR flash memory

    NOR flash memory is one of two types of nonvolatile storage technologies.

SearchSolidStateStorage

  • hybrid hard disk drive (HDD)

    A hybrid hard disk drive is an electromechanical spinning hard disk that contains some amount of NAND Flash memory.

Close