What is metafile? - Definition from WhatIs.com
Part of the Operating systems glossary:

A metafile is a file containing information that describes or specifies another file.

Microsoft uses this term for its Windows Metafile (WMF) format. A WMF file contains a sequence of graphical-device-interface (GDI) function calls ("commands" to the Windows operating system ) that results in the presentation of a graphic image. Some of the function calls are equivalent to vector graphics statements and others identify stored bitmap or literal specifications of which bits to illuminate ( raster graphics images). Using WMF files rather than already-built bitmaps saves space when many bitmaps are used repeatedly by different components of the operating system or of an application. The WMF file assumes a 16-bit operating system. Microsoft has an enhanced metafile (EMF) format for its 32-bit operating systems. Microsoft's clipboard (CLP) file can contain a WMF file, an EMF file, or a bitmap (BMP) format file.

Another example of a metafile is the Computer Graphics Metafile (CGM). The CGM file format is a standard ( American National Standards Institute -approved) format that can be used on any operating system that supports it (unlike the WMF format which is designed only for Windows). The CGM file is commonly used in CAD and presentation graphics applications.

In general, there are tools (such as HiJaak) that will convert the WMF, EMF, and CGM formats into other formats.

This was last updated in April 2005
Contributor(s): Catherine Werst
Posted by: Margaret Rouse

Related Terms


  • serverless backup

    - Serverless data backup removes backup procedures from production servers so that the time usually spent on backup functions can be used for other server tasks. (SearchDataBackup.com)

  • virtualization

    - Virtualization is the creation of a virtual version of something, with the goal of centralizing administrative tasks while improving scalability and workloads. (SearchServerVirtualization.com)

  • operating system (OS)

    - An operating system (sometimes abbreviated as "OS") is the program that, after being initially loaded into the computer by a boot program, manages all the other programs in a computer. (WhatIs.com)


  • Operating systems

    - Terms related to operating systems, including definitions about open source and proprietary operating systems and words and phrases about system programs, boot mechanisms, kernels, command interpre...

  • Internet applications

    - This WhatIs.com glossary contains terms related to Internet applications, including definitions about Software as a Service (SaaS) delivery models and words and phrases about web sites, e-commerce ...

Ask a Question. Find an Answer.Powered by ITKnowledgeExchange.com

Ask An IT Question

Get answers from your peers on your most technical challenges

Ask Question

Tech TalkComment



    Contribute to the conversation

    All fields are required. Comments will appear at the bottom of the article.