People can open Truevision Graphics Adapter (TGA) files with image editing programs such as Adobe Photoshop, Microsoft Paint, Adobe Illustrator, ACDSee Photo Manager and GIMP. The video and image viewer software Apple QuickTime and the Mac OS X file viewer application Preview can also open these files. Users who do not have these applications can use an image converter to change the file format to one an available application can open.
TGA files are also called Truevision Advanced Raster Graphics Adapter (TARGA) files, and the format was originally designed to be used with the high-end Targa and Vista graphics cards. AT&T EPICenter specified the file format in 1984, and the company Truevision eventually became responsible for the format after an employee buyout at AT&T.
The TGA format was intended to be used for images that could be used with video editing software and put on TV screens. Although it still has this use today, the format is presently used for real-time graphics in video games as well.
TGA files are raster image files that range from 8-bit to 32-bit, with the 32-bit specification having some transparency. The files can be compressed to avoid large file sizes; however, compression is best used only for simple images like icons.