Trestle format

single-file pyramidal tiled TIFF, with non-standard metadata and overlaps; additional files contain more metadata and detailed overlap info
File extensions
OpenSlide vendor backend


Trestle slides are stored in single-file TIFF format. OpenSlide will detect a file as Trestle if:

  1. The file is TIFF.
  2. The TIFF Software tag starts with MedScan.
  3. The ImageDescription tag is present.
  4. All images are tiled.

Relevant TIFF tags

Tag Description
ImageDescription Stores some important key-value pairs, see below
Software Starts with “MedScan
XResolution, YResolution Seems to store microns-per-pixel (MPP), which may or may not take into account the correct objective power. Note that this is inverted from standard TIFF, which stores pixels-per-unit, not units-per-pixel.

Extra data stored in ImageDescription

The ImageDescription tag contains semicolon-delimited key-value pairs. A key-value pair is equals-delimited. We use the OverlapsXY and Background Color keys from the ImageDescription, and ignore the rest. All of these values are stored as properties starting with “trestle.”.

Key Description
Background Color Hex-encoded background color info, assumed to be in the format RRGGBB.
White Balance Hex-encoded white balance
Objective Power Reported objective power, often incorrect.
JPEG Quality The JPEG quality value.
OverlapsXY Overlaps, see below.

TIFF Image Directory Organization

The first image in the TIFF file is the full-resolution image. The subsequent images are assumed to be decreasingly sized reduced-resolution images.


The OverlapsXY pseudo-field encodes a list of tile overlap values as ASCII.

Example: “ 64 64 32 32 16 16” (note the initial space).

These values represent the standard overlaps between adjacent tiles in X and Y, in pixels. This example encodes 3 levels worth of overlaps. Further overlaps are assumed to have the value 0.

Individual tile overlaps may differ from the standard overlaps. These individual overlaps are recorded in .tif-Nb files adjacent to the .tif file, where N is the level number. OpenSlide does not read these files, though they have been partially decoded; see issue 21 for details.

Associated Images

the image with a filename extension of “.Full” (optional)

Known Properties

All data encoded in the ImageDescription TIFF field is represented as properties prefixed with “trestle.”.

copy of tiff.XResolution (note that this is a totally non-standard use of this TIFF tag)
copy of tiff.YResolution (note that this is a totally non-standard use of this TIFF tag)
normalized trestle.Objective Power

Test Data