Microsoft DirectDraw Surface (DDS) Reader/Writer

FME Format Type Identifier




Typical File Extensions


FME can read and write DDS raster data and textures.

A DDS (Microsoft DirectDraw Surface) file is a raster image saved in the DDS container format. DDS is a Microsoft format for storing data compressed with an S3 Texture Compression (S3TC) algorithm.

DDS files are often used to store textures.

DDS files store compressed and uncompressed pixel formats. Since files are compressed in the graphics card memory, they can be decompressed on-the-fly by the hardware. The files use lossy compression, which means you will lose detail and color information compared to the original texture.

DDS files are represented as three 8-bit bands (RGB) or four 8-bit bands (RGBA). RGB/A support depends on compression type of the source DDS file.

Writer options exist to control the compression method and quality of the output DDS files – this impacts both writing performance and file size.

DDS Product and System Requirements



Operating System


FME Desktop License

FME Server

FME Cloud





Available in all FME editions



64-bit: Yes




Available in all FME editions



64-bit: Yes



Reader Overview

FME considers a single DDS file to be a dataset.

The DDS file contains pixel data, and each pixel in the file is a point in a single FME raster feature.

Note: When reading a DDS file with DXT1/DXT1A compression, it is interpreted as RGB.

Writer Overview

FME considers a writer dataset to be a folder name. The DDS writer distinguishes duplicate output files by appending numbers to the filenames.

Writer-Level Format Parameters

The DDS writer supports additional options through the Microsoft DirectDraw Surface (DDS) Writer Feature Type Parameters

FME Raster Features

FME raster features represent raster data and use several concepts that are unlike those used in the handling of vector data. The topics below describe how FME processes raster data.

About FME Rasters Tiling and Mosaicking
Raster Properties Band Combining and Separating
Band Properties Band and Palette Selection
Palette Properties Raster Processing
Compression Raster versus Vector Features
Pyramiding Raster File Naming
Interleaving World Files
Interpretation and Data Type TAB Files
Palette Resolution  

DDS supports rasters with Red8, Green8, Blue8 bands, with an optional Alpha8 band. (Note that RGB/A support depends on compression type of the source DDS file.)

DDS files can only be created with square pixel dimensions.