by Ken Trufitt - Professional Training Institute
A little-known fact is that Windows will generally work with RLE format files wherever it will work with BMP files. RLE files are essentially compressed bitmaps, where runs of the same coloured pixel are stored in the file as a colour and a count, rather than blindly storing the same colour over and over again. Thus RLE files can be significantly smaller than BMP files.
RLE files do not save you any memory, but they do save you disk space. You can, for example, convert all your Windows wallpaper files to RLE format to free up some disk space. To convert the files, you will need a program that can read BMP files and write RLE files — the shareware Paintshop Pro is a good choice for this. The format you want is RLE-4 for 16-colour bitmaps, and RLE-8 for 256-colour bitmaps.
Visual Basic objects that can display BMPs (in particular forms, pictures and
images) can load and display RLE files just fine. So you can convert that large
bitmap you use for a backdrop on your form to an RLE file and save some space
in the resulting EXE file.