PCX files can contain bitmaps at a variety of color depths: black and white, 4 color with a palette, 8 color with a palette, 16 color with a palette, 256 color with a palette, or 24 bit True Color.
The PCX format has gone through a number of revisions (closely tracking the evolution of PC graphics cards), and hence some older software may not be able to read newer PCX files. Additionally, there are a lot of options in the newer PCX format, so it is possible some software may not be able to handle particular variations.
PCX data is compressed using a Run-length Compression scheme.
A technical discussion of this format can be found in Chapter 4 of Graphics File Formats† by David C. Kay and John R. Levine.
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