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A growing community is constructing a next-generation file format (NGFF) for bioimaging to overcome problems of scalability and heterogeneity. Organized by the Open Microscopy Environment (OME), individuals and institutes across diverse modalities facing these problems have designed a format specification process (OME-NGFF) to address these needs. This paper brings together a wide range of those community members to describe the format itself – OME-Zarr – along with tools and data resources available today to increase FAIR access and remove barriers in the scientific process. The current momentum offers an opportunity to unify a key component of the bioimaging domain — the file format that underlies so many personal, institutional, and global data management and analysis tasks.