JPEG File: How to Open and Convert

jpeg file logo JPEG file is the most common compressed image format. It was created by the Joint Photographic Experts Group. This file format supports 24-bit depth of color, which makes it the perfect choice for storing photos or large color images.

Besides photos, this format is quite often used in web development. JPEG allows different levels of compression and this is a great advantage. However, if the compression is too high, it will result in very poor image quality. Quite often, you will see files with JPG extension. The difference between JPG and JPEG files is just the name of the extension.

what is jpeg file

What is JPEG file?

So, what is a JPEG file? It is the file format that is most commonly used these days, especially for websites. The image that is saved in this format is actually compressed with the help of a special algorithm that breaks the image down into blocks of pixels. The highest ratio for compressing the image without losing much of its quality is up to 10:1 (but it depends on the settings you use).

JPEG files are not ‘lossless’, meaning that some blocks of information are lost during the compression. Every time you compress the same file, you are bound to lose even more data, which can give you an image of worse quality. However, if used reasonably, the JPEG image will have good quality and will be small in size. These files are what you will send via email, upload to your social media or blog. The impressive reduction of the file size while still retaining the quality have made this file format the standard for the majority of images you see online.

  • Allows to control the degree of compression
  • Reduced size
  • Universal
  • High-quality image with a small compression degree
  • Lossy compression
  • Doesn’t support transparency adjustment
  • Transitions may be lost or less smooth

The lack of transparency adjustment support is one of the disadvantages. The smaller the file size, the higher the degree of compression. The Joint Photographic Experts Group has announced that JPG and JPEG files are practically the same, with one letter difference only. Additionally, JFIF and JPE files are also within this extension family.

In different operating systems there will be different ways to open a JPEG file type. There are lots of programs that will be able to open such files, both pre-installed and 3rd-party ones. You can use Adobe Photoshop, Paint, Corel PaintShop, etc. just to name a few. You can also convert this file type to other popular formats.

How to Open a JPEG File?

Opening JPEG files is very easy. Every operating system has pre-installed programs that support the JPEG file format and there are also tons of other software.

Professional Software to Open a JPEG File

Adobe Photoshop. It is the most powerful graphics editing software at the moment and it will easily work with the files that have JPEG extension. With its help, you will be able to open, edit and save files in this format.

Adobe Illustrator. Even though Illustrator is a vector graphics editor, it can also work with JPEG files.

PaintShop Pro. This program offers extended support of JPEG file format, giving you more options to work with it. You can use PaintShop Pro to optimize the files and get maximum image quality with minimal file size.

Free Software to Open a JPEG File

Paint. With the help of MS Paint, you will be able to open any kind of JPEG files. You can also use it to do some simple editing, like cropping the image or combining several pictures in a bigger one. Since you can open only one file at a time, it is not very convenient.

Microsoft Windows Photo Viewer. This is a standard pre-installed photo viewer in Windows. It can open the images full-screen or show you their thumbnails.

Apple Preview. With this pre-installed macOS image viewer, you can open the JPEG images and also print them.

Open a JPEG File Online

Google Drive. This cloud storage can open JPEG images and lets you work with them on any device.

Apple Photos. This is the standard macOS software that can open JPEG files. If you have any RAW images on your Mac computer, Apple Photos will show you JPEG instead to help you save valuable storage space.

DropBox. Similarly, to Google Drive, Dropbox provides you with cloud storage for any kind of file, including JPEGs. You will be able to access these files from anywhere.

How to Convert a JPEG?

Many programs above will not only let you open the JPEG files but will also easily convert any image into a JPEG one and back. If, however, you only need to quickly convert a file without opening any programs, you can use the following websites and web applications.

XnConvert. XnConvert will work on any type of operating system and does batch converting as well. It supports all existing graphics formats and is very convenient to use.

Onlinejpgtools. It is a set of tools that you can use to work with your JPEG files. There is no hidden payment for any of the utilities and they are all very intuitive. Moreover, you can use them directly from your browser. All it takes is to upload your JPEG file and wait for the result.

File ZigZag. FileZigZag has a very simple and intuitive UI. You won’t have to try to figure out the settings, the whole converting procedure consists of four simple steps. You can save the final image to your device or upload it to cloud storage (Dropbox or Google Drive).


  • How are JPEG and JPG different?

The only real difference between JPG and JPEG extension is the letter “e”. When you work with these file formats, you don’t notice any differences. The reason why both of these file extensions are used is that older operating systems didn’t have file extensions that contained more than 3 letters, so the letter “e” was removed and JPEG became JPG. More recent versions of operating systems support file extensions that can contain more than 5 symbols.

  • How does the JPEG save space?

The algorithm used by JPEG compression takes 8x8 blocks of pixels and compares them to a linear combination of 64 patterns. Each block of pixels in these 64 patterns will be analyzed. If it has more data (the block will look like a chessboard), which is called frequency, the algorithm will have it decreased or removed. This is how the size is reduced.

  • When should you use a JPEG?

The best way to use JPEG file format is for photos or images with a lot of detail that will help mask all the imperfections you get due to compression. If there are lots of edges or curves, the JPEG image will not look good.

Ann Young

Hi there, I'm Ann Young - a professional blogger, read more