What Is a JPEG and How Do You Convert to One?


There are five main digital image file types, which might seem like a manageable number to some and overly complex to others. And on top of those five, there are other lesser-used file types and new ones popping up all the time. 

While you’re asking “what is a JPEG?”, there are file formats like WEBP and GIF confusing other people too.

As technology progresses and how we use the internet changes, as does how we format and store our digital images. This is positive because image quality tends to improve and file sizes decrease, but some web platforms can’t update quick enough to display the new image file types.

This is why we sometimes need to convert files, and one of the most universal and accepted digital image formats to convert to is JPEG. 

In this guide, we’ll answer the question “what is a JPEG?” along with offering you simple ways to convert to JPEG from many different file types.

What Is a JPEG?

JPEG file types are formats for compressed images. All images you see on the internet will have been compressed into an image file format and JPEG is one of the most common and standardized types of digital image file format.

If an image is not compressed, it is in a RAW file format which can be extremely large and make websites run slowly. So while JPEG images aren’t as high quality as RAW format images, they are much smaller in size.

This is the pay off that photographers and website owners make to have a faster website. And often, the image is still of good quality.

What Is the Difference Between JPEG and JPG?

So now you know the answer to “what is a JPEG?”, we’ll uncover what the difference is between JPEG and JPG. 

Quite simply, there is no difference between a JPEG and JPG. They are the same file formats and are pronounced in the same way.

The reason why both exist goes back to earlier versions of Windows programs that required all file formats to have exactly three letters. No more, no less. But MAC and other operating systems could have more, so MAC used the .jpeg file extension instead of .jpg. 

Since the three-letter rule on Windows is no longer the case, both can be used interchangeably across different systems and computers.

There is no need to perform a JPG to JPEG conversion.

How to Convert a PDF to a JPEG

“A PDF is technically not an image file format, so can I convert it to JPEG?” Absolutely, you can!

PDF stands for “portable file document” and is usually used for documents that shouldn’t be edited. It’s useful for important documents that need to be shared, such as resumes or contracts.

PDFs are unique because they can either be image or text files depending on the content, though they are usually text. You might convert a PDF into a JPEG when the PDF is an infographic or poster that you want to post as an image on your website.

How you can convert a PDF into a JPEG will depend on your operating system. Choose the guide that works for you:

  • Convert to JPEG on a MAC – https://setapp.com/how-to/convert-pdf-to-jpg
  • Convert to JPEG on a Windows – https://smallpdf.com/blog/convert-pdf-to-jpg-windows-10
  • Convert to JPEG Online – https://www.adobe.com/uk/acrobat/online/pdf-to-jpg.html

How to Convert PNGs, TIFFs, and GIFs to JPEGs

At the top of this post, we explained that there are five main digital image file types. These are JPEGs, PNGs, TIFFs, GIFs, and RAW images. There are also lesser-used file types like bitmap. They all have slightly different purposes and work in slightly different ways, but they are all image formats.

Some websites and platforms can support some image formats and not others. This is why even though these file types are similar to JPEGS, you may still need to convert to JPEGs.

What Are PNGs, TIFFs, and GIFs?

PNGs are useful for graphic designers as they can support transparent backgrounds and offer lossless compression. TIFF is also useful for graphic designers and photo editors because they also don’t compress the image file. This is a useful file type if you are transferring or editing lots of images.

GIF files are slightly different because they are for small moving graphics that you often see on social media platforms like Twitter. They are heavily compressed and are good for small web graphics like advertisement banners.

Choose which converting guide works for you and your operating system:

  • Convert to JPEG on MAC – https://osxdaily.com/2010/01/24/convert-images-in-mac-os-x-jpg-to-gif-psd-to-jpg-gif-to-jpg-bmp-to-jpg-png-to-pdf-and-more/
  • Convert to JPEG on Windows – https://www.sleewee.com/convert-png-to-gif-for-free-how-to-convert-images-in-windows-10/
  • Convert to JPEG Online – https://onlineconvertfree.com/converter/images/

How to Convert a WebP to a JPEG

One of the lesser-used image file formats you should know about is WebP. It’s not a commonly used file format right now. However, it’s being developed by Google, and because Google runs the biggest image search engine it may become more common in the near future.

You might find that the images you download from Google Images are WebP image files. WebP offers both lossless and lossy compression.

Because it’s not a common file format (yet!), you may need to convert WebP images to JPEG with these conversion tips:

  • Convert to JPEG on MAC – https://itselectable.com/convert-webp-to-jpg/
  • Convert to JPEG on Windows – https://www.addictivetips.com/windows-tips/convert-webp-images-to-png-or-jpg-on-windows-10/
  • Convert to JPEG Online – https://image.online-convert.com/convert/webp-to-jpg

How to Convert RAW Images to JPEG

RAW images are a slightly different beast to other types of digital file format. They are unprocessed, uncompressed data from a digital camera. This is why the files are so large. It’s because they hold every piece of data taken from the camera.

This is the best type of file format for photographers and videographers to shoot in. But it’s definitely not the best format to use for displaying images on the web! And it’s also less straightforward to convert from RAW to any other image file format, including JPEG. Though it’s definitely possible!

For RAW to JPEG conversion, check out these guides:

  • Convert to JPEG on MAC – https://www.passfab.com/mac/how-to-convert-raw-photos-to-jpeg-on-mac.html
  • Convert to JPEG on Windows – https://itselectable.com/raw-to-jpeg-converter-windows/
  • Convert to JPEG Online – https://raw.pics.io/convert-raw-to-jpeg

Simple Ways to Convert Other File Types to JPEGs

Now you know what is a JPEG, you’ll be able to convert and display any image on your website or social media quickly and easily. 

If you have any other digital and technical questions, use our website’s search function to discover other helpful tips and guides.

Roman Markovich

My Name is Roman Markovich. I been IT professional for the last 10 years. I am was hoping to establish to help many users with OS errors. I hope you will enjoy our content.

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