What Is a JPG (JPEG) File?

How to open, edit, & convert JPG or JPEG files

What to Know

This article explains what JPG and JPEG files are and how they're different than other image formats, how to open one, and which programs can convert one to a different image format like SVG, GIF, or PNG.

What Is a JPG (JPEG) File?

A JPG or JPEG file (both pronounced "jay-peg") is an image file. While some JPG image files use the .JPG file extension and others use .JPEG, they are both the same type of file.

Some JPEG Image files use the .JPE file extension but that's not very common. JFIF files are JPEG File Interchange Format files that also use JPEG compression but aren't as popular as JPG files.

How to Open a JPG or JPEG File

JPG files are supported by all image viewers and editors. It's the most widely accepted image format.

You can open JPG files with your web browser, like Chrome or Firefox (drag local JPG files onto the browser window), and built-in Microsoft programs like the photo viewer and Paint application. If you're on a Mac, Apple Preview and Apple Photos can open the JPG file.

JPG Files
JPG Files.

JPG files are widely used because the compression algorithm significantly reduces the size of the file, which makes it ideal for sharing, storing, and displaying on websites. However, this JPG compression also reduces the quality of the image, which might be noticeable if it's highly compressed.

IrfanView, Adobe Photoshop, GIMP and basically any other program that views images, including online services like Google Drive, support JPG files, too.

Mobile devices provide support for opening JPG files as well, which means you can view them in your email and through text messages without needing a specific JPG viewing app.

Some websites and programs might not recognize an image as a JPEG Image file unless it has the proper file extension that the program is looking for. For example, some basic image editors and viewers will only open .JPG files and will not know that the .JPEG file you have is the same thing. In those instances, you can just rename the file to have the file extension that the program understands.

How to Convert a JPG or JPEG File

There are two main ways to convert JPG files. You can either use the image viewer/editor to save it to a new format (assuming that function is supported) or plug the JPG file into an image converter program.

For example, FileZigZag is an online JPG converter that can save the file to a number of other formats including PNG, TIF/TIFF, GIF, BMP, DPX, TGA, PCX, and YUV.

Another really simple option is Resizing.app, and there's a Chrome extension if you plan to perform lots of conversions. Output formats include PNG, TIFF, WEBP, and BMP.

You can even convert JPG files to an MS Word format like DOCX or DOC with Zamzar, which is like FileZigZag in that it converts the JPG file online. It also saves JPG to ICO, PS, PDF, and WEBP, among other formats.

If you just want to insert a JPG file into a Word document, you don't have to convert the file to an MS Word file format. In fact, a conversion like that doesn't make for a very well-formatted document. Instead, use Word's built-in "insert" option to plug the JPG directly into the document even if you already have text in there.

Open the JPG file in Microsoft Paint and use the File > Save as menu to convert it to BMP, DIB, PNG, TIFF, etc. The other JPG viewers and editors mentioned above support similar menu options and output file formats.

Using the Convertio website is one way to convert JPG to EPS if you want the image file to be in that format. If that doesn't work, you can try AConvert.com.

Still Can't Open the File?

Some file formats use file extensions that look like .JPG files but are in fact unrelated. Examples include JPR (JBuilder Project or Fugawi Projection), JPS (Stereo JPEG Image or Akeeba Backup Archive), and JPGW (JPEG World).

Is .JPG the Same as .JPEG?

So, is there any difference is between JPEG and JPG? The file formats are identical but one has an extra letter. Really...that's the only difference.

Both JPG and JPEG represent an image format supported by the Joint Photographic Experts Group and have the exact same meaning. The reason for the different file extensions has to do with early versions of Windows not accepting the longer extension.

Like HTM and HTML files, when the JPEG format was first introduced, the official file extension was JPEG (with four letters). However, Windows had a requirement at that time that all file extensions could not exceed three letters, which is why .JPG was used for the exact same format. Mac computers, however, didn't have such a limitation.

What happened was that both file extensions were used on both systems and then Windows changed their requirements to accept longer file extensions, but JPG was still being used. Therefore, both JPG and JPEG files circulated and continue to be created.

While both file extensions exist, the formats are the exact same and either can be renamed to the other without a loss in functionality.