Saving Images as JPEGs in GIMP

The cross-platform image editor can save files in many formats

The native file format in GIMP is XCF, but it is only used for editing images within GIMP. When you finish working on your image, you convert it to a suitable standard format for use elsewhere. GIMP offers many standard formats. The one you choose depends on the type of image you create and how you intend to use it.

One option is to export your file as a JPEG, which is a popular format for saving photo images. One of the great things about the JPEG format is its ability to use compression to reduce file size, which can be convenient when you want to email a photo or send it via your cell phone. It should be noted, however, that the quality of JPEG images is typically reduced as compression is increased. Quality loss can be significant when high levels of compression are applied. This loss of quality is particularly apparent when someone zooms in on the image. 

If it's a JPEG file you need, the steps to save images as JPEGs in GIMP is straightforward. 

Save the Image

Gimp Export Menu Option
Ian Pullen

Go to the GIMP File menu and click on the Export option in the drop-down menu. Click on Select File Type to open the list of available file types. Scroll down the list and click on JPEG Image before clicking the Export button, which opens the Export Image as JPEG dialog box.

Save as JPEG Dialog

GIMP Screenshot
 Ian Pullen

The Quality slider in the Export Image as JPEG dialog box defaults to 90, but you can adjust this up or down to reduce or increase compression—while remembering that increasing compression reduces quality.

Clicking on the Show Preview in Image window check box displays the size of the JPEG using the current Quality settings. It may take a few moments for this figure to update after you adjust the slider. It is a preview of the image with the compression applied so you can ascertain whether the image quality is acceptable before you save the file.

Advanced Options

Gimp Advanced Export Image Settings
Ian Pullen

Click the arrow next to Advanced Options to view the advanced settings. Most users can leave these settings just as they are, but if your JPEG image is large, and you intend to use it on the web, clicking the Progressive check box causes the JPEG display more quickly online because it first displays a low-resolution image and then adds additional data to display the image at its full resolution. It is known as interlacing. It's used less often these days than in the past because internet speeds are so fast.

Other advanced options include an option to save a thumbnail of your file, a smoothing scale, and a subsampling option, among other less well-known options.