How to compress a JPEG file

How to compress a JPEG file
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JPEG images are commonly used in emails, websites and online stores. You may need to compress a JPEG file to save space on your storage, to add multiple images to your emails or to make your website load quickly.

There are several ways to compress JPEG files:

  1. Using online JPEG compression tools
  2. Using Photo or Preview tools (depending on what computer you use)
  3. Using third-party image editing tools

Lets go through each of them step by step

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Compress a JPEG image using online tools

Most of the time, reducing a JPEG file size is an urgent task that an email or website requires. For such cases, one of the easiest and quickest ways to compress a JPEG file is to use an online JPEG compression tool like TinyIMG.

The free online compression tool is perfect for small jobs. Here are the steps to making jpg files smaller:

1. Open the TinyIMG website on your browser

online jpeg compressor page

2. Open your file explorer window and drag and drop your image files into the box where you are prompted to drop your files. On the free to use online compression version of TinyIMG, you can compress up to 10 JPEG files simultaneously, each at a max size of 3MB.

dropping four jpeg files into online image compressor

3. Download the compressed JPEG files, and on the screen you can see the difference in sizes before you download them.

rezult of jpeg image compression and a download button

In case you're not tied to the JPG format, you can also convert JPG to WebP and enjoy the reduced size and high image quality.

Compress a JPEG file on Windows PC

Here are easy steps to compress a JPEG file on a Windows PC without needing extra software:

1. Choose the image you wish to compress and double click it to open it in Windows Photo by default. Alternatively, you can right-click and choose Open With > Photos

use a double click or right-click menu to open your jpeg image in windows photos

2. You will notice three dots at the top-right side of the Windows Photo window ". . .". Click on the Three dots("…") > Resize

use the resize menu in windows photos to compress the jpeg image

3. Choose the custom dimensions (C) setting to lower the image quality and reduce the file size without changing the image size

to compress a jpeg in photos change the image quality

4. Once you have chosen the desired outcome, decide on the filename and save the JPEG file in the location you want

image size comparison of original and compressed jpeg files side by side on windows pc

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Compress a JPEG on Mac

If you use a Mac OS, here are the steps to follow to compress a JPEG file:

1. Choose the image that you want to compress and open it. The image automatically opens in Mac preview. If it does not open in Mac preview, right-click on the image and choose Open With > Preview

screenshot of opening a jpeg image to compress on mac in preview via right-click menu

2. Once you have opened the file, choose File > Export

to compress a jpeg image in preview on mac go to export menu

3. The Mac explorer window will appear to choose where you want to save the reduced JPEG file. You can also select a different file name for the new image in the same window

screenshot of export window in mac preview

4. In the same window, choose Format > JPEG. Slide the bar found under Quality to the desired level of compression. You will see how much the file size is reduced at the chosen quality

Slide the bar found under Quality to the desired level of compression

5. Click Save

A screenshot of the image file, before and after compression

Compress a JPEG with image editing tools

Several users prefer using image editing tools such as Photoshop or GIMP on their computers. However, while GIMP is freeware, Photoshop is a paid application. While you need some time and new skills to manipulate images on both the software, the steps to reduce file size are similar and easy.

1. Open the Image of your choice in Photoshop or GIMP

2. In Photoshop, select File > Save for Web & Devices, then choose the File type and Adjust the quality

3. In GIMP, select File > Save As > Save as JPEG > Adjust the Quality

4. Choose the location where the new file should be saved

5. Type the name of the new file and click Save

How does compressing a JPEG file work?

Compression is one of the ways to reduce a JPEG file size. When you compress a JPEG file, the MB size of the image is reduced. JPEG compression works by breaking up the image into smaller pieces of similar colours and removing any metadata attached to the images.

In general, there are two kinds of file compression formats; lossy and lossless.

- Lossy Compression File Types: JPEG and GIF (Used for web & emails)

- Lossless Compression File Types: RAW, BMP, & PNG (Used for printing & designing)

A lossy compression format is when the quality of the image is compromised to provide a smaller MB size. A lossless compression format like PNG, PSD, SVG, TIFF, etc., provides high-quality images, and their file size is massive. While a lossless compression format may be tempting to keep, it is usually needed only for printing or designing. A JPEG file is a lossy compression format but the most commonly used image type for web images.

Frequently asked questions

Yes, compressing a JPEG reduces the quality of the image. However, with some of the tools you can choose the level of compression to keep the optimal image quality.

In Paint, you cannot “compress” the size of an image. Instead, you can only modify the dimensions or crop the image. Here are the steps to modify the dimensions and crop a JPEG file in Paint:
1. Open Microsoft Paint
2. Choose the image you want to modify
3. Use the resize button to modify the dimensions of the image. Alternatively, use the select button to select the portion of the image you want to keep and crop the rest

When you compress a JPEG file, it removes the metadata from the image file and smartly groups the image components. This process enables the image size to be reduced without changing the image's dimensions.

About the author
Gillian Jane Mercylin
Gillian is a versatile digital specialist who has managed and consulted for innovative businesses, globally. She is a digital design, marketing, advertising and SEO specialist. Yes! She is a cluster of creativeness with unrivaled knowledge and deep rooted understanding in the digital industry. When she writes, she does so with passion to share her knowledge with those who can benefit from it.