JPG vs. JPEG: Useful Difference between JPEG vs. JPG

If you ever worked with digital images, even if that only included downloading a few pictures from the Internet, you must have seen that there exist a big variety of formats. Two of them look very similar, and these are JPG and JPEG. Is there a difference between them? And if there isn’t, why does one have one letter more than the other? Thankfully, these questions have simple and logical answers.

JPG vs. JPEG: Understanding the Basics

Key Takeaways

  • JPG and JPEG are essentially the same file format for storing digital images, with JPEG standing for Joint Photographic Experts Group, which created the standard.
  • The only difference is in the name; JPG was used in older versions of Windows which required a three-letter file extension, while JPEG is used on modern operating systems that accept file extensions with more than three letters.


JPG vs. JPEG: the Definition

What Does ‘JPEG’ Mean?

JPEG stands for Joint Photographic Experts Group, and this is an extension that first appeared in 1992. It is the file extension that is used by digital cameras and other devices that deal with photographs more often than any other.

This format lets us have absolutely stunning photographs full of color, and yet there is one significant drawback. It is that, since this file extension compresses the file, the photograph loses in quality and, the more you edit and resave it, the bigger the problem becomes. However, it sometimes cannot be noticed by an inexperienced eye. Professional photographers deal with this issue by working with RAW JPEG files and only saving the final image that they get, avoiding multiple savings in the process.

What Does ‘JPG’ Mean?

As for JPG, it’s absolutely the same file extension. JPG, the shorter version of the two terms, is a file extension used for compressing digital images.

We use the .jpg format because it uses a form of lossy compression, meaning it reduces the file size by selectively discarding data. This is particularly useful when we want to save space on our hard drives or share images quickly online. The compromise, however, is that some image quality is lost in the compression process.

Why does it have a slightly different name then?

The thing is, early versions of Windows only allowed the file names to have extensions that consisted of three letters. To solve this problem, JPEG was shortened and became JPG. Interestingly enough, since UNIX did not have this limitation, UNIX users didn’t switch to JPG and kept using the JPEG format.

At some point, Windows got rid of this limitation. However, so many people got used to the shorter name, that JPG still remains the most popular file extension.

Now, if you open and save a JPEG image in Adobe Photoshop or GIMP, it will be saved with the letters JPG at the end. And, if you for some reason prefer the longer JPEG, you can always change the extension without doing any harm to the file itself.

So, there’s completely no difference between JPEG and JPGJPG only existed because of a restriction that existed in previous versions of Windows, and today both of them can be used without any problems.

JPG vs. JPEG Examples

Example of JPG

  • After the photoshoot, the images were saved in JPG format for easy sharing.
  • Please convert the PNG files to JPG before uploading them to the website.
  • The camera settings can be adjusted to save pictures directly as JPG files.
  • To reduce the file size, you can compress the image and save it as a JPG.
  • Most of the graphics on the web are displayed as JPG because it’s a widely supported format.

Example of JPEG

  • The digital camera stores each photograph as a JPEG file by default.
  • If you need to print the image, make sure to save it in the highest quality JPEG format.
  • You can adjust the compression level when saving an image as a JPEG to balance quality and file size.
  • The website’s gallery is full of high-resolution JPEG images for visitors to view.
  • When sending the document, please attach the images as JPEG files to ensure compatibility.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between JPG and JPEG file formats?

The difference between JPG and JPEG formats is essentially non-existent. JPEG stands for Joint Photographic Experts Group, and it is the original name of the file format. The confusion arises from the early versions of Windows requiring a three-letter file extension, which resulted in the abbreviation ‘JPG’. In essence, JPG and JPEG are interchangeable and refer to the same file format.

How can I convert an image file to JPG or JPEG format?

To convert an image file to JPG or JPEG format, you can use image editing software like Adobe Photoshop, free online converters, or even built-in tools in your operating system like Microsoft Paint for Windows or Preview for macOS. It typically involves opening the file in the program and selecting ‘Save As’ to choose the JPG or JPEG format.

What are the advantages of using JPG or JPEG for digital images?

The advantages of using JPG or JPEG format for digital images include small file size, compatibility with virtually all image-viewing software, and customizable levels of compression which allow you to balance image quality with file size. This makes it ideal for sharing images on the web or via email.

Is there any quality loss when converting from HEIC to JPG?

Yes, there may be some quality loss when converting from High Efficiency Image Format (HEIC) to JPG because JPG uses lossy compression. This means that to decrease file size, some data is discarded, which can result in a decrease in image quality depending on the compression level chosen.

How do I change a JPEG to a PDF?

To change a JPEG to a PDF, you can use programs like Adobe Acrobat or an online converter. In many cases, you simply open the JPEG in the program and select the option to export or save as a PDF. This conversion is useful when you need to submit images as documents or combine multiple JPEGs into a single PDF file.

What are the best tools or methods to compress a JPEG image without losing quality?

The best tools or methods to compress a JPEG image without substantial quality loss include using desktop software like Adobe Photoshop, which allows for precise control over compression settings, or online tools that use smart lossy compression techniques. It’s also important to consider the balance between file size reduction and image quality to retain as much detail as possible.