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What Is a JPEG Compressor?

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  • Written By: Alex Newth
  • Edited By: Angela B.
  • Last Modified Date: 05 September 2016
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A Joint Photographic Experts Group (JPEG) file is a versatile image used for websites and desktop display, and a JPEG compressor is a tool that helps squeeze down the JPEG’s memory size. Along with pushing down the amount of memory such an image requires, a JPEG compressor may be able to perform some generic editing. Conversion features are common among JPEG compressors, so other images can be changed into the JPEG format. This program normally is able to maintain some of the original image’s quality but, if someone starts with a low-quality image or compresses the image too much, the JPEG may be blurry and full of artifacts.

The primary function of a JPEG compressor is to squeeze a JPEG image so less memory is needed to load and hold the image. This commonly is done by making the image smaller and reducing its dimensions. This also can be accomplished by increasing the pixel size or reducing quality, and this change often is unnoticeable if done correctly.

Most JPEG compressor programs are able to perform generic editing. This may include resizing the image, flipping or rotating it, and adding text. There are very few compressors that have advanced tools, such as those used for graphic design or illustrating, though there are some design program that happen to have a compression feature.

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While a JPEG compressor is made only to work with and compress JPEG images, there are many other common image files that are used for a multitude of purposes, such as for high-quality prints, small animations or Internet usage. The majority of these programs are able to compress and convert these files into JPEGs, but they rarely can compress the image and keep it in its original format. For example, this compressor usually can convert a graphics interchange format (GIF) into a JPEG and then compress it down, but it rarely can compress a GIF and keep it as a GIF.

If a JPEG is only somewhat compressed, then most people will not notice a difference in quality. When the image is compressed too far, the quality and pixel size degradation will become apparent. Artifacts, or large pixels, may show up in the JPEG, the image may become blurry and continued compression may turn the image into an amorphous blob of pixels and color. To prevent this, users should preview the JPEG compression before using the image on a website or printing it out.

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