How to Convert Image File Types

While you are working on a web project, whether it is a website, a web application or a graphic design project, you will most probably be making use of different types of images such as JPEG, PNG, GIF and others. You should first know that each image file format is designed for a specific use and prepare your image files accordingly.

For example, JPEG images are intended to be used for photographic type of images with lots of colors, gradients and complex shapes such as a real-life photo. PNG images are intended to be used for plain type of images with less colors and simple shapes such as graphs, charts or screenshots. PNG images can also have transparency, which makes them a good choice for web page elements such as icons, buttons and so on. GIF images are mostly used for illustrations and animated images.

How to Convert Image File Types - 1

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Sometimes, you may receive an image that is created or saved in a format that is not suitable for the project you are working on. In such cases, you will need to convert the image file to another image format and I will show how you can do that in a number of ways below.

Image File Extensions and MIME Types

Before we start with the image conversions, a brief talk about image file extensions and MIME types will be handy.

Every file, including image files, are saved on a system with an appropriate file extension like .jpeg, .png or .gif. Though you can freely change the file extension by simply renaming the file, it doesn't really change the file's original type, which is defined by its MIME type. For example, if you rename an image file like image.jpg to image.png, even though its extension is changed, the image MIME type is not changed, hence the image file (image.png) is still a JPEG file.

You can see a list of image MIME types for the most common image file types below:

Image MIME Type
JPG or JPEG image/jpeg
PNG image/png
GIF image/gif

Now that we made clarification about image file extensions and MIME types, we can continue with the conversion.

Convert Image Files with Free Desktop Software

The first option you have for converting image files is to use a desktop software such as MS Paint for Windows or Paintbrush for Mac. If you need additional image editing features, you can also use free image editing tools such as GIMP or Paint.NET.

Simply open your image in your image editing tool and save it as the image file type you want to convert it to.

Online Image Conversion Tools

There are a number of free online image conversion tools that you can use to quickly convert your image files. The advantage of these tools are that they are available via a web browser independent of which platform and operating system you are working on. Here are a couple links you can try:

- Online-Convert Image Converter
- Online-Utility Image Converter
- Online Image Tools

If you need more features other than basic conversion, you can check free online image editing programs as well.

Web Browser Extensions to Convert Images

Lastly, you can use browser extensions to convert your images. For example, if you are on Google Chrome, you can use the free Online Image Converter extension. You can also check our Chrome extensions for web designers post to find even more useful extensions to help you in your projects.

How you convert your image files is up to you, but make sure to use the correct image file formats in your projects for the best display on various screens.

I hope that you found this tutorial to be helpful, if you would like to add another image conversion method, please let me know and don't forget to share this post :)

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