JPEG: The Ultimate Guide to JPEG File Formats

You’ve probably heard of the JPEG file format before. It is one of the most popular ones out there. It’s important to understand its potential advantages and drawbacks, together with how you open it. With increased familiarity of this file format comes ease of use, especially when carrying out essential or time-crucial tasks. Let’s break JPEGs down to understand this file format better.

What is a JPEG file?

JPEG is an acronym that stands for Joint Photographic Experts Group. It’s widely appreciated because it’s easy to download and offers reasonably high image quality.  JPEG files are typically compressed to keep their sizes manageable; however, this lowers the image’s resolution to some degree. The image data is said to be lossy as it shows the loss in file quality.

A JPEG’s compression capability is one of its best features as it can be widely used across computers, mobile devices, and on the internet. Sharing these files is efficient and easy. Saving multiple files also takes up little storage space.

Images that have been compressed using the JPEG compression algorithm commonly use the .jpg and .jpeg extensions. These two are the same, although old DOS systems used .jpg as they have a 3-character limit on extensions. Modern systems use both.

Are JPEG files dangerous?

You’ve probably heard that JPEG files are incapable of containing viruses. This is a bit of a misconception. They can hide viruses. Yet, for the virus to run rampant, it first needs to be run or executed. As a JPEG is an image file, the virus won’t be activated until the processing of the image is done.

A JPEG or any other image file type can contain additional bits of data that don’t affect how the image appears. This extra data could be code that’s been encrypted to make it difficult to identify. However, an image like that can’t do a lot by itself.

This is why most malware creators break up their program into several pieces distributing them individually to avoid detection. In such a situation, the hidden information could house instructions that are complementary to other pieces of malware in your PC or laptop.

Some black hat hackers manipulate pixels, replacing them with malicious code through ads on websites and other banner ads. To keep your system clean, ensure you have an antimalware product installed and regularly update it.

How to open a JPEG file

As the JPEG is the most accepted image format, it’s subject to being opened by most image viewers, browsers, and editors. You can open a JPEG image using factory Microsoft programs such as Paint and Photo Viewer. Mac users can open these files using Apple Photos and Apple Preview. When using web browsers like Firefox or Chrome on your laptop or PC, simply drag the local JPEG file onto your browser window. Intermediate to expert content creators will not be using these pedestrian apps to open these files, but rather complex image editors, like the powerful but flexible, Gravit Designer. When using Gravit Designer, you’ll see there are a few possible ways to add images to your file. Some of these can be found on the app’s toolbar.

Place image

This is one of those methods that have a home on the toolbar. Simply access File > Import > Place image. Using this tool, you can import a file from your computer and place it on your canvas.

Link image

We use this method to link an instance of the image to its original file. As it is derived from the master copy, it’ll reflect any changes made on the master file. Go to File > Import > Link image.

Insert via clipboard

You can paste an image file that’s been copied onto the clipboard. You can use the following commands to do this Paste (⌘/CTRL + V), Paste in place (⌘/CTRL + ⇧/SHIFT+V), Paste Inside Selection (⌘/CTRL + ⇧/SHIFT + ⌥/ALT + V), or Paste here (context menu).
  • Opening images in a new document using this app is as easy as (⌘/CTRL + O)


There are many image file formats out there in addition to JPEG. We have TIFF, Bitmap, GIF, and PNG, among others. If you’re serious about pursuing image creation to its zenith or to a professional level, you’ll need Gravit Designer. With our fully-fledged graphic design app, you can fully utilize all the tools at your disposal to create illustrations, layouts, and logos.

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