JPG vs. JPEG: What’s the Difference?

If you have ever needed to upload an image online or save an image on your computer, then you have probably come across the two terms: jpg and jpeg. These two are some of the many types of image file extensions that always cause a bit of confusion for users who wonder what exactly the difference between them is. For website owners and graphic designers, understanding the different types of file extensions can make a whole lot of difference when optimizing your site for speed. On the other hand, if you are on the other side of the computer wondering why an image on some site you visited is taking too long to load, understanding the intricacies of the jpg vs jpeg debate could help explain why.

JPG vs. JPEG: Is there a difference?

Functionally, there is no difference between jpg and jpeg. Both are image file extensions that are used to reduce image sizes using the lossy compression method to help optimize loading speed when, say, those pictures are uploaded to a website.

As a graphic design professional, you already know that when you are trying to upload an image on a website, you will need to create a perfect balance between image quality and the site's loading speed. Put simply, a great image may not achieve the desired results if it takes forever to load when a site visitor wants to view it.

To increase the speed at which images load on a site, you will need to make a little compromise on the image's quality. Here's where JPEG and JPG come in. Both use the lossy compression method which reduces the size of the picture by about 50-75% with little perceptible decrease in image quality. When the image file size decreases, then the image will load faster, thus helping optimize the site's speed.

History of JPG and JPEG

You now know that image jpeg vs image jpg are simply the same thing with the only difference being the number of characters. To better understand what this means, here's a bit of the history of the two image file extensions.

JPEG is an acronym for Joint Photographic Experts Group. This is a group that helped create still picture coding standards including JPEG. JPEG, as a file compression algorithm, was created in 1992, even though the works started as early as 1986.

As the world continued to enjoy digital transformation in the 1980s, there was simply no way to transmit electronic images. You could send text or simple graphics with the help of online services such as Minitel, but you couldn't copy or share electronic images. Thus, the International Organization of Standards (ISO) brought together a team of image compression experts who formed JPEG and began work on making it possible to copy, share, and transmit images. This work came to fruition in 1992 when JPEG, the file compression algorithm, was born. With the emergence of the internet, this file format became a global standard as it could be used on all devices, and being open source, it could be improved to meet newer imaging standards.

However, there was a small problem with JPEG. Earlier versions of Windows OS only supported file extensions with up to three characters, while other operating systems like Mac and Linux could support four. Developers thus shortened JPEG to JPG to meet the 3-letter limit for Windows file extensions. Thus, aside from number of characters, JPEG and JPG are simply the same thing.

Imaging experts have continued to make improvements to JPEG, with newer versions like JPEG 2000 bringing better imaging quality with or without lossless compression. What this means when evaluating the JPG vs JPEG 2000 debate is that the latter brings better image quality. However, JPEG 2000 wasn't completely embraced as the industry felt that the improvements in quality were not worth the complexities of the newer version.


When it comes to editing images with the aim of reducing the file size, you want to work with a file extension that brings about very little loss in image quality. JPEG helps you do just that, resulting in files with very little perceptible loss in image quality while significantly reducing image size to optimize site speeds. If you are looking for an editing tool that lets you work on any platform while delivering excellent results, try the CorelDRAW Graphics Suite by downloading our free trial today.

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