To many people, file types seem like nothing more than a spilled bag of Scrabble tiles.
Yet all those letters appended to the end of a file do hold meaning. The PNG file format, for example, is a popular type of image format used across the web. But what happens when you want to convert one file type to another?
Here’s how to convert to and from a PNG file.
What Is a PNG File?
In simple terms, a PNG is a type of image file. PNG is short for Portable Network Graphics and came about as a non-patented alternative to GIF files.
The PNG format boasts a few key features. It’s a lossless format, which means that it doesn’t lose any of the original data when saved and compressed. It also supports transparency channels, and its non-patented nature ensures there aren’t any tricky legal issues surrounding the format.
Like all formats, PNG has its advantages and disadvantages, which means you’ll sometimes want to convert your PNG to another format or vice versa.
Converting Between JPG and PNG
Converting between a PNG and a JPG is often quite simple. Many image editor programs allow you to save in a different format, effectively converting the file. Alternatively, you could use a JPG to PNG online converter.
This means it’s easy to switch between the different file formats as required. Take care when converting from PNG to JPG, though. JPG isn’t a lossless format, which means you could permanently degrade the file’s data.
When using an image editor to convert between a JPG and PNG, you can usually change the format as part of saving the file. Most image editor apps provide a wide range of file types you can use for images.
Why Convert Between PNG and JPG?
Converting between PNG and JPG is common, as both are widely used image formats online.
If you’re converting to PNG, it’s probably to save the image in a lossless format or to allow you to apply transparency layers. When you save an image as a PNG, it keeps all the existing data even when compressing the file size.
If you’re converting from a PNG to a JPG, it’s likely you’re aiming for a smaller file size, though you’ll potentially lose some image quality.
Many sites use JPG files by default and will convert uploaded images into JPG format as part of the upload process. Instagram is a good example of this in action. Sites do this because the JPG’s small file size helps to reduce loading times and save server space.
Converting Your PNG File the Right Way
Whatever you need it for, converting your PNG file the right way is important to maintain the original data and ensure it’s a good fit for what you’re trying to achieve. With this guide, you should have a better idea of when to use a PNG and how to convert between PNG and other formats.