A “JPG” or “JPEG” is a file extension used specifically for “lossy” graphics files and stands for “Joint Photographic Experts Group,” the group who created this standard. JPGs can exist as both Exif formats—most common in digital photography—as well as JFIF files, commonly used online. The extension JPG, specifically, signals the codec of a file or how that image is compressed into bytes and decompressed into a visual image again. One of the most universal image file types available, JPGs are favored because they can be opened on virtually any preview or editing software, including Microsoft Paint, Picture and Word, which come standard with most operating systems, as well as the Adobe creative suite, Windows Explorer and a host of web-based applications.
Beyond the universal ease of use, many people favor JPG files because the lossy compression process enables some file size reduction without sacrificing image quality. Some files, such as GIFs, can suffer severe image quality loss once the image is resized. Another benefit is that, unlike other file formats, JPG files use a relatively small amount of storage space, enabling users to better store and share images without any slow downs. From an editing and design perspective, JPGs offer a wide array of colors—16.7 million, in total—from the 256 tones included in each file. This ensures photos and other images are rich, vibrant and depict accurate colors and gradient, even after compression.
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