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How to compress an image

Sometimes you need to compress an image so that it does not take up too much bandwidth. The best tool for doing this is a professional image editing package such as Photoshop or "The Gimp".

MS Paint falls short here as it does not let you choose the level of compression for a .jpg. The Gimp and Photoshop do.

What is The Gimp? The Gimp

GIMP is the GNU Image Manipulation Program. It is a freely distributed piece of software for such tasks as photo retouching, image composition and image authoring. It can do almost anything that the commercial package "Photoshop" can do, but best of all, "The Gimp" is FREE. That's right, it is open source software that you can download for free and use immediately.

How To Do It:

  1. First, you must download and install "The Gimp". There are a number of sites where you can download it for free:
  2. Start the Gimp by clicking on the desktop icon or by finding it in your program list under the "Start" menu as shown below.
  3. Desktop icon for the Gimp
    Start menu icon for the Gimp

  4. Select the image you wish to compress...
  5. Save as

  6. Save it as the filetype you wish by typing in the file extension - you may also select the file type from the drop-down list by clicking on the plus sign as shown in the picture below. When you save it as a .jpg, you will see a dialog box that asks you Click the info icon to see more.
    Save as

    When you choose to save it as a .jpg, the Gimp automatically asks you about the compression level. Here you can see that it is set at 85. Save as

That's it!


What the Gimp User Interface Looks like:

The GIMP is just a bit confusing when you first begin to use it, as the user menu "floats" on your desktop and is not attached to the image. Whichever image is "on top" is the current image. The user menu will look like this:

Gimp Menu
The image you are working on will appear in a box like the one below. Once you load your image, you can choose which file extension to name it and simply save it with the new name. The Gimp automatically converts it.
Gimp Workspace

Compressing a jpg image is easy with the gimp, when you save an image as a jpg, a dialog appears which then asks you how much compression you would like to apply. This makes your image sizes smaller and easier to email or helps to conserve bandwidth and speeds loading time for your blog or webpage.

Where Can I learn more about "The Gimp"?

The Gimp's website has its own tutorials section for beginners, and there is even a basics section to that.

The Gimp

Some other Tutorial Sites:

Gimp Plugins and Add-ons:

You can get a large number of add-ons and plugins for the Gimp. Once you have mastered its basic functionality, you might be ready to try some advanced image editing/creation techniques. You can find many of them at either the website or on Sourceforge.