Convert Pictures for the Web

Knowing When to Use JPEG or GIF Format

If you are relatively new to website building and need to convert pictures for the web, you'll first need to understand the differences between using jpeg and gif formats.

Once you know the difference then you can choose the right format to suit your image, and keep your file sizes as small as possible to keep your website load times nice and quick.

Below is a quick comparison chart so you can best understand when to save an image as a gif, and when to chose a jpeg format.



Recommended For

Graphics, animation, illustrations

Photographs, or graphics with blending or fading colours

Type of Compression



File Size

Images can be saved as tiny files

File sizes usually larger than gifs, but good compression available


1-bit to 8-bit colour 256 colours (indexed colour)

24-bit colour millions of colours (RGB colour)


Used for animations, Small image size

Good colour retention and clarity, Excellent compression qualities allowing large images to be used, Easy compression process


Extra steps involved to compress images

Limited control over the compression process

What if You Save in the Wrong Format?

If you are trying to save a photographic image as a gif it will appear jagged and disjointed.

Similarly, if you try to save a graphic as a jpeg, again the image quality will be compromised, so it pays to understand which file format to use. 

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