Difference between JPG and JPEG

Published on January 4, 2016

We use image files in our digital daily lives, but what’s with the jpg and jpeg file? Some people may not know it but they are essentially the same thing with simply a different file format, and so the question is ‘why the extra e’?



JPG is a file extension that is used interchangeably with jpeg. It stands for Joint Photographic Experts Group, a committee that created the standards JPEG, JPEG 2000, and JPEG XR for coding of still pictures. It is mostly used for lossy compression (Class of data encoding methods using inexact approximations to represent content). In other words, it is used to compress or reduce the file size for storage, handling, and transmitting. Files where lossy compression is mostly used include audios, videos, and images, especially for streaming or voice communications. Take note however, with reduced sized comes a tradeoff with its image having lesser quality at 10:1 ratio compression.

JPG compressions comparison


JPEG is also a file extension that stands for Joint Photographic Experts Group. Currently it is used quite a lot in today’s generation where again lossy compression is employed. As with the JPG, the degree of compression should be adjustable through the use of appropriate software. Although file size may be reduced, since JPEG is actually the same as JPG, the image quality will also be reduced.


Most users in the digital world don’t have a clue about the differences in the use of these two terms, and quite frankly it doesn’t matter that much. JPG was used in the past when operating systems like MS DOS could only handle or read an extension file of three characters. Today, with newer operating systems, JPEG is used to provide the more complete abbreviation of the term Joint Photographic Experts Group.

These file extensions JPG and JPEG are best used on photographs or realistic paintings with smooth variations of colors and tones. Reducing file size does have an impact on image quality, but when done accurately even the keenest of eyes will not be able to determine the differences of both images edited and unedited.

That being said, the sole purpose of the JPG and JPEG file extension is the capability of reducing the file size for easier data storage, transfers, and for faster web page browsing, simply because raw or uncompressed photos can take up huge amounts of space on your hard drive and may not be that ideal for your computer system.

Comparison Chart

Used in older operating systems (MS DOS)Used in current/newer operating systems (Windows 7, 8, 10)
Capability for a reduced file sizeCapability for a reduced file size
File size may alter image qualityFile size may alter image quality
Stands for Joint Photographic Experts GroupStands for Joint Photographic Experts Group
Other filename extensions include .jpe, .jfif, and .jifOther filename extensions include .jpe, .jfif, and .jif

JFIF is an image file format where exchanging JPEG files will comply with the JPEG interchange format standard. This will solve JIF’s limitations on simple JPEG encoded file interchange format, hence the term “JPEG/JFIF”. It is basically a format where it defines more details that are left unspecified by the JPEG.


Here is a simple video that describes how JPEG works