How to Convert Image File Formats
Sometimes, the image file you have isn’t the image format you need. For example, you can’t upload an AI format to Instagram and you can’t put a TIFF on your website. In either case, you need to convert the file to a format you can use.
First, let’s take a look at the major image file formats and the popular programs that open them. Some files can be converted without downloading new software to your computer, but a few file types need specific programs to be opened and converted.
Image File Types
|Image File Format||Full Name of File Format||Programs Using This File Format|
|PNG||Portable Network Graphics||Microsoft Windows Photos, Microsoft Paint, Adobe Photoshop, Web browsers|
|Portable Document Format||Adobe Viewer, Ghostscript, Xpdf, GPDF, Acrobat Reader|
|JPG||Joint Photographic Experts
|Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Suite, Apple Preview, Microsoft Windows Photos|
|Adobe Acrobat, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe InDesign, Adobe Photoshop, Ghostscript, GIMP, OpenOffice|
|AI||Adobe Illustrator File||Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Reader, Adobe Photoshop, Scribus, Inkscape|
|TIFF||Tagged Image File Format||Microsoft Windows Photos, Apple Preview, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, Picasa|
|SVG||Scalable Vector Graphics File||Adobe Photoshop, Apple Preview|
Are Free File Conversion Sites Safe?
When you look up how to convert one file to another file, you see dozens of sites that seem to be dedicated to converting file types—and they all seem to be free. These sites work by having you upload your file, running a program, and downloading the results.
Truthfully, the sites do seem to work, and they usually convert your files as promised. But are they safe? It depends on the site, but it’s probably not worth the risk. Using them could result in malware being downloaded to your computer. Or if the files you’re converting contain sensitive information, it could find itself in the hands of a stranger.
With that in mind, you’re safest if you convert file types using the programs that come with your computer, or other trusted programs that are commonly used with graphic design.
How to Convert JPG or PNG to PDF
If you need to convert your JPG or PNG to PDF, you don’t need to use some new or specific software you find online to do so. If you have a recent version of Microsoft Windows, you can convert these files with programs you already have. It’s possible (and easy) to convert image files like a PNG or a JPG to a PDF using software that comes with Windows 10.
On a PC:
- Go to the search bar in the lower left corner of your screen and type Turn Windows feature on or off in the space provided. Select Turn Windows features on or off and make sure Microsoft Print to PDF is checked.
- Open the image you want to convert to a PDF in your photo viewer of choice. Two examples are Paint or the Windows 10 Photo viewer application.
- Press Ctrl + P. These keystrokes will open the Print dialog box.
- Open the Printer box, select Microsoft Print to PDF, and then Print.
On a Mac:
It’s even easier to save a JPG or PNG image file as a PDF on a Mac. You don’t need to make sure any settings are turned on, like you do for Windows 10.
- Open the image you want to convert to a PDF with the Preview app on your Mac.
- Select File in the upper left-hand corner. Choose Export as PDF…
- Give your new file a name and save it wherever you’d like.
How to Convert PNG to JPG
When you’re looking to reduce file size or are trying to upload a photo to a program that only accepts JPGs, you need to turn a PNG into a JPG.
On a PC
There are a few ways to convert a PNG to a JPG in Windows 10. The easiest way is to use the program Paint.
- Open Paint and select File in the upper left corner.
- Select Open and find the picture you want to save as a JPG.
- Select File in the upper left corner again, and then Save as. From there, you’ll have the option to save as a JPG.
On a Mac
The process of turning a PNG into a JPG on a Mac is pretty similar to the process on Windows.
- Open the image you want to convert in Preview.
- Select File in the upper left-hand corner and then Duplicate. You can rename the file if you want, otherwise it will add the word “copy” to the original title.
- Close the window of that duplicate by selecting the red circle in the upper left corner of the duplicate. You’ll see a pop-up that says “Do you want to keep this new document?”
- Select the Save as box, and select the file type you want to convert your PNG to. You can save your new image as JPG, PNG, HEIC, PDF, or TIFF.
How to Convert TIFF to PNG
TIFF files are great for editing and storing images, but you can’t upload them as—is to the web. If you plan on using a file that’s currently a TIFF, you’ll need to convert it to a PNG or JPG.
On a PC
To convert a TIFF to a PNG in Windows 10, follow the steps you took to convert a PNG to JPG.
- Open your TIFF file in Paint
- Select File in the upper left corner and then Save as.
- Save as PNG or JPG.
On a Mac
The process for converting a TIFF to a PNG on a Mac is similar to the process on Windows.
- Open the file you want to convert in Preview.
- Open the File pull-down menu and select Export.
- Select the Format pull-down and then PNG or JPG.
- Select Save to convert to the new file type.
How to Convert EPS to JPG or PNG
Unfortunately, not all file types are easy to convert, or even view, without special programs. An EPS is one of those file types. Regardless of whether you’re using a Microsoft or Windows system, you’ll need a program like Photoshop, GIMP, or OpenOffice to open and convert your EPS to PNG or JPG.
- Open your file with your EPS program of choice. You might have to answer some questions about rendering when you first open the file. Select Import.
- Follow the normal procedure for saving or exporting files from your program. In this case, we want to select Export As…
- Choose your desired file type. In this case, we want either PNG or JPG. To do this, you may have to open Select File Type to find JPG.
This method of conversion will work for most file types. For example, you can use this method to convert a PNG to a JPG or a PSD to a Vector file such as SVG.
How to Convert AI to JPG or PNG
Like ESP files, you’re going to need a special program to convert and open AI files. AI literally stands for Adobe Illustrator File which makes it the recommended application for converting those files into JPGs and PNGs.
However, there are two open-source and free options available. Those are Inkscape and Scribus.
- Open the file you want to convert in your program of choice.
- Go to File and select Export, then Export As.
- Select JPEG or PNG depending on your desired file type.
- Choose how you want to save your artboards (checked or cleared).
- Choose color model and screen resolution under Options.
- Select OK to save your new JPG or PNG.
It’s always frustrating when the image file type you have isn’t right for certain purposes. Thankfully, converting image files is usually simple. If you follow the steps outlined above, you’ll have the file formats you need for your projects in no time.
If you decide to look for a new image, iStock has thousands of high-quality stock assets that are searchable by function, medium, and style that will be perfect for your next project.