What does JPEG mean? – A guide to file types

In this group I will be sharing many files with you so you can create with this wonderful artwork.

But sometimes it can be a little confusing to know what all the different file types mean. You might be wondering, “What does .ai mean? Do I need some kind of special type of software to open it?”

So I thought it might be helpful to put together a post explaining the types of files types I often share.

We also made a quick infographic you can use as a reference (you can right click on it to download it to your computer)!

Guide to File Types Infographic

If you’d like to learn more about each file type, keep reading!


1. AI

You can only edit AI file using Adobe Illustrator, a program often used by artists and graphic designers. Because of this, I don’t usually share AI files, but when I do I make sure to include a JPEG or PNG version of the image as well!

Most file types lose quality and get pixelated as you enlarge or compress them. But AI files can scale up or down infinitely, without losing quality.

As you can imagine, this is feature is very important for something that needs to resized often. For example, a logo might be just an inch long on a letterhead or as big as the side of company jet!


2. JPG

Most of the images I share on The Gilded Daisy’s Facebook page are JPGs.

JPGs, also known as JPEGs, are one of the most common file formats for digital photos. Most of the pictures you take on your camera or phone are JPGs.

You can open JPGs with many different programs. Chances are your computer already has a program or application to open and edit them!

JPGs are helpful because they can be compressed into really small files. This makes them perfect for sharing in emails or on websites.

But when you compress a JPG into a small file size, you might lose some image quality. Because of this, the photo can end up looking pixelated. Most of the time, however, this isn’t an issue and you can easily find a balance between file size and quality.


3. PNG

PNG is another file format for digital photos. It’s more commonly used for text-heavy images, logos, and icons.

Like JPGs, PNGs are a standard file type that can be opened with many different programs and apps.

Unlike JPGs, however, PNGs can be compressed without losing image quality.  But that means a larger file size when compared to JPEGs.

PNGs also support transparent backgrounds – making them great for layering images and logos.  I use PNG files when creating artwork in Pickmoney or Canva.

I use PNGs to share images that have a transparent background.


4. PDF

PDF is a common file format that’s great for sharing documents that contain both text and images.

You can open PDFs in a web browser such as Google Chrome or using Adobe Acrobat. If it’s not already installed on your computer, you can download it here.

PDFs make it possible to share formatted documents across many different computer systems. Using PDFs ensures that your document will display exactly as you intended on different monitors.

I sometimes use PDFs to share tutorials that contain images and text.


5. ZIP

ZIP files are used to share several documents together in a folder. For example, I use ZIP files to share several different image files together as one download.

This format compresses the file, making it easy for you to download a large file in a short amount of time.

You can easily create a ZIP file by right-clicking on a file or folder and selected “Compress” on a Mac or “Send to > Compressed/Zipped Folder” on a PC.

To open a ZIP file, you must “un-zip” it. You find more information on how to do this on a PC here and on a Mac here.



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