Jpeg Express

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Jpeg Express allows you to adjust the compression/quality ratio of a JPG or BMP image file while simultaneously previewing the picture quality and file size, enabling the user to achieve the best compromise between picture quality and file size.

Imagine that you’re working with large JPGs/BMPs that you want to scale down to a manageable size. The typical, quickest and easiest way to do this would be to save these images at a reduced quality setting, which will invariably make them smaller but will also adversely affect the way the images look.

Most of the time little 10%-20% reductions in JPG quality will decrease the file size significantly, and although in most cases the differences in the visuals is barely noticeable to the naked eye, you mostly cannot really make these decisions to reduce the picture quality without having an idea on how the resulting image will look in comparison to the original.

Jpeg Express is a program that is designed to quickly manipulate image quality through a slider and enable the user to (a) preview the resulting/desired file size, as well as the (b) see the difference this intervention makes, if any, with both the before and after versions of the image displayed side by side. Here are some notes on this program:

  • Quality: manipulate the image quality through a slider and see both the resulting file size and resulting image.
  • Image preview: Jpeg Express will display both the original and resulting image side by side before you commit and/or save. Each preview pane is 376×469 pixels and maximizing the program’s window strangely does not enlarge the preview pange. But the preview panes work and are quite effective.
  • Detail vs. entire image: for large images the preview will focus on a ’detail’ part in the upper left corner. You can opt to move the preview view to the center of the image or zoom in to preview the image in its entirety. (For large images, previewing a detail is really much more effective in gauging quality than the entire picture).
  • Predicted filesize: is prominently displayed under the preview pane.
  • Rotating the image: losslessly by 90 degrees is possible once you decide to process the image.
  • Displays free memory: not sure why this is there; guessing that it might come in handy if you are dealing with extremely large image files.
  • Supported formats: JPG (or Jpeg) and BMP.

Wish list: (or how this program can be even better).

  • Quality slider default is always set at 100%, even when the image you just opened is actually saved at a lower quality setting. It would be better if the slider defaulted to whatever quality setting the image was saved at. (This can have the effect of seeming as if the resulting image by default is larger than the source without any user intervention whatsover).
  • Goal setting: to allow the user to input their target size in KB and automatically adjust the quality slider accordingly.

The verdict: although I realize that some image viewing programs have this preview functionality and will show the predicted file size, some do not, and some do not do it very well (e.g. might not display large enough preview pane to make it an effective tool). If that is the case with your image viewer that you use then you will find Jpeg Express very useful.

I am featuring this program on Freewaregenius because even though it is rather basic/simple I always find that I go back to it over and over whenever I need to perform this function. Its simple, effective, and straightforward freeware… just the way I like it.

Version tested: 2.0

Compatibility: Windows 95, 98, XP, NT, Vista.

Go to the author’s page to get the latest version (approx 756K).