How to Change the Format of a Picture

by Aurelio Locsin

Nearly any graphics program such as Photoshop can open picture files in one format and save them in another. But what if you can't spend the hundreds of dollars to buy such high-end programs? Free programs exist that do the same thing such as FastStone Image Viewer. While this example specifically focuses on that program, the procedures apply in general to all graphics programs.

Download, install and run FastStone Image Viewer. The program window appears. This window has three main parts. On the upper left is the "File" box, on the right is the "Picture" list and on the lower left is the "Preview" box.

In the "File" box, navigate to the picture you want to change. As with all Windows file browsers, double click on a folder to open it. The pictures within that folder appear in the "Picture" list.

Choose a picture from the "Picture" list by clicking it. A blue selection rectangle appears around it and a preview of the picture appears in the "Preview" box. Leaving your mouse on the picture reveals a pop-up with details such as dimensions and format.

Choose "Save As" from the "File" menu. The "Save As" dialog box appears. In the "Save As" drop-down menu, choose the format in which to save the picture.

Click the "Options" button to display the "File Format Options" dialog box. The available options differ depending on the format you selected.

Adjust the options as needed. For JPEG, you can define the file size by using the "Quality" slider; smaller numbers reduce the size and the quality. You can compare the effects of your options with an original picture on the left as they are applied to the picture on the right. Reducing quality to 10 reduces the file size from 3475 KB to 126 KB. Click the "OK" button to accept your changes.

If needed, choose the folder to save the changed picture, then enter a name for the picture. A thumbnail of the new file appears in the "Picture" list.

To inspect the new picture file, double click it in the "Picture" list. The picture enlarges to the size of the full screen. Press the "Esc" key to leave the full-screen view.

About the Author

Aurelio Locsin has been writing professionally since 1982. He published his first book in 1996 and is a frequent contributor to many online publications, specializing in consumer, business and technical topics. Locsin holds a Bachelor of Arts in scientific and technical communications from the University of Washington.