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jStrip shrinks your JPEGs without reducing image quality

22 October 2012, Mike Williams

If you want to cut the size of your JPEG images then reducing their image quality setting (usually accessible in the Save dialog or your program settings) will usually deliver spectacular results – but it’s not the only option.

Just about every JPEG also contains additional information, beyond the core image data itself, which further increases its size. And so if you’re in a situation where every byte counts – as with JPEG web graphics, say – then it may be worth using jStrip to remove these unwanted extras for you.

The program can optionally delete comments, for instance, EXIF data, colour profiles, thumbnails and more. As well as carrying out more general cleanup tasks, for instance removing extra bytes at the beginning and end of the file, spaces between data blocks, and assorted other extras you most probably don’t need.

While this sounds impressive, it’s important to keep in mind that, with most images, eliminating every one of these makes hardly any difference at all (you might save 100 bytes, if you’re lucky).

The Options dialog allows you to decide exactly what jStrip will delete

There are occasional exceptions, though. We found a button on a website which jStrip managed to cut from 11,372 to 749 bytes, for instance, a 93.4% compression rate (and with no change in image quality).

And so, if you have several small JPEG graphics on a website, for instance, then it’s probably a good idea to at least check them with jStrip, just to see what the program can do for you.

To get started, launch the program, click File > Options > JPEG, and make sure it’s not deleting anything you care about. If you want to keep your EXIF tags, for instance, clear the “Remove EXIF data” checkbox.

Next, create a folder somewhere and copy your JPEGs to it. (JStrip overwrites your images with stripped versions, so you should always work with copies.)

Choose that folder within JStrip (close and restart the program if it’s not visible), click the Start button, and – that’s it. As there’s no reencoding involved here, no complex analysis of the image itself, jStrip is super-fast, reducing even hundreds of files in just a few seconds.

As we’ve mentioned, the results are generally nothing special. Our typical saving was a mere 50 bytes. Sometimes it can compact files by considerably more, though, and so it makes sense to let jStrip take a look at your web graphics, just to make sure they are the smallest possible size.

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