How to optimize images

There are numerous ways to optimize images. If you own Photoshop you have an excellent tool already However, what if you don’t own Photoshop? I will show you how to optimize images with GIMP.

GIMP is free image manipulation software that is very comparable to Photoshop. As with any software, there is a learning curve to use the full functionality, but for optimizing images it is quite simple.

Programs needed:
Save for the Web

How to save an image for the web with GIMP

After installing GIMP and the Save for the Web plugin, start Gimp and wait for it to finish loading. Navigate to: File/Open and open the image file.

Optimize pictures with GIMP
Optimize pictures with GIMP

After you have edited your pictures…

Step 1

Choose File/Save for the Web.

save for the web

Step 2

A box will pop up where you need to select some options. I always save my image as a jpg. Make sure the jpg button is checked. Next make sure optimize and progressive is checked. As you check the boxes, notice the file size area directly under the picture updates to the new size. Go ahead, I know you want to do it; uncheck the progressive box and watch the file size get larger, check it again to see it get smaller.

options highlighted

When you are done checking the optimize and progressive boxes click the tab to the right directly above the word quality to move to the next area or you can use the quality adjustment slider to reduce the image size (and quality) but I recommend leaving it as is. Here is how to adjust the quality if you decide you need to:

options quality adjustment

I typically never touch this because if you’ll notice, it is already adjusted by default. However, you can play with this adjustment if you choose. Next is a picture of the quality adjusted to the extreme. Notice how pixilated the picture is.

options quality adjustment extreme

This wouldn’t make a good picture now would it? Nope, I just ignore the image quality setting and move to the next step.

 Step 3

Once the image is adjusted to your liking click the tab to the right directly above “quality” to move to the next area. This will bring you to the dimension adjustment area. In the “Resize” area make sure the small chain is connected. It will look like a figure 8 as shown here:

options highlighted2

Keeping this connected keeps the aspect ratio of the image. This is important to keep the picture from getting distorted out of shape. Choose a size you want the final picture to be. As shown in the previous picture, I chose 640 pixels wide. The height will automatically adjust as long as the chains links are not broken and look like an 8.

Click the save button.

Step 4

A screen will pop up asking for a location to save and a name for the file. Make sure when naming the file you do not change the .jpg in the filename. Click save after you have named the file and chosen a location. I always save my eBook covers as follows: BOOKNAMEkindlecover.jpg

final screen highlighted


Congratulations, you have saved your first image for the web! That wasn’t too hard was it? Naaa!

Ok, now that you know how easy it is to use Gimp to save and optimize your pictures I just know you’ll go and get a copy and use it. Remember, Gimp is as powerful as Photoshop so don’t be afraid to play around with it. There are numerous websites and YouTube videos that will help. To show you how powerful this program is, here are a few covers I have created with Gimp.

How do you optimize your images?