Ade Malsasa Akbar contact
Senior author, Open Source enthusiast.
Friday, July 31, 2020 at 18:55

In this tutorial you will learn to change format of photos with computer program GIMP. This means you can transform a picture from any format to JPEG, PNG, PSD, TIFF, BMP and many more. This includes making color photo into black and white too. Just like before, this tutorial also accompanied by a one minute video practicing it. Finally so you won't forget it, this tutorial is part of the GIMP for Authors the series. Enjoy editing!

Subscribe to UbuntuBuzz Telegram Channel to get article updates directly.


Digital pictures are stored in computers and cameras with certain formats namely
  • JPEG .jpg .jpeg - the most popular format, excels in storage size, doesn't support transparency.
  • PNG .png - second most popular format, excels in quality, supports transparency.
  • GIF .gif - Graphic Interchange Format, animated picture, can also used in still picture.
  • BMP .bmp - Microsoft Windows Bitmap, you may want to produce a bmp to make something in Windows or involved in game making.
  • ICO .ico - Microsoft Windows icon file, you found as disk drives logos and websites favicons.
  • PSD .psd - Adobe Photoshop native format file, 
  • XCF .xcf - GIMP native format file.
  • and read here for more.

(Same picture converted into several different formats: notice the file size between the original JPG and BMP, GIF, PNG, PSD, and XCF)

GIMP and Formats

GIMP can handle raster, vector, and container image formats. Its native file format is XCF. Mainly as raster editor, it can handle so many raster formats explained here and also support more rare formats by plugins. It can also read vector image format SVG and further export them to raster images. It also can read and write Adobe Photoshop native image format PSD.

Download Examples

Here are original and converted photos you can download to practice yourself.

(This photo is a wallpaper in Zorin OS by Jeremy Bishop stored in /usr/share/backgrounds)


  • Open any picture.
  • Go to menubar File > Export (Ctrl+Shift+E) > Export dialog appears.
  • Select destination folder.
  • Type the desired extension after the picture file name such as photo.png or photo.gif.
  • Click Export.
  • An additional dialog may appears to give you further settings such as compression and quality. Accept it anyway. 
  • Picture exported in the destination folder.
(Exporting – this is how we convert a photo from one format to another) 

Convert to XCF

Filename format is .xcf. This is the native format and can always be opened in GIMP.

Convert to PSD

Filename format is .psd. This can be opened later in Adobe Photoshop.

Convert to PNG

Filename format is .png. Generally big in size, this can be opened in any picture viewer.

Convert to JPEG

Filename format is either .jpg or .jpeg. Usually any picture file size goes smaller if converted to this format.

Convert to GIF

Filename format is .gif. This can be opened in any picture viewer and displayed on websites.

Convert to Grayscale

For any color photo for any format, go to menubar Image > Mode > Grayscale > photo turned into black and white.

To be continued...

This article is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.