In this GIMP Help article for beginners, I’ll be showing you how easy it is to save your compositions or images in GIMP as a JPEG.

The Problem

Let’s say, hypothetically, that you’ve just finished making edits to a photo you took with your camera, or you just finished designing a new graphic design composition. You now want to save your photo as a JPEG.

File Save JPEG GIMP Tutorial

The problem is, when you go to File>Save (shown in the photo above), you don’t have this option.

File Save Dialogue Box in GIMP 2019

You can only save it as one of GIMP’s native filetypes (usually something of the .XCF variety, which is the equivalent to Photoshop’s .PSD document but for GIMP), which you can see after the name of your file (denoted by the red arrow in the photo above) or by clicking on the “Select Filetype By Extension” dropdown (denoted by the blue arrow above – which reveals all the available filetypes you can save your composition as).

Given Filename Cannot be Used in GIMP

Additionally, if I manually try to add “.JPG” or “.JPEG” to the end of my filename (as I have done in the photo above, denoted by the red arrow) and then click “Save,” I get an error message stating “The given filename cannot be used for saving.”

The Solution

File Export to JPEG in GIMP Help Article

All you need to do is go to File>Export instead of File>Save. This change was made with the release of GIMP 2.10, when saving to filetypes such as JPEGs was moved from the Save menu to the Export menu. If you already exported the file previously, you can also go to File>Export As (right below the Export option).

Regardless of which one you choose to go with, this will bring up your “Export Image” dialogue (pictured below).

NOTE: If you have already saved your file before, or if your file is already a JPEG, you can go to File>Overwrite [Insert Filename Here] which will automatically overwrite your existing file with the updated file using the same file type (a.k.a. JPEG if your image is already a JPEG).

Export Image Dialogue for Saving to JPEG in GIMP

Once you have the Export Image dialogue open, you can rename your file to whatever you want to call it (I named mine Pink Hair). Just make sure you end the name in “.jpg” or “.jpeg” to save it as a JPEG (as demonstrated in the photo above – denoted by the red arrow).

Next, you can navigate your computer using the “Places” section (denoted by the blue arrow) to save your file in whatever location you want. Just click once on the disk location under the Places section (I went with my Data (D:) drive), and double-click on each folder you would like to save the file in (you can also click the “Create Folder” icon to create a brand-new folder – denoted by the green arrow in the photo above).  The location of each folder you enter will be shown near the top of the dialogue next to “Save in Folder.” For example, I will be saving this JPEG inside of the “GIMP Photos” folder on my computer.

Export Image as JPEG Dialogue GIMP Tutorial

Once you are ready to save your JPEG, click the “Export” button. This will bring up the “Export Image as JPEG” dialogue (pictured above).

The only thing I would worry about with this dialogue is the Quality slider (which I have outlined in green in the photo above). This feature allows you to increase or decrease the quality of your JPEG, between 0 and 100% quality. The lower the quality, the smaller the JPEG size will be, so keep this in mind when saving for the web vs. saving for print. I recommend saving between 60% and 80% for the web, and between 90% and 100% for print.

You can either click and drag the slider, use the up and down arrows, or type in a numerical value to set your quality.

Once you have set the desired quality, click “Export” once more to export the image as a JPEG (denoted by the red arrow in the image above).

That’s it! I hope you enjoyed this GIMP Help article. If you did, you can check out my other GIMP Help articles on various GIMP topics on my website, or watch any of my GIMP video tutorials. You can also enroll in any of my premium GIMP classes.