What is WebP? Why is WebP important? How to convert WebP to jpg, png?

Table of contents

What is WebP?

WebP is an image format that delivers both lossy and lossless compression. It was developed by Google and was first announced in September 2010. WebP was developed to reduce the size of online photos. It generates smaller images for the same quality or higher in quality for the same size than other standard image formats such as JPEG, PNG, and GIF. Starting from its first announcement Google is continuously developing new features, and it’s becoming accepted on more and more platforms. Currently, WebP is supported by 96% of the web browsers worldwide and is on track to be the new default web image format.

Why is WebP important?

Image size plays a vital role in the speed and performance of a website. It is essential for mobile devices, where smaller images save bandwidth and battery life. The lighter your files, the easier it will be for the server to load your site. So it’s essential to make sure that you’re choosing the best image file formats that provide good quality images but require less disk space. Let’s compare JPG and PNG, two popular image formats. JPG reduces file size by sacrificing quality, and PNG creates quality images which result in a larger file size. So web admins need a solution to create small files without losing significant quality.

Web admins and web designers can make smaller and quality images in WebP that make the web speedy. According to Google, WebP lossless images are 26% less in size than PNGs, and WebP lossy images are 25-34% less than equivalent JPEG images at equivalent SSIM quality index.


WebP Compression Techniques

Lossy WebP compression utilises predictive coding to encode an image. Predictive coding uses the values in neighbouring blocks of pixels to predict the values in a block and then encodes only the difference. It’s the same methodology used by the VP8 video codec for predicting (video) frames. VP8 is based on block prediction, and like any block-based codec, VP8 divides the frame into smaller macroblocks segments. The encoder can predict redundant motion and colour information within each macroblock based on previously processed blocks. The image frame is “key” because it only uses the pixels already decoded in the immediate spatial neighbourhood of each of the macroblocks and tries to inpaint the unknown part of them. This is called predictive coding.

Lossless WebP compression utilises already seen image segments to rebuild new pixels exactly. It can also use a local palette if no interesting match is found. The WebP-lossless encoding is established on recasting the image using several other techniques. Then, entropy coding is executed on the transform parameters and transformed image data. The recasts involved in the image contain a spatial prediction of pixels, colour space transform, utilising locally emerging palettes, compacting multiple pixels into one pixel, and alpha replacement.


How to open a WebP image file?

Although the WebP image format is becoming more and more popular, it is still not supported by some familiar image tools like Windows Photo Viewer. Here’s how to open a WebP image in windows.


Using Web Browsers

As we said earlier, WebP is supported by 96% of the web browsers in use worldwide; you may simply open it with your web browsers.

WebP lossy support WebP lossy & lossless support WebP Animation support
  • Google Chrome (desktop) 17+
  • Google Chrome for Android version 25+
  • Microsoft Edge 18+
  • Firefox 65+
  • Opera 11.10+
  • Native web browser, Android 4.0+ (ICS)
  • Google Chrome (desktop) 23+
  • Google Chrome for Android version 25+
  • Microsoft Edge 18+
  • Firefox 65+
  • Opera 12.10+
  • Native web browser, Android 4.2+ (JB-MR1)
  • Pale Moon 26+
  • Google Chrome (desktop and android) 32+
  • Microsoft Edge 18+
  • Firefox 65+
  • Opera 19+



MS Paint Tool

I always like to use built-in tools when performing any task on any platform. On Windows 10, you can easily open any WebP image with MS Paint. Simply click on the right mouse button, hover the mouse pointer on “open with”, and select “Paint”.


Open WebP Images With MS Paint
Open WebP images with MS Paint


Installing the Codec

Some photo viewers, including Windows Photo Viewer, can’t recognize (.webp) image format by default. To open a WebP image, you have to install the codec “WebpCodecSetup.exe” from the developer’s website. Follow the link, download it, and install it on your hard disk. After installing the codec, you can open any WebP image with your photo viewer.


Open WebP Images With Windows Photo Viewer
Open WebP images with MS Paint


How to convert WebP Images to JPG or PNG?

If you want to use your images on a platform that doesn’t support WebP format, you may need to convert the WebP images to common file types such as JPG or PNG. You can do this in several ways. Let’s take a look at some of them.


Taking screenshot

Sometimes you may have tried to save a WebP image as png or jpg from your favourite website for quick reference. You can simply take a screenshot and save the image in conventional image format in this scenario. There are many methods of taking a screenshot. You may read the following article to know more.


How to take screenshot on Windows? Five easy ways are described.


MS Paint Tool

In my opinion, this is the easiest way to convert WebP images into other image formats because it does not require the installation of any third-party software or even codecs. Open the WebP image with the Paint tool and save it as your desired file type. Using the Paint tool, you can convert your image into the most common image format such as Bitmap, JPEG, GIF, TIFF, and PNG.


Convert WebP Images to JPG or PNG with MS Paint
Convert WebP Images to JPG or PNG with MS Paint


Adobe Photoshop

Photoshop doesn’t natively support WebP files, so you need a plugin to add that support. If you want to open a WebP file with Photoshop, you’ll get the following error message.


Convert WebP Images to JPG or PNG with Photoshop
Photoshop error message during WebP image import


If you want to open or save WebP images straight from Photoshop, you need a plugin called WebPShop. You can download the WebPShop plugin directly from GitHub under an Apache 2.0 license. Download the WebPShop plugin for your particular operating system and install it to the following location:

Windows: \Program Files\Common Files\Adobe\Plug-Ins\CC

macOS: /Library/Application Support/Adobe/Plug-Ins/CC


Convert WebP Images with WebPShop plugin
WebPShop 0.4.0 plugin on Github


After installing the WebPShop plugin, you’ll be able to open any (.webp) image as well as convert it into other image formats.


Convert WebP Images to JPG or PNG with Photoshop
Save as WebP option appeared after installing the WebPShop plugin


Third Party Tools

If you prefer online conversion tools, plenty of sites offer free services. They handle everything server-side, which means you don’t have to download and install any software. If this is a sensitive or confidential file, you should be careful about using online services. Let’s look at some websites that offer free conversion from WebP to JPG or PNG.

Zamzar: Using their service, you can convert 1200+ file formats. Interestingly it doesn’t require downloading any software. Just select your file, pick a format to convert to, and away you go. If you find any problem converting your files, you can also take their premium support. Simply mail them, and their dedicated engineers will take a look for you. Go to Zamzar They offer various image conversion services. Follow the link and click on “Browse” to upload an image from your computer or paste the image URL to the nest field. Click the “Upload” button to confirm the action. Once uploaded, you’ll see your image, edit as needed, and save it in your desired format. Go to Ezgif

CloudConvert: CloudConvert converts your image files online. Amongst many others, they support PNG, JPG, GIF, WEBP, and HEIC. You can use the options to control image resolution, quality, and file size. Go to Cloudconvert


As I said, there are lots of online tools that offer free conversion services. Explore the services and let us know which one you like most. You may also like to check out the video.




I'm a CG Generalist, technical writer and crypto trader. I've completed my undergraduate degree in Software Engineering.

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