Why you should use JPEG 2000 for archiving PDF


If you’ve ever taken a photo with your smartphone or received an image, you know JPEG, the standard format for digital photos. It’s everywhere. But what about the lesser-known JPEG 2000? Does it have its own uses? And if so, why hasn’t it been more widely adopted? The answers are here.

What is JPEG 2000?

JPEG 2000, like JPEG, was developed by the Joint Photographic Experts Group (JPEG), a committee that serves as a joint working group of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC).

Why JPEG 2000 is better

When you need quality, JPEG 2000 is a better compression tool. That’s because of the way the compression engine works. JPEG 2000 offers higher quality in the resulting image, even when you use lossy compression. Here’s why.

With lossless compression, every bit of data that was originally in the file remains. This is generally what you want to use for text or spreadsheets, where losing words or data could be problematic, even catastrophic.

Lossy compression reduces a file by permanently eliminating some information, so when the file is uncompressed, only a part of the original information remains. Lossy compression is generally used for video and many images, since they’re in the standard JPEG format.

Since JPEG 2000 includes much richer content than JPEG files, you’ll get vastly smaller files still containing the same level of detail as the larger original JPEGs.

What’s more, JPEG 2000 offers higher compression ratios for lossy compression, typically compressing images 20–200% more than JPEG. That’s especially useful when you’re archiving documents—which you can readily do with PDF as it supports JPEG 2000. This reduces your cost for storage. You get a smaller resulting image file AND a file that replaces two if you need both lossy vs. lossless versions.

Why hasn’t JPEG 2000 been more widely adopted?

When it was first developed, JPEG 2000 was a new format that required anyone who wanted to support it to write new code AND still support JPEG.

Also, JPEG 2000 offers more options for size, resolution, and color space so it’s more complex to use.

Last but not least, at the time JPEG 2000 was released, it was considered a memory hog. That’s no longer so much of an issue now, but in 2000, it was a big deal.

When to use JPEG 2000

This often-overlooked image format has some advantages that come into play when you’re creating and archiving image-heavy PDFs.

And if you need to support PDF 1.5 or higher specification in your applications and products, know that Foxit’s technology stack also includes JPEG 2000 codecs for applications or SDKs for JPEG 2000 and JBIG2. Contact us for more details.

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