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How to get around Chrome’s save-as-WebP image format issue

Chrome browser laptop and phone

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Have you ever wanted to save an image from a webpage, only to find that the format it suggests is one you’ve never heard of? While JPG, GIF, and PNG are all standard and simple-to-use formats, Google has shifted the Chrome browser to save image files in the WebP format. 

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The tech giant made this transition because the WebP format makes image files roughly 25% smaller. That reduction doesn’t affect the actual image size, but it does impact the size of the file that is saved, which in turn saves considerable space for website hosting. However, it can be a real problem for users who want to save and view images.

Fortunately, there’s a Chrome extension you can add that will enable you to convert the image into either JPG or PNG format. Before I show you how to install and use this extension, there’s one thing to understand. Not every website uses the WebP format. Because of this, whether an image is served in its original format (such as JPG or PNG) or WebP can seem random.

If you save a lot of images from the web, you’ll still want to avoid the WebP issue. Here’s how.  

How to get around Chrome’s save-as-WebP image format issue

What you’ll need: The only thing you’ll need is an updated version of the Chrome desktop browser. You must use the desktop version, as the mobile app doesn’t support extensions.

The first thing to do is open the Chrome web browser.

The extension in question is called Save image as Type. Point your browser to the extension’s page in the Chrome Web Store and click Add to Chrome. When prompted, click Add Extension, and the installation is complete.

The Save image As Type extension in the Chrome web store.

Installing the Save image As Type Chrome extension.

Screenshot by Jack Wallen/ZDNET

Once the extension is installed, you’ll want to pin the extension to the Chrome toolbar for easier access. To do that, click the puzzle piece icon and, from the drop-down, click the pin icon associated with Save image as Type.

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This will pin the icon, which looks like a small image, to the toolbar. You don’t have to pin the extension to the toolbar if you don’t want to because that’s not how you interact with it. But pinning is always the easiest way to remove an extension from Chrome. 

If you decide to remove the extension, all you have to do is right-click the icon and select Remove From Chrome.

The extension drop-down in Chrome.

Pinning the extension to the Chrome toolbar.

Screenshot by Jack Wallen/ZDNET

Using the Save image as Type extension

Before you can use the extension, you’ll need to close and re-open Chrome. Once you do that, open a webpage that includes an image you want to save. 

Right click the image and select Save image as Type > Save as X (where X is either JPG, PNG, or WebP).

The Save Image As Type dialog in Chrome.

Saving an image in JPG format in Chrome is once again possible.

Screenshot by Jack Wallen/ZDNET

Your image will now be saved in the file format of your choice, and you’re good to go.

Also: Beyond Google: 5 Chrome extensions that give you search superpowers

That’s all it takes to get around a problem that has been frustrating users since Google opted to change the default behavior in its web browser. Even though WebP is a valid image file format, it’s simply not as widely accepted as JPG or PNG — and this simple extension avoids the issue.


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How to get around Chrome’s save-as-WebP image format issue

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