One of the most frustrating things that can happen after posting an image with text to a social media site is when the text shows up fuzzy. Panic and anger automatically set in. You are positive you sized the image appropriately and exported it as the correct resolution, but no matter what you do, it shows up fuzzy! Is Facebook trying to punish you? What is going on? How come your image uploaded fine the last time?
I used to ask the same questions until I discovered why it happens and how you can avoid it. It’s quite simple, really. Social media sites like Facebook apply a heavy compression to every JPEG image uploaded to their sites. This is mandatory for many reasons. Most importantly, it makes the site faster for users and saves on bandwidth and storage. The downside to that is the compression doesn’t always make images look their best.
There is a very simple way to work around this. If you want your text to always be sharp, export your image as a PNG, not a JPEG. That way, Facebook (and other social media sites) can’t mess with your image quality!
What’s the difference between a JPEG (or JPG) and PNG, you ask? JPEG uses a lossy (dissipated) compression. That means that some information is discarded when it’s compressed and saved, which can affect the quality. In plain photos you don’t notice much of a difference, but if a photo has text on it the lost pixels stand out.
PNG uses lossless compression, which means the image quality is not compromised. It’s usually used for graphic files for the web. When you upload a PNG image to a social media site, it will display it as is and doesn’t covert it to a JPEG. It still gets compressed, but the quality will stay the same. The filesize ends up being larger when you upload it, but that’s not something to worry about.
What we’ve learned today: if you can, upload text images as a PNG. The image will be much cleaner and the text will be clearer. Happy posting!