If you’ve searched for images on Google (or any other search engine), you’ve probably come across WebP images at some point but were perhaps hesitant to download them because of potential compatibility issues.
Fortunately, though, there are workarounds to view WebP images on a computer. If you’re on Linux, you can do this in a few different ways.
In this guide, we’ll explain WebP and walk you through the steps to view WebP images on Ubuntu and Linux Mint.
What Is WebP?
WebP is a fast-growing image format developed by Google as a replacement for GIF, JPEG, and PNG formats. It uses the .webp extension and is unique in that it produces smaller files for the same quality compared to their JPEG, PNG, and GIF equivalents.
Most major web browsers and image viewers support WebP. However, a lot of the default image viewers on Linux don’t natively support the WebP format.
As such, if you don’t have a supported image viewer installed on your system, it will likely open WebP images in a web browser. And, if you try to open it in an unsupported image viewer, it throws an error stating “Could not load the image.”
While most people would be fine with this, the lack of viewing and editing options can be limiting for some. Hence, the need for workarounds to view WebP images on Linux.
How to View WebP Images on Linux
As we mentioned initially, there are three different ways to view WebP images on Linux.
One, you can enable support for WebP images on the default image viewer on Ubuntu/Linux Mint. Two, you can download an image viewer that supports WebP out of the box, and three, you can convert WebP images to other compatible formats like JPEG, PNG, or GIF and view them with any image viewer.
1. Enable Support for WebP on the Default Image Viewer
Most default image viewers on Ubuntu and its derivatives including Eye of GNOME and Xviewer support WebP images natively. However, to open or view these images, you need to add support for WebP to the program.
To do this, we’ll use the WebP GDK Pixbuf Loader library, as demonstrated in the following steps:
Open the terminal and run the following command to add the PPA for the plugin:
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:krifa75/eog-ordissimo
Then, update your system’s package list using APT.
sudo apt update
Next, install the library by running:
sudo apt install webp-pixbuf-loader
As soon as the installation is complete, open the file explorer and navigate to the directory where the WebP image file is located. Here, you’ll see thumbnails for all your image files. Right-click on the image you want to open and select Properties. Switch to the Open With tab and click on Add.
Select Image Viewer from the applications list and click Add.
Check off the radio button next to Image Viewer or click on the Set as default button to set it as the default image viewer.
With WebP support enabled and the default image viewer set, now you can simply double-click on any WebP image to view it.
2. Install an Image Viewer With Native WebP Support
Generally speaking, you’ll find several image viewers for Linux that natively support WebP images and allow you to open and view such images without the need for an extension/library.
But for the purpose of this guide, we’ll be using gThumb due to its extensive feature set. Alternatively, you can use qview if you want a lightweight image viewer or go all-in with feature-rich image viewers like GIMP, ImageMagick, XnView MP, etc.
If you decide on using gThumb, follow the instructions below to install and use it on your computer.
First, open the terminal and run the following command to install gThumb:
sudo apt install gthumb
When prompted, type y and hit Enter.
Once the installation finishes, you need to set gThumb as the default image viewer so that every time you want to view a WebP image, it opens in gThumb.
For this, go to the directory containing the WebP images you want to open. Here, right-click on a file and select Properties. Switch to the Open With tab and click the Add button.
From the applications list, select gThumb Image Viewer and click on the Add button.
Now, check off the radio button next to gThumb Image Viewer or click the Set as default button to set it as the default image viewer on your system.
Finally, to view a WebP image, double-click on the image, and it will open it in the gThumb Image Viewer.
3. Convert WebP Images to JPEG or PNG
If you don’t wish to install additional packages (image viewers or libraries) on your computer, you can convert WebP images to more compatible formats like JPEG or PNG and open them in any image viewer.
For this, you can either use a desktop image conversion tool or an online image converter. We recommend going with a web tool for quick operation and using a desktop tool if you’re concerned about privacy.
As part of this guide, we’ll demonstrate how to convert WebP to JPG and WebP to PNG using the Online Converter web tool.
To get started, head over to Online Converter and select Image converter. Here, tap on either Convert to JPG or Convert to PNG, as per your requirements.
Click on the Choose File button to upload the WebP file you want to convert and select the quality and other optional settings.
Alternatively, you can paste the link to the file you want to convert, as well.
Finally, click on the START button to start the conversion process.
When the website’s done converting the file, it will automatically download the converted image to your computer, which you can then open using your preferred image viewer.
Successfully Viewing WebP Images on Linux
Being able to view WebP images on your Linux computer can prove to be really useful, especially now that the format is increasingly used to distribute images on the internet.
If you’ve followed this guide closely, you should be able to view WebP images on your Linux machine just like you do with JPG or PNG images.
In case you’re new to Linux, you may also want to check out basic image manipulation via the Linux terminal to do some quick and easy image editing.
Need to quickly crop, resize, or otherwise edit an image in Linux? Forget loading an app – use the terminal instead.
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