How to Compress Image Files on Linux Using Curtail

Storing and sharing large image files can be a headache. Fortunately, there are several ways to compress image files. If you’re on Linux—and prefer native tools—Curtail is one good image compression tool you can use to compress images on your computer.

Let’s dive in to learn more.

What Is Curtail?

Curtail is a free and open-source image compression utility for Linux. It’s based on GTK 3 and uses a number of open-source projects to offer effective image compression. Using Curtail, you can compress PNG, JPEG, and WebP image files.

Curtail offers you the following features:

  • Easy-to-use GUI
  • Bulk image compression
  • Lossless and lossy compression options
  • Ability to set compression levels
  • Option to preserve metadata and file attributes
  • Support for JPEG, PNG, and WebP image files

How to Install Curtail on Linux

Curtail works on all major Linux distros. Follow the instructions below to install it on your computer.

On Ubuntu and its derivatives, open the terminal and run the following commands to install Curtail:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:apandada1/curtail
sudo apt update
sudo apt install curtail

If you’re running any other distro on your computer, you can install Curtail via Flatpak. First, make sure you’ve got Flatpak on your computer. To do so, open the terminal and run this command:


If the aforementioned command outputs a version number, you have Flatpak on your computer and can proceed with the installation. Else, install it using our complete Flatpak guide first.

Next, run this command to install Curtail:

flatpak install flathub com.github.huluti.Curtail

Alternatively, if you don’t prefer either installation method, you can build Curtail from the source. To do this, start by cloning the Curtail repository with:

git clone https:

Then, use the cd command to navigate to the Curtail directory, like this:

cd Curtail

Finally, enter these commands to build and install Curtail:

meson _build
cd _build
sudo ninja install

How to Use Curtail to Compress Image Files on Linux

After you’ve installed Curtail on your computer, open the applications menu, search for Curtail, and launch it. A tiny window will pop up, and this is where all the magic happens.

Start by picking a compression type between Lossless and Lossy. Lossy compression, for the uninitiated, removes redundant bits of information from images and returns smaller image files, which is ideal for storing and online sharing.

On the other hand, lossless compression retains pretty much all the information in an image file, resulting in larger files. So, depending on your requirement and the purpose of compressing images, toggle the switch appropriately to choose a compression type.

Next, Curtail will ask you to select the images you wish to compress. There are two ways to do this. One, you can use the file manager to select the images. Or two, you can simply drag and drop image files over to Curtail.

If you wish to use the file manager instead, click Browse your files and select the image files to compress. For the latter approach, open the file manager, select the images you want to compress—you can choose multiple files at once—and drop them onto the Curtail window.

Soon after you select image files, Curtail will start compressing them.

When the compression finishes, it will give you a summary of the compression, with details like the old file size, new file size, and the savings you’ve managed to get out of the compression.

Additionally, Curtail will automatically save the compressed images for you. You can find them in the same directory as their original counterparts. And, to avoid confusion and help you tell the original and compressed files apart, there will be a “-min” suffix at the end of the compressed image files.

Modify Curtail Preferences to Your Requirements

By default, Curtail works with predefined compression levels and uses specific settings. However, if you want to change the compression levels or modify some of its preferences to your requirements, Curtail lets you do so.

To modify Curtail preferences, click the hamburger menu on the main Curtail window and select Preferences. Here, you’ll see three tabs: General, Compression, and Advanced, each containing a set of specific settings, which you can modify as you like. Here are some options that you might want to check out:

1. Keep Metadata

If you wish to preserve metadata of image files during compression, Curtail has an option for this. In the Curtail preferences window, go to the General tab, and toggle on the button for Keep metadata if it’s turned off.

2. Change Suffix for the New Compressed Files

Since Curtail saves compressed image files to the same directory as the original files, it adds the “-min” suffix to help you differentiate between the original and compressed images. However, if you don’t like this suffix and wish to use something else, you’re free to do so.

Go to the General tab inside Curtail preferences. Click on the text field adjacent to Suffix and replace “min” with whatever text you like.

3. Replace the Original Image Files

By default, Curtail saves compressed images as new files with a suffix at the end of their file names. But if you don’t wish to do this—and prefer to have the original images replaced instead—toggle off the Save the compressed image into a new file option from the General tab inside Curtail preferences.

4. Change Lossy Compression Level

Curtail uses a set compression level for different image formats. You can find these by opening Curtail preferences and going into the Compression tab. If you wish to change the compression levels for any of these formats, hit the Minus () or Plus (+) buttons next to the values accordingly.

5. Change Lossless Compression Level

Just like changing the lossy compression level, Curtail also allows you to modify the lossless compression level. For this, go to the Advanced tab inside Curtail preferences and adjust the levels for PNG and WebP formats to your liking.

Optimize Image Files for Storing and Sharing

While popular image-editing tools, like GIMP, let you compress image files on Linux, the process is often complicated, which makes batch image compression a tedious task.

Curtail, on the other hand, simplifies the compression process to a great degree. It’s easy to use, works offline, and compresses image files in seconds to make them suitable for storing and sharing.

Alternatively, if you prefer web tools, you can compress image files online with many image compression tools available these days.

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