Converting Graphics on the Linux Desktop with Converseen

Convert it!If you’re a Linux user, then you probably know how spoiled you are when it comes to applications for working with graphics. Whatever you need to do — editing, resizing, viewing, converting — there’s an application for that.

One of the most powerful Linux tools for manipulating graphics is ImageMagick. As powerful as it is, ImageMagick can be a challenge to use. It’s a command line tool, which means quite a few options. That’s not a bad thing, but if you use it infrequently it can be tough to remember those options.

Enter Converseen. It is a graphical version of ImageMagick that focuses on converting and resizing images on the Linux desktop. Not only that, you can do that with more than one image at the same time.

Let’s take a look at how to use Converseen.

Getting Up and Running

The first thing you need to do is download and install Converseen. You can either download and compile the source code, or get packages for Fedora, Ubuntu, and openSUSE.

Once you’ve installed Converseen, launch it. In Ubuntu, for example, select Applications > Graphics > Converseen.

Main Converseen window

Let’s Start Converting!

Click the Add images button. In the dialog box that opens, navigate to the directory containing the images that you want to convert. You can select individual images or you can CTRL+click and select multiple images. If the images that you want to convert span multiple directories, repeat the process.

Then select Edit > Check All Items. This selects all of the images you loaded and tells Converseen that you want to convert them. If you don’t want to convert all of the images at once, click the To convert checkbox beside each image to select or deselect it.

Ready to convert

If you are converting the images to another format and not resizing them, click the Convert to list. Select a format from the list. You’ll notice that Converseen supports dozens of bitmap formats. Converseen can’t work with vector graphics, such as the popular SVG.

For those of you converting your images to JPEG or PNG, you can optionally click the Image settings button to change the amount by which Converseen compresses the resulting image. The more you compress an image, the smaller it is, but you also lose detail the more you compress it.

Changing settings

If you want to resize your images, click the Dimensions checkbox on the left side of the Converseen window. You can shrink or expand your images based on a percentage or on the number of pixels. Click the Maintain aspect ratio checkbox to keep the images in proportion.

Converting ...

When you’re ready to go, click the Convert button. Depending on the number and size of the images that you selected, this could take anywhere upward of a few seconds. Converseen dumps the converted images in your home directory — for example, /home/scott. You can change that in Output options section on the left side of the Converseen window.

Converseen is a fast, simple, and efficient way to convert and resize multiple files. It does the job very well and doesn’t require you to remember long strings of commands. It works as advertised, which is the hallmark of a good utility.

Photo credit: gimSM

Converting Files Online, Quickly and Easily

Converter

ConverterEver come across a file that you can’t open? You know what I mean — an archive with the extension .rar or an Apple Numbers spreadsheet. We’ve all run into that situation before. And still do. Some of us more regularly than others, and yes, it can be frustrating.

Instead of running around trying to find desktop software, why not turn to the Web?

There are some very strong file conversion services available. Most of them are free, and they handle a number of file formats.  Unless you’re working with an ancient or obscure format, chances are these services will get the job done.

Zamzar

Zamzar converts it all — documents, images, videos, ebooks, archives, and even computer-aided design files. You can find a full list of the formats that Zamzar handles here.

It’s a powerful service, but also easy to use. How easy? Just go to the Zamzar site. Once there, you follow four steps.

First, click the Choose File button and in the window that opens, and find the file on your computer that you want to convert. That file can be a maximum of 100 MB.

Next, select the format that you want to convert the file to. The list of formats changes depending on the type of file that you’re converting. So, if you’ve uploaded a PowerPoint file, you won’t find an option to convert it to an OpenOffice.org Calc spreadsheet.

After that, enter your email address in the field on the page. You’ll be sent a link to the converted file.

Starting a conversion with Zamzar

 

Finally, click the Convert button. Depending on how large your file is, the conversion can take a few minutes or up to an hour. When it’s done, click the link in the notification email that Zamzar sends.

Zamzar email notification
Zamzar email notification

You have one day to download it before the files are deleted off the Zamzar server. If you want to keep the files available for longer, or want more features, you can sign up for a paid account.

Media Converter

Media Converter focuses on multimedia content — Web video, audio, and desktop video. You can point Media Converter to a URL or upload a file from your computer.

Like Zamzar, it’s easy to use. Media Converter uses a wizard which walks you through the conversion. Just go to the site and click either enter a link, upload a file, or browse Youtube. Depending on what you click, you’ll be asked for one of the following:

  • A URL
  • The file to upload from your computer
  • A word or phrase to search for on YouTube

After Media Converter finds what you want to convert, you can choose the kind of file that you want to output. You can also tell Media Converter that you want to set advanced options. The advanced options let you specify things like an audio or video codec, a bit rate, and the like.

Media Converter wizard
Media Converter wizard

When you’re ready to do the deed, click Start.

Ready to convert!
Ready to convert!

The conversion takes anywhere from a minute and up. Once the conversion is done, just click the link on the Media Converter page to download the file.

You’re allowed five conversions a day. If you want more, and  have access to more features, Media Converter also has paid plans. On top of that, there’s a Firefox extension available.

Final Thoughts

If you need to quickly and easily convert files, then Zamzar and Media Converter are great options. They’re fast and easy to use. And they’re convenient.

Photo credit: stocker