What Does Thumbnail Mean?

A thumbnail is a reduced-size representation of a picture, which often has a hyperlink to the full version. They are usually kept as separate copies of the original image and implemented on a separate Web page. One of the most prominent features of thumbnails is their capability in providing faster loading of pages with a high number of pictures and graphics in a Web browser.


Techopedia Explains Thumbnail

Thumbnail images help in reducing bandwidth and download time for related pictures of images. They help webpages to be more user friendly and help the surfer reduce download time. They are frequently used in image organizing applications, operating systems and visual search engines. Thumbnails provide users the ability to control the sizing of the image, often allowing them to decide which image needs to be seen in full or original size. Most of the time, thumbnail images are clickable in nature.

There are some distinct advantages in using thumbnails. Depending on the situation, the thumbnail can be resized from tiny to medium. It is also more effective than text to describe the actual image and also provides the best option for users to present a large number of photos within a limited space.

However, there are a few disadvantages as well. Software applications are needed for producing thumbnails. Compared to normal image processing, extra coding is required for thumbnails in order to handle them. Effective organizing either offline or online is required in the case of thumbnails.


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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.