PNG-8 that acts like PNG-24 without Fireworks

Published 4 Comments on PNG-8 that acts like PNG-24 without Fireworks

I have been looking for a solution to turn PNG-24 with alpha transparency into a PNG-8 WITH alpha transparency for a while.  This possible with Fireworks, but I didn’t really want to install, buy or fireworks.  (It scares me).

Side question:  Why o’ Why can’t Adobe make Photoshop do this?

Ok, the instructions on the site are pretty clear, but I will repeat them just in case.

  1. In Photoshop save your files with alpha transparency as PNG-24 files.  Test in a modern browsers.
  2. Download PngQuant (Tested) or the newer version (I didn’t try this one) and put the .exe file in your c:windowssystem32 folder.  Also, there is a GUI you could use (untested) called Manfred.
  3. Put the PNG-24 files in a folder like c:png-transform
  4. Run a command prompt and type: pngquant 256 filename.png
  5. This will create new files in the same directory that are PNG-8 but act like PNG-24 in a modern browser.  These look pretty good in IE6. (See below)

Notice in the image below that the IE6 image acts like a GIF file with single transparency.  In IE7 (or other modern browser), the file is dithered and creates a smoother line.  This is critically important when using images like this in Emails!  You can’t add in IE6 PNG fixes using javascript in an email!


This is going to be my standard process from now on.  I am thrilled with the outcome.


  1. Why o’ Why can’t Adobe make Photoshop do this?

    Because Photoshop is entirely the wrong tool to do this. This whole process of having to run out to the command line and use a third party command can be completely done in Fireworks. Photoshop is designed for working with photos the only reason it has web export at all is that it was trying to compete with macromedia back in the day. If you would be willing to try to learn to do this in fireworks (seriously it takes 30 seconds to do this) please email me. Fireworks will make your life easier trust me. I manage the worlds largest fireworks user group and I have a 20% discount code that is good until March 3rd if you would be interested in picking up a copy. Please check out and you can see some of the recordings of our meetings on the cool stuff you can do with fireworks.

  2. I downloaded Fireworks and I am giving it a try. I am so used to Photoshop, I really don’t WANT to learn a different program. Kind of out of character for me, but there it is.

    Still, photoshop should support this. No reason why not.

Whatya think?