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This paper proposes an efficient approach for adaptive directional wavelet transform (WT) based on directional prefiltering. Although the adaptive directional WT is able to transform an image along diagonal orientations as well as traditional horizontal and vertical directions, it sacrifices computation speed for good image coding performance. We present two efficient methods to find the best transform directions by prefiltering using 2-D filter bank or 1-D directional WT along two fixed directions. The proposed direction calculation methods achieve comparable image coding performance comparing to the conventional one with less complexity. Furthermore, transform direction data of the proposed method can be used for content-based image retrieval to increase retrieval ratio.