Data hiding is an important technique in multimedia security. Multimedia data hiding techniques enable message senders to disguise secret data by embedding them into cover media. Thus, delivering secret messages is as easy as sending the cover media. Recently, many researchers have studied reversible data hiding for images. Those methods can reconstruct the original cover image and extract the embedded secret data from a stego-image. This study proposes a novel reversible steganographic method of embedding secret data into a vector quantization (VQ) compressed image by applying the concept of side match. The proposed method uses extra information, namely the hit pattern, to achieve reversibility. Moreover, its small hit pattern enables the embedding of the entire hit pattern along with the secret data in most cases. To optimize visual quality of the output stego-image, the method applies the concept of partitioned codebooks (state codeboolcs). The partition operation on the codebook uses a look-up table to minimize embedding and extraction time. We also propose the use of diagonal seed blocks to embed the entire hit pattern into the cover image without producing any extra control messages. Compared to the Chang and Lin method, the experimental results show that the proposed method has higher capacity, better visual quality, and shorter execution time. (C) 2011 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.