For everyday tasks of quickly viewing an image, playing slideshows, rotating an image and so on, you do not need a full fledged image editing program (like Photoshop or Gimp) that will take several seconds to load. What you need is a good image viewer.
There are hundreds of image viewers available. Although, the default viewers that come with your computer such as Microsoft Picture Viewer are good for some uses, you would soon realise, that they have their limitations. This is where other image viewers come in. They possess loads of functionality that would be useful to both the novice and professional computer user. We would be reviewing two Image Viewers today: IrfanView and FastStone Image Viewer.
The image viewer that members of our staff have been utilizing over the years is IrfanView.
It packs a highly comprehensive list of features such as:
- Ability to view almost all image and video formats (PNG, JPG, GIF, PSD, AVI, MOV etc)
- Thumbnail/preview option
- Paint option – to draw lines, circles, arrows, straighten image etc.
- Toolbar skins option
- Slideshow (save slideshow as EXE/SCR or burn it to CD)
- Show EXIF/IPTC/Comment text in Slideshow/Fullscreen etc.
- Support for Adobe Photoshop Filters
- Fast directory view (moving through directory)
- Batch conversion (with image processing)
- Multipage TIF editing
- File search
- Email option
- Multimedia player
- Print option
- Support for embedded color profiles in JPG/TIF
- Change color depth
- Scan (batch scan) support
- IPTC editing
- Effects (Sharpen, Blur, Adobe 8BF, Filter Factory, Filters Unlimited, etc.)
- Screen Capturing
- Extract icons from EXE/DLL/ICLs
- Lossless JPG rotation
- Unicode support
- Many hotkeys
- Many command line options
- Many PlugIns
- Only one EXE-File, no DLLs, no Shareware messages like “I Agree” or “Evaluation expired”
- No registry changes without user action/permission!
- and much much more
The other image viewer that is equally worth mentioning is FastStone Image Viewer.
Its feature list boasts:
- Image browser and viewer with a familiar Windows Explorer-like user interface
- Support of many popular image formats (PNG, JPG, GIF, PSD etc)
- True Full Screen viewer with image zoom support and unique fly-out menu panels
- Crystal-clear and customizable one-click image magnifier
- Powerful image editing tools: Resize/resample, rotate/flip, crop, sharpen/blur, adjust lighting/colors/curves/levels etc.
- Eleven re-sampling algorithms to choose from when resizing images
- Image color effects: gray scale, sepia, negative, Red/Green/Blue adjustment
- Image special effects: annotation, drop shadow, framing, bump map, sketch, oil painting, lens
- Draw texts, lines, highlights, rectangles, ovals and callout objects on images
- Clone Stamp and Healing Brush
- Superior Red-Eye effect removal/reduction with completely natural looking end result
- Multi-level Undo/Redo capability
- One-touch best fit/actual size image display support
- Image management, including tagging capability, with drag-and-drop and Copy To/Move To Folder support
- Histogram display with color counter feature
- Compare images side-by-side (up to 4 at a time) to easily cull those forgettable shots
- Image EXIF metadata support (plus comment editing for JPEGs)
- Configurable batch processing to convert/rename large or small collections of images
- Slideshow creation with 150+ transition effects and music support (MP3, WMA, WAV…)
- Create efficient image attachment(s) for emailing to family and friends
- Print images with full page-layout control
- Create fully configurable Contact Sheets
- Create memorable artistic image montages from your family photos for personalized desktop wallpapers (Wallpaper Anywhere)
- Acquire images from scanner. Support batch scanning to PDF, TIFF, JPEG and PNG
- Versatile screen capture capability
- Powerful Save As interface to compare image quality and control generated file size
- Run favorite programs with one keystroke from within Image Viewer
- Offer portable version of the program which can be run from a removable storage device
- Configurable mouse wheel support
- Support multiple program skins
- Support dual-monitor configurations
- And much more…
So, if you desire to amp up your image viewer, then download any of these great alternatives.