As Windows has grown and its feature set getting bigger, it includes pretty much everything you need to get everything done. However, just because it can do it doesn’t mean it’s the best tool to do it. Every IT guy has a program they install immediately upon getting a new computer. Replacing the built-in Windows graphic viewer with Irfanview is my immediate install.
As part of my role here at Weston, I do a lot of the marketing and graphics design. I’m always handling and working with graphic files – logos, photos, vector images, etc… . Working with all these file, I never wanted to open the full version of Illustrator or Photoshop just to simply view the image. The built-in image viewers in Windows have a limited selection of file types they can open, and they flat-out barf on really large files (which you use frequently in print design).
Enter Irfanview. Irfanview is a program named for its Bosnian creator, Irfan Skiljan. It’s a small application that is designed for opening as many image file types as possible as fast as possible. It’s not the prettiest program out there, but if you need a program that can open up and view a ton of files quickly, this is the one.
If you dig into the program settings further, you find a lot of settings that can be customized as well has a pile of other handy features:
- Many supported file formats
- Multi language support
- 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 advanced 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
- Add overlay text/image (watermark)
- IPTC editing
- Effects (Sharpen, Blur, Adobe 8BF, Filter Factory, Filters Unlimited, etc.)
- Screen Capturing
- Extract icons from EXE/DLL/ICLs
- Lossless JPG rotation
- Shell Extension PlugIn
- 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”
- And much more
While modern computers have mostly negated my original need for this program years ago (the speed), its flexibility and powerful features make this something that I will install on every computer I use.
The program is freeware, so feel free to download and try it out. The author requires commercial users to donate (€10, so approximately $12) but it’s worth it. The amount of batch conversions I’ve done with it alone and the time it has saved me have more than paid for that investment.