Review categories > Graphic Design Software > IrfanView
By: Steve ClarkReview for 'IrfanView'
There are dozens of graphics viewers and editors out on the WWW. You can find freeware, shareware, and pay-through-the-nose-ware. I've tried most of them (and my nose still hurts!) The best and fastest I've seen is the absolutely free IrfanView, by Irfan Skiljan. It handles some three dozen file formats from the everyday to the almost-never-used. There's just one program to put on your drive, not a whole box full, and it comes up faster than any of the others, ready for use.
Load an image and you can rename it, delete it, copy or move it. You can make it larger, smaller, or view it at a 'Best Fit To Desktop' setting that gives you a nice, comfortable version of almost any image. As if that's not enough, you can flip the picture over or sideways, change its colors and how clearly the image appears.
Other editing choices include 'crop', which will trim away all the annoying stuff, and just leave the part you like. Want to comment on a photo - and I mean ON a photo? Use the 'Add Text' feature to scribble all over it! (Neatly, of course.) For fun, add some special effects like Emboss (this one shows up on the web a lot as page backgrounds,) or Explosion. One of the newer features of IrfanView is the ability to use PhotoShop plug-ins. These are added effects, and there are thousands of them available on the WWW. You can find a large number of them through FreewareHome.com.
Want to change a whole directory full of images in some way? IrfanView has one of the easiest and speediest 'batch conversion' features I've ever seen. In a few seconds you can convert twenty bmp images to jpg or gif, ready for use on your web page. You can also re-size images all at once, turn them upside down, or add various other effects. During the conversion, you can re-scan the images, to produce more compact versions, without any loss of quality.
Another nice feature is the thumbnail directory. IrfanView will display an entire directory as thumbnail images, so you can pick and choose. Double click on any, and it's loaded into the viewer. Very handy! Want to make a whole page of thumbs for use at your website? No problem; one click of the mouse will do it, and you can even have the images copied to the same directory where you store the HTML file.
Along with graphic images, IrfanView also handles sound and movie files, and MUCH better than the utilities included with Windows for these purposes. You can listen to Midis, audio CDs, or even watch a movie. Want to grab one frame from a movie? The viewer will extract frames from animated gifs, mov and mpg files.
There are too many features in IrfanView to list them all here. I haven't mentioned screen-capture or scanning images, both of which can be done through this viewer/editor. Download this program, and you can discover the rest for yourself. Happy imaging!