Windows

IrfanView: The Right Tool for the Job?

Professional photographers and designers often need to preview large groups of image files quickly. Even IT professionals working in a non-creative environment occasionally need to perform basic edits to images or convert many images as a batch job. For jobs like these, the image viewing software bundled with Windows just doesn't cut it. Enter the IrfanView graphic viewer.

The Job

Professional photographers and designers often need to preview large groups of image files quickly. Even IT professionals working in a non-creative environment occasionally need to perform basic edits to images or convert many images as a batch job. For jobs like these, the image viewing software bundled with Windows just doesn't cut it. Enter the IrfanView graphic viewer.

The Tool

IrfanView

The IrfanView software is a very fast, compact, innovative and free (for non-commercial use) graphic viewer that works on just about every Windows operating system, such as Windows 9x/ME/NT/2000/XP/2003/Vista.

It is simple enough for beginners, yet has the capabilities that advanced users will appreciate. It supports not only image file formats, but a host of audio and video formats as well, once you install the necessary plug-ins. The list is too long to include here, but you can check it out at www.irfanview.com. IrfanView's strengths and weaknesses break down as follows.

Pros

  • Completely free
  • Extremely fast and lightweight
  • Views just about every graphical file format in existent, including PSD files
  • Able to save into just about every file format that it can view
  • Able to perform basic cropping and re-sampling. You can also queue thousands of files to perform these functions as a batch job.

Cons

  • Placement of options can be non-intuitive to the first-time user
  • GUI won't win any awards

    IrfanView

The Right Tool for the Job?

I love IrfanView. I have used it for years now, and I have found it to be a very useful image viewing tool. (I like to use it to print odd-sized images within a single page.) Once you get past the initial hurdle of learning the application, you'll quickly find it to be an extremely capable application. IrfanView gets my vote as the Right Tool for the Job.

View my comprehensive screenshot review of IrfanView.

About

Paul Mah is a writer and blogger who lives in Singapore, where he has worked for a number of years in various capacities within the IT industry. Paul enjoys tinkering with tech gadgets, smartphones, and networking devices.

88 comments
dinam
dinam

is you can do non-distructive .jpg rotation. I've used it for years as well and love it, especially for rotating jpg photos.

docotis
docotis

So superior to anything native to MS/OS it surprises me that MS didn't buy it out. Good for us that never happened. It's a must on every build for me.

rgeiken
rgeiken

I have been using Irfanview for almost as long as it has been out. Did lots of home photo jobs using this package. Have even sent the author a gratuity for the use of the program. The renaming function alone is worth having the program, but it does a lot more than that. Just remember to check back at the Irfanview site to get the latest updates since they do seem to update it frequently. Also get the Plug Ins available that support the program. Irfanview along with Picasa which by the way is also free make my image processing life about as trouble free as it can be. If you don't want to pay big $$ for photo programs, put these two on your computer post haste!!!!

jokl-123
jokl-123

Irfanview is extremely fast, can handle any large image even wit a lack of RAM. It has the ??possbility to work with a lot of plugins and so can handle also various video and audio formats. The plugins aloud to do more than basic Picture enhancement and now you can draw in a picture for documentation purposes. It does also work as a screenshot tool with simple trigger. You can use it without installation. It works from a CD and a Stick and even if you dont use the non commercial version it is cheap also. Thanks to Irfan Skiljan from Vienna

rkirch007
rkirch007

Is anybody aware of a meta tagging tool for image files? I have a couple of thousand of photos that I want to meta tag so I can pull up the ones I want to look at by category (instead of having to search through multiple directories). Thanks.

videoprofessor
videoprofessor

How does IrfanView compare to the free version of Picasa?

pobstar1
pobstar1

When it come to keep in file an invoice billing information of a Secure online purchase I use print screen and open the file with Irfan to ???Save As??? the document. That way I don't have to print the doc. or "Save As" with partial information in it whit Internet Explorer on an Html file. IrfanView is at my knowledge the only one that could open the Clipboard Screen Print file of a secure website page. You could do this action with "Snagit" Scroll page option. But Snagit is costly. I use IrfanView as a helper to assist me when my others regular programs can???t handle the situation that I???m on. I still use the old version of ACDsee 3.1 for Viewing purpose, batch conversion and to Enhance and image with the ???Auto Level??? feature to adjust and balance automatically the picture I???m working on. It does the exact same job that Adobe Photoshop do, but in just one click. The other Enhance features, of ACDsee, are also very good, especially the Despeckle filter that correct all the pollution that an image might have. This feature is not yet include in Photoshop as a single click operation. Photoshop Element 5 is also great for many images jobs; still Adobe products took lots of memory to work with. So I use ACDsee 3.1 when I have to work with lots of pictures with the basics Enhancement and Correction features to do wile I???m viewing all the pictures thumbnails at the same time. I???m using IrfanView since 1999 and it don???t bother me to update the software once in a wile because he give the helping hand that you need when others softwares can???t do the job.

pobstar1
pobstar1

When it come to keep in file an invoice billing information of a Secure online purchase I use print screen and open the file with Irfan to ???Save As??? the document. That way I don't have to print the doc. or "Save As" with partial information in it whit Internet Explorer on an Html file. IrfanView is at my knowledge the only one that could open the Clipboard Screen Print file of a secure website page. You could do this action with "Snagit" Scroll page option. But Snagit is costly. I use IrfanView as a helper to assist me when my others regular programs can???t handle the situation that I???m on. I still use the old version of ACDsee 3.1 for Viewing purpose, batch conversion and to Enhance and image with the ???Auto Level??? feature to adjust and balance automatically the picture I???m working on. It does the exact same job that Adobe Photoshop do, but in just one click. The other Enhance features, of ACDsee, are also very good, especially the Despeckle filter that correct all the pollution that an image might have. This feature is not yet include in Photoshop as a single click operation. Photoshop Element 5 is also great for many images jobs; still Adobe products took lots of memory to work with. So I use ACDsee 3.1 when I have to work with lots of pictures with the basics Enhancement and Correction features to do wile I???m viewing all the pictures thumbnails at the same time. I???m using IrfanView since 1999 and it don???t bother me to update the software once in a wile because he give the helping hand that you need when others softwares can???t do the job.

fpmg
fpmg

I have been using Irfanview since it first came out in 1996. I remember that it was about a 400KB download. The latest is only 1129KB, but there is also a 5-6MB plugin download. Irfan deserves an award for writing such tight code and providing this application to the world a freeware.

kmeyer
kmeyer

I just downloaded this program a few days ago to resize our company Christmas party pictures. Of course, I didn't even look for help files and just dove head-first into the program. It was able to resize several hundreds in one batch process within a minute or two and I couldn't have been happier. It was the right tool for me.

eajordan
eajordan

As an non-professional bird photographer, I love Irfanview, and I install it anywhere I work (I am an IT consultor) Eduardo

brewilmb
brewilmb

Irfanview is not freeware unless its for non commercial use check the website

FiOS-Dave
FiOS-Dave

Absolutely! I, also have been using it for many years (and contributing $5 each year!) and find it to be indispensible. I use it every day to do a quick view of an image, video or audio file. I use it to batch convert a folder of pictures to a lower resolution for web posting, etc. It has such a small footprint that viewing two or three images side by side (by side) is lightning fast. I don't see how he can squeeze so many features in such few bytes! Dave

melvyn_ingram
melvyn_ingram

As I have built my first computer, this is what I loaded as my main image viewer to get me started and because it is quick to start with. Loading my camera images quick and viewing them also. Great for catching web and Alt+Print Screen images. Great free software... Melvyn

hemlock400
hemlock400

I have used it for years. I am glad you wrote the article, I now know I need to upgrade and take advantage of new tools and old features that I forgot about. Great tool.

fredsc
fredsc

I just ordered it then the end cost doubled now trying to cancel my order I just don't go for something unless I know what its going to cost me a poor method to sell something

breathe
breathe

Xnview is another great graphics tool that has pretty much the same functionality that is also free for non-commercial & educational use. It has an active support community. There is a Linux version and it has a SDK for developers. There are also PocketPC and Windows Mobile versions as well. http://www.xnview.com

Photogenic Memory
Photogenic Memory

There were a couple of times were I loved playing a PC game and at it's end was a fantastic scenematic. I used InfranView to convert that scene into an .avi file so I could play it over and really enjoy it. Fun stuff! There were certain aspects of the program that weren't intuitive which lead to unsuccessful experimentation; however in the end, it turned out to be a success. I recommend this program. It's a very useful.

kewilk
kewilk

Any thoughts on Picasa as compared to IrfanView or the others mentioned?

techrepublic
techrepublic

I've used this product for years, since Windows 95 days. When you find something small, with a light footprint, that's free, stable, capable, and works really well, why look further? I don't doubt that there may be other products that are similarly good, but this is, and always has been, a superb product that I install just about everywhere I go. It's a gem.

william.mooney
william.mooney

How does IrFanView compare to Picasa? In reading the descripion, it appears IrfanView is just like Picasa. Am I missing somethig?

jruby
jruby

I have used it for years without ever encountering a bug related to the program (it did unceremoniously dump all over itself when it hit a bad sector on a dying hard-drive once). Now if he would only get rid of that road-kill icon and go with something with a little more classier....

SteveEyler
SteveEyler

IrfanView is the greatest thing since sliced bread. I found this program back in the version 1 days and it's still free!?! Microsoft would be wise to buy this program from Irfan and include it in their OS releases. Of course, an argument can be made for the wisdom of Microsoft and that's another story by itself. I think Irfan needs to be compensated in some way like that for his contribution to our community. This program rocks. Wouldn't think to live without it.

Joy Phillip
Joy Phillip

I got it because of the thumbnail capability. When I first needed it I had to display about 200 graphics on a web page for a client. With this all I had to do was give the program a few parameters, tell it which directory and it created all the thumbnails, put them in a webpage and even made the tables necessary to display without a problem. For the win I even had the option for Irfanview to make individual pages with Back and Next buttons for the full size pic or just the graphic itself. Took a job that would have been a couple days and made it into about a half an hour. Got me kudos from the client too. I have it on my home computer and I love it. Add in the plugins and you can preview MP3's, mov files, avi files, shockwave files, JPG, GIF, PNG, PSP files and many other formats. LOVE IT! All the other tools out there that I've seen and used are either Johnny come latelys or they don't do as well what this does from the start. And for free? Wow.

tohca1
tohca1

it's the main image viewing /editing tool I use. Have been using it for years.

SorinD
SorinD

it can be used in the command line as well. Batch files, here I come!

gmasters
gmasters

great for what it does- and price is right, but I would love it to also have a basic paintbrush type edit / markup capability so I could get rid of that windows app too

arpcs
arpcs

Dear Paul Mah, I found your TechRepublic article with graphics explaining IrfanView very interesting. It would have been very helpful to have been able to download it as a PDF file. Alan Parsons

dhindsley
dhindsley

I also have used Irfanview for years and installed it on hundreds of computers. But now I've fallen for Photofiltre. It is awesome!

flmagman
flmagman

I didn't realize it could do paint and scan. As someone else mentioned, I've also tried Gimp, for artistic work, which has been a real pain to learn, so maybe I'll re-check Irfan. The thing that irritated me was opening a picture and it was too big for the screen, and constantly having to zoom out to see it. I'm guessing that's because I don't know enough about it. But Fast Stone knew immediately to resize it for my screen. Thanks for the info!

fredsc
fredsc

Anything I can't stand is fraudulent methods to sell something by changing the end cost after charging my credit card. I requested canceling the charge immediately

SorinD
SorinD

I find IView easier to use than Picassa, especially when batch-processing. It takes a lot less time to load and does not necessarily show me all the pictures I have on the computer (does not try to index them, either). It doesn't have a module that loads up at startup and it's really easy to uninstall (although... I don't imagine who would want that). I have even used it as a stand-alone executable (copy i_view32.exe to another computer) and it works just fine. I think there is a lot more to say, but I can't think of all right now.

seanferd
seanferd

It has been available since at least ver. 3.75 There are probably more icons available in the newer plug-in releases. Heck, you can always make your own. Even Irfanview has the capability to save files in the ICO format, at least. There are other programs out there that will let you make icons and store them in a DLL or the ICL format. Just associate whatever filetype with your chosen icon.

Fyrewerx
Fyrewerx

Of course, in an ideal world, that would be great. However, every time MS buys some company with great features it could incorporate into Windows, some other company cries "unfair" and sues them. Or, the EU tries to force them to remove the product from Windows sold in Europe. Why do you think MS stopped including an anti-virus program years ago?

papertrl
papertrl

They'd bloat it and ruin it!

WLR-NE
WLR-NE

We have used it for several years in our computer labs. It allows our students to do basic to intermediate level image editing for reports and assignments. I also use the batch processes.

Madsmaddad
Madsmaddad

I also have used it for years, Recently discovered that it can drive my scanner, so removed my other scanner software as IrfanView is easier. I consider it one of my greatest finds on the Internet. Peter M.

Dan-Victor.Rusu
Dan-Victor.Rusu

The latest version (4.10) comes with a "Paint" Plug-in. You can activate it by pressing F12.

paulmah
paulmah

Hi there, You are free to link to this article from anywhere. Still, I'm curious - why would you want the article in PDF if I may ask? Have a great day! :) Regards, Paul Mah.

paulmah
paulmah

Hi there, You are free to link to this article from anywhere. Still, I'm curious - why would you want the article in PDF if I may ask? Have a great day! :) Regards, Paul Mah.

paulmah
paulmah

Hi there, You are free to link to this article from anywhere. Still, I'm curious - why would you want the article in PDF if I may ask? Have a great day! :) Regards, Paul Mah.

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

Just press Enter to convert Irfanview to full-screen mode. Large images are shrunk to screen size, smaller images are displayed at actual resolution.

FiOS-Dave
FiOS-Dave

I have been an IrfanView user for many years. I started when Irfan was in college, so I thought a $5 donation (back then) was a nice gift to a struggling student. I've since contributed again, since i use it so often. Once you get used to the keyboard shortcuts, workflow is even faster! Use it for a while, and when you see how useful (and fast) this program is, I'm sure you'll send him a few bucks! Dave

Spook0
Spook0

The first choice in the donation page is for a 10 EURO donation/registration which would be $14.40 today.

pepoluan
pepoluan

Wow, that's news to me... even though I'm a die-hard IrfanView user (ever since version 2!), I'm embarrassed to admit xP that I haven't kept up with all the goodies Irfan Skiljan put in his wonderful tool... Hmm. Mine's still 4.0. Guess it's time to upgrade, then :)

pcorneillie
pcorneillie

Fancy to see that I can finaly do some basic painting in IrfanView. For basic editing, I always had to switch to something else which anoyed me. Love the software. I have been using it for atleast 5 years now. Especially for viewing and cropping pictures. (and some basic slideshows)

askidmore
askidmore

I love the program personally. I have been using it since it was an alpha release. The interface could use an over-haul, but other than that it is wonderful.

seanferd
seanferd

In Iview, the "Do not fit anything" option is my default setting. I'd rather know just what the original image size is. Exceptions for this (sometimes) is when viewing extremely large images. Some photography-based sites along with space imagery can display some monstrous files.

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

Personally, I prefer to see the image in actual size, then contract/expand it as required to fit the screen. My most-used Iview shortcuts are the + and - keys to zoom in and out.

seanferd
seanferd

View > Display Options > You can set the default image-to-screen fit from about eight different options.

papertrl
papertrl

Why overhaul the UI? It works just fine. It doesn't need a pretty skin. It's a good, basic, solid tool, built with basic UI elements. Maybe a little non-standard here and there, but who cares?

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