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

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 IrfanView’s strengths and weaknesses break down as follows.


  • 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.


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

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.