23 Comments

Summary:

If you’re like many a web worker, you often juggle graphics—viewing, editing and converting files. Muscular programs like Photoshop can be great to use for these tasks, but for on-the-fly tasks on a Windows PC, I prefer a freeware graphics program called IrfanView. You can download […]

If you’re like many a web worker, you often juggle graphics—viewing, editing and converting files. Muscular programs like Photoshop can be great to use for these tasks, but for on-the-fly tasks on a Windows PC, I prefer a freeware graphics program called IrfanView. You can download it in just a few seconds , the program is very highly rated at Download.com, and it gets over a million downloads per month.

IrfanView is great when you need to open an image editor quickly, perform quick tasks and get right back to work. However, it has a surprisingly robust feature set, especially if you often need to convert file formats.

In IrfanView, you can apply batch file format conversions, and a simple drop-down menu lets you convert any image from one format to another. If you often take screenshots by hitting Ctrl-PrtScreen, you’ll find that as soon as you paste them into IrfanView your cursor is an image cropping tool. Just use the cursor to surround whatever portion of an image you want to select, and then hit Crop Selection to eliminate the rest of the image and retain what you want.

The program supports a huge number of graphics file formats, can create panoramas and slideshows, and has plug-in support for most major media file formats, including AVI, MP3, audio CD, and WMA. IrfanView has built-in TWAIN support for quickly converting scanned images, and you can apply edits to images, such as increasing brightness, on a batch basis—across many images at once.

For big image editing tasks, I look to Photoshop, but when I need to paste an image quickly into an editor, crop it and convert it to the right file format, IrfanView is what I turn to.

Do you know of any good freeware graphics programs?

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  1. I’ve been using IrfanView since Windows 95. Excellent and extremely lightweight.

    It takes great screenshots too!

  2. Yep, Irfanview is a fantastic app! I use it constantly and absolutely adore it.

    Just remember that it gives you the option to install a toolbar (think it’s Yahoo or Google or something) during the setup process. The option is checked by default so make sure you uncheck it if you don’t fancy that kind of thing.

  3. Anthony Williams Tuesday, August 14, 2007

    I use XnView for similar purposes. As with IrfanView it supports just about every graphics format there is, and can import images from the clipboard for cropping and simple editing. It can also do batch processing.

    When I was choosing a simple graphics viewer/converter/editor, I found XnView a better fit for my needs than IrfanView.

  4. I’ve used IrfanView for a long time. It’s the simplest and quickest program (in my opinion) for creating thumbnails of your images. I used to run my own photography site and regularly used tihs program to thumbnail all the images and sort them into folders. Nowadays, Flickr and other sites do the hosting for oyu, but it’s an excellent program nontheless.

  5. On my site, I have a list of some free software that I think is worth using.
    http://www.borismarkovich.com/

  6. Irfanview is by default the best freeware graphics program!

  7. Chris Kennedy Tuesday, August 14, 2007

    I’ve been using The Gimp at work unfortunately – it has the worst usability of any software program I’ve seen. I am going to check out IrfanView right now.

  8. I use Irfanview (the latest update seemed to make it snappy, and you can skin it to be a little more visually appealing).

    If I want to manipulate images, and I can’t be bothered to open Photoshop, I used the amazing, free and open Paint.NET. It has enough features that I can use it for all my “amateur” editing. I wouldn’t use it to cut and export a web design however.

  9. But don’t forget that you can use the easyest and simplest programs from the computer, like the old Paint.exe (already installed on Windows) ! It isn’t smart, but if you only write to make a line or circle , write a small text or crop an image – it’s ideal. Fore more complex tasks, like scaling, making thumbnails, dealing with layers or complex stuff, you have to use the software already discussed here.
    Use the right tool for the right job !

  10. IrfanView is just about the only software I truly miss since switching from PC to Mac at the place where I work. Sure, I now have Photoshop CS3, but talk about overkill!

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