Fast Freeware Image Viewer by Irfan Skiljan
What do you call a compact, fast and friendly image viewer that allows multiple ways of viewing and even editing images directly? IrfanView (pronounced Ear-Fan-View) is named for Irfan Skiljan, a very generous programmer from Bosnia. Irfan keeps his users happy by giving them the best Windows picture viewer available with regular updates that expand the program’s features. New IrfanView releases have continued virtually nonstop since I first discovered the program around version 1.70, released in January 1996.
It’s difficult to imagine how a programmer can pack IrfanView’s vast array of features into a executable program file under 1 MB. There are far too many to list, but some worth noting are:
- IrfanView is the first graphic viewer that supports both animated .gif and .ico (icons) and one of the first that supports the multipage .tif format.
- My favorite feature is the full screen right-click browsing capability, which allows a user quickly cycle through all image files in a directory. I have not found a single other viewer that does this.
- Many basic editing functions are available like crop, rotate, flip, resize, and increase/decrease colors. Some good bread and butter effects like sharpen, swap colors, and even palette and filter support are also at your fingertips. This means that if you want to alter an image, you don’t have to summon up Adobe Photoshop or Paint Shop Pro from the depths of your hard-drive.
- A vast number of file formats are supported (I counted around 60), including multimedia files supported through plugins. One of the really neat uses of IrfanView is its ability to handle icons (.ico). I sometimes use it to create a favicon–the funky icon that appears in the browser address bar and favorites after bookmarking some sites. This involves shrinking an image to 16 X 16 size, then decreasing the colors to 16 and saving as a “.ico” file.
If IrfanView sounds like an image editor, remember that its just a modest image viewer. Even though you can use it to make web ready images like favicons or MySpace icons, IrfanView is never going to replace a major paint program like Photoshop or even Gimp. It can’t be beaten for speed, flexibility and ease of use on days when you want to sit back and feast your eyes upon your image collection. Irfan reports receiving over 45,000 e-mail messages expressing appreciation for the program.
Download IrfanView – download options from the IrfanView.com site
This IrfanView video tutorial gives some insight into the program’s editing capabilities.