Description : IrfanView is a speedy image viewing application, which also plays some audio and video. It supports a crazy number of image formats, has many plugins to customize its function, and also supports batch conversion. My image viewer of choice, IrfanView is a must for all. 1.3 MB of genius.
The original image viewer on XP, was basically, not very good. I found IrfanView when searching for a way to do batch image conversion, and it happened to be a super fast image viewer that supports many many MANY formats. I don’t actually know of an image viewer that supports more formats, which is probably due to IrfanView’s plugin system, with a default pack of plugins you can easily download and install, allowing you to open pretty much any image format you can find.
The image conversion power of IrfanView is pretty good. You have the ability to select from 17 different output formats, with many options for each. You can even batch process images from a folder or multiple folders, renaming and resizing them at the same time. You can just rename or resize the image files without converting them, if you so wish.
It claims to be able to be able to optimize images. It has a few very limited features, like auto colour balance, however I feel that image editing and optimization is better left to the likes of Google Picasa.
IrfanView does have the ability to scan in images from a scanner. Depending on what you’re doing, a nice lightweight scanner can be rather handy.
A nice feature of IrfanView is the ability to create slideshows. You can select images, folders of images, and even include all the sub folders if you need to. It then compacts it to a single exe or even a screensaver file, which can be used as your screensaver, if you ever wish to do so. The exe can be ran without any installation. You can also burn the slideshow directly to a cd, which I should think is rather handy for some people.
One thing I haven’t mentioned yet, which I really should have done, is the toolbar. The toolbar is simple and intuitive, with open, slideshow, save and delete as the first 4 icons. Next follows cut, copy, paste and undo, essentials. Next button is the information button, which I will discuss next. Followed by zoom in and out, and previous / next image in the current folder, which is very useful.
Finally, the information button, which displays image properties. This includes some standard information, like the file name, directory and full path, but also some really advanced stuff, like number of unique colours, disk size and compression. You may find this interesting information to know.
During the install, you can select associate only images with IrfanView. Watch out for google toolbar, bundled as default, so make sure to uncheck that box. Also, you WILL be wanting the additional plugins, which come in one easy to install package.
There are a few additional plugins you can download not included in the package, like OCR (Optical Character Recognition), which works surprisingly well.
Conclusion : Speedy image viewer that opens nearly any image type, and then some. Powerful batch conversion features, simple slideshow creation, and many many options. IrfanView really is for both those every day users as well as for power users. Works out the box, but can be customized to your preferences like a charm.