[Windows] Best free image viewer — IrfanView vs XnView vs FastStone vs Picasa vs Zoner

Whether it is a photo/image that you took or created yourself, I’m sure that most of us out there have built up quite an impressive collection of digital images over the years. Many of these images hold precious memories or have some sort of sentimental value to use. Regardless of the value of our images, having a great image viewer is an asset, as it allows us to easily navigate through our photos and manipulate them with as little hassle as possible.

Such an important aspect of our digital lives can not be taken for granted and as such we will be covering the Best Free Image Viewer for Windows. A variety of factors were taken into consideration when deciding the best program but user friendliness and useful features weighed in heavily on the decision. Yes load speeds are important and how well images are rendered is also very important but all of these viewers do a great job hence the focus on features.

Without further ado, here is dotTech’s take on the Best Free Image Viewer for Windows.

This review is part of our Best Free Windows Software section. Check out more articles on the best free Windows programs from here.

Table of Contents [Irfanview vs Zoner PhotoStudio Free vs XnView vs Picasa vs FastStone Image Viewer]

Best Free Image Viewer

IrfanviewProgram Name: IrfanView

Developer: Irfan Skiljan

Download Size: 1.77MB

Version Reviewed: 4.36

Supported OS: Windows 8, 7, Vista, XP

Portable Version Available: Yes

Bloatware/Crapware/Opencandy During Install: No


  • Support for an extensive number of file formats including audio and video formats
  • Simple to use
  • Basic image editing capabilities
  • Image conversion capability along with batch processing
  • Relatively light on system resources
  • Has many features beyond simply image/photo viewing


  • Some of the features require the downloading of plugins via the IrfanView webpage, which is not a major con but some people may find it annoying


Irfanview is extremely simple to use and is packed with lots of features. Its simple interface allows users to relatively quickly find all of the various options and features.

By default, IrfanView displays one photo at a time but by going to Files and then Thumbnails or by pressing the t button, you can display a separate window which displays images in the current folder as thumbnails and allows for the browsing of other image containing folders.

I did say that IrfanView is packed with features so let me immediately begin talking about them as well as the wide variety of file formats supported in Irfanview.

IrfanView includes support for an extensive number of file formats including BMP, JPG, GIF, TIFF, PSD, EPS, PNG, PCXX, MP3, AVI, MOV, ICO, LWF, JPG2000, PSP, SWF, CLP and XPM. A more comprehensive list can be viewed here.

Getting on to the features, one of the probably more popular ones is the well known slideshow feature. It allows us to view a selection of photos without manually advancing from one photo to the next. Another powerful feature is the batch conversion/batch renaming feature which comes in quite handy and cuts out having to work on files individually.

IrfanView also comes with a ‘Paint’ dialog which allows for the following tools to be used on images:

  • Paintbrush: Click with the left mouse button and drag in order to paint with the foreground color. Click with the right mouse button and drag in order to paint with the background color.
  • Eraser: Click with the left mouse button ad drag in order to erase with the background color. Click with the right mouse button and drag in order to restore the image after erasing
  • Clone Tool: Copies one area of an image to another. It can be used to remove dust and scratches from a photo. Right click to select the source and left click the area you want to replace
  • Color Replacer: Replaces one color with another one
  • Text Tool: Adds formatted text to the image
  • Shape tools for drawing shapes: line, arrow, ellipse and rectangle tools are available
  • Floodfill tool: This is used to fill areas with color
  • Color Picker: This is used to select colors from an image
  • Straighten/Rotate tool: This is used to straighten images
  • Measure tool: Allows for the measuring of distances and angles

In addition to the Paint dialog, the following actions can be carried out:

  • Create custom crop selection
  • Create maximized selection ratios
  • Show selection grid
  • Show fixed grid
  • Insert text
  • Insert overlay/watermark image
  • Auto crop borders
  • Capture visible window area

Irfanview also offers users the opportunity to alter images in several other manners including orientation related maneuvers such as vertical and horizontal flipping as well as resizing and changing of canvas size. Color alterations can also be carried out through actions such as color corrections and conversion to grayscale. Irfanview is also capable of capturing screenshots and it even allows you to change your desktop wallpaper from directly within the program.

As I mentioned before some functionality is only available after downloading some easily accessible plugins. Some of the extra features which are offered are as follows:

  • Multimedia player
  • Sending of files via email
  • JPG lossless rotation
  • JPG lossless crop
  • Changing of JPG EXIF date/time taken
  • Optical character reader

From the supported file formats list alone, it is quite clear that the functionality which IrfanView offers is simply extensive and it is thus deserving of the title of Best Free Image Viewer For Windows.

Runner Up

Zoner Photo Studio

Program Name: Zoner Photo Studio Free

Developer: Zoner Software

Download Size: 60.36MB

Version Reviewed: v16

Supported OS: Windows 8, 7, Vista, XP

Portable Version Available: No

Bloatware/Crapware/Opencandy During Install: No


Zoner Photo Studio Free has an interface which is very similar to that of XnView but a bit more polished.

By default at the left of the program window is the file browser sidebar while the middle of the screen displays a preview of the currently selected image and the right sidebar displays information about the photo. Thumbnails of the photos stored within the folder selected in the left sidebar are displayed along the bottom of the screen.

The way the program is laid out can be changed by simply selecting any of the following options from the View drop-down menu in the menu bar. The options are:

  • Browser(No pictures displayed at the bottom and thumbnails of pictures in currently selected folder are displayed in the middle of the screen)
  • Preview(Default)
  • Map(offers GPS tagging by dragging pictures onto a map; shows shot locations of all pictures in current folder )

Zoner Photo Studio is compatible with the most popular file formats, including proprietary RAW files produced by cameras from Canon®, Nikon, Olympus, Sony® and more:




Expand the range of read-supported formats by installing additional WIC codecs (for example WebP).

Video formats:


Install MPlayer (third-party freeware) to add support for the following video formats:


Quite interestingly, Zoner Photo Studio offers users the ability to attach audio notes to images and even allows for ratings from 1-5 to be assigned to images. Additionally, images can be labelled using differently colored labels amd GPS data can be assigned, displayed or removed. Images can also be batch renamed.

I quite like the functionality which is offered that allows users to create panorama images as well as 3D images as well as postcards. Users can create slideshows and set the desktop wallpaper and desired orientation from directly within the program. Contact sheets can also be created, as well as cardholders, and images can be sent via email, uploaded to Zonerama, Facebook or to Picasa Web Albums.

Zoner Photo Studio Free also provides users with a fairly solid range of editing features. Some of the major ones are as follows:

  • Rotate & Flip
  • Adjust
  • Effects such as Grayscale and 3D buttons
  • Resize
  • Canvas & Borders
  • Text Overlay
  • Convert File Format(allows for batch conversion)
  • Convert to web JPEG(allows for batch conversion)
  • Quick fikx
  • Levels
  • Enhance colors
  • Adjust color temperature
  • Sharpen
  • Blur

Although Zoner Photo Studio Free closely rivals IrfanView in my opinion, Irfanview’s extensive functionality and its ease of use means that users have access to more features than the average person can imagine.

All in all ZonerPhoto Studio Free is a very capable program and provides all of the features necessary to effectively manage and view your photo collection and more, including the ability to play several video formats.

Honorable Mention 1


Program Name: XnView

Developer: XnView

Download Size: 4.52MB

Version Reviewed: v2.04

Supported OS: Windows 8, 7, Vista, XP

Portable Version Available: Yes

Bloatware/Crapware/Opencandy During Install: No


XnView is a streamlined image viewer which supports a large number of file formats and is above all easy to use.

XnView is a powerful piece of software with support of over 500 image formats including PSD, BMP, GIF, RAW, RPM, PPT, PSP, EPS and PPS. A more comprehensive list of formats supported can be viewed here.

XnView’s user interface resembles that of Windows Explorer so users should feel right at home with it. There is a sidebar on the left which displays the filesystem and allows users to browse various locations for images. Selecting a folder will display the photos in the folder as thumbnails in the main section of the program’s window while selecting an individiual photo will result in a preview being showed in the bottom section of the program window. Double clicking on the photo will expand it and cause the file selection/browsing sidebar to be hidden. Doing this also causes tabs to appear, allowing users to switch between browsing for files and images which have been expanded. In addition to displaying previews at the bottom of the screen, other information can be displayed depending on the user’s choice from the toolbar located in that vicinity. The other options besides Preview are as follows:

  • Properties: this one is pretty self explanatory; clicking here will display information such as file name, file type and resolution
  • Histogram: This option gives a graphical representation of the tonal representation of an image
  • EXIF: Displays information about image files using JPEG compression such as whitebalance values, ISO number etc.
  • IPTC: Displays additional information about a photo such as copyright information
  • XMP: Displays information about the image
  • Categories: Allows photos to be classified under particular categories such as audio, drawings etc.

XnView allows for common features such as rotating either clockwise or anti-clockwise, zooming in and out and slideshows. Other features such as red eye removal, adjusting of brightness/contrast/gamma/balance, cropping and batch conversions/processing are included.

XnView also comes with ‘Paint’ capabilities similar to those of IrfanView allowing for the editing of images with tools such as the popular paintbrush and fill tools. It also allows for several features which allow for the altering of the colors and orientation of images. In addition you can add text or watermarks quite easily to images and make use of various ‘blur’ effects. Several filters are also available to be applied.

There is a Nero Plugin which allows for the burining of slideshows onto a CD. Images can be set as wallpapers from directly within XnView such as is the case with IrfanView.

Please note that by default only the most common formats are available for loading/saving. If you want to have special formats simply go to Options, then General, then Read/Write and select the desired additional formats.

XnView is a strong competitor to both IrfanView and Zoner Photo Studio Free, offering much of the same functionality. Honestly the only area where IrfanView and Zoner really surpass XnView is with their multimedia viewing capability.

With such a wide range of features and supported formats combined with its easy to navigate user interface, XnView is definitely a top image viewer. XnView may be ranked #3 in our review, but it is a top-notch option for image viewing.

Honorable Mention 2


Program Name: Picasa

Developer: Google

Download Size: 14.27MB

Version Reviewed: v3.9.0 Build 136.20

Supported OS: Windows XP/Vista/7/8

Portable Version Available: No

Bloatware/Crapware/Opencandy During Install: No


Google’s Picasa provides an all-in-one stop for the managing of your photos and even allows for simple editing as well as the capturing of photos or videos from a webcam or other video device.

On opening Picasa, it searches your computer and displays photos it finds based on how you have configured it. It does not store pictures it finds in a separate library. Also even if you edit photos with Picasa, the original copy is always preserved.

The operation of Picasa largely revolves around the sidebar located on the left hand side of the program window. The collapsible menus that make up the sidebar are as follows:

  • Albums
  • People
  • Folders
  • Exported Pictures
  • Other Stuff

Picasa automatically scans your computer for photos and videos and allows for them to be categorized them under these menus. Folders represents the folders on your computer. Albums are groupings of photos which you can create from within Picasa without actually altering the location of the original photo. Picasa makes use of facial recognition and is able to organize your photos according to the people in them. It groups together similar faces across your photo collection and you can add name tags accordingly. Based on the scan that is carried out on launching the program, the photos and videos will be categorized under a suitable category accordingly. Although the scanning is automatic, you do have control over the folders which Picasa scans and displays pictures from. In addition to being able to specify exactly which folders you wish to be scanned by first clicking Tools and then Folder Manager, you can also specify the following for any folder on your computer:

  • Scan Once
  • Remove from Picasa
  • Scan Always

In addition you can also choose which file types you wish Picasa to display. In addition to JPEG Files you have the can choose to allow the following file types:

  • BMP
  • GIF
  • PNG
  • TGA
  • TIFF
  • PSD
  • RAW
  • Movies(AVI, MOG, ASF, WMV)
  • Quicktime Movies(MOV)

Picasa supports the following file types:

  • Photos: .jpeg, .tif, .tiff, .bmp, .gif, .psd (Photoshop), .png, .tga, and selected RAW formats.
  • Movies:
    • For general playback in Picasa: .mpg, .mod, .mmv, .tod, .wmv, .asf, .avi, .divx, .mov, .m4v, .3gp, .3g2, .mp4, .m2t, .m2ts, .mts, .mkv. For several of these file types, the correct software is required for playback. Read more about video file support.
    • For use in Movie Maker: .avi, .asf, .wmv, .mpg, .m2t, .mmv, .m2ts
  • Audio (for slideshows and the Movie Maker): .wma and .mp3

Picasa also allows users to import photos to your computer from external devices. Additionally, sharing to Sharing photos to Picasa web albums is supported from directly within Picasa. Simply hit the Share button at the bottom of the screen and follow the prompts. You can also email. Print ad export your photos as you desire.

Picasa also offers users the choice of viewing photos in what is known as edit view which allows for photos to be viewed on a one on one basis and easily edited. There is also the library view which allows photos to be viewed , several at once, in the form of thumbnails and then selected individually as the user desires.

Users also have the choice of displaying either detailed properties, tags, places photos were taken or names of people in the photos in a sidebar on the right hand side of Picasa’s program window.

Two other appealing features are the slideshow feature and the timeline feature. The timeline feature allows you to scroll through a chronological catalog of your photos.

The following display modes are available for the viewing of your pictures:

  • Automatic
  • 16-bit
  • 24-bit(dithered)
  • Remote desktop
  • LCD Whitepoint
  • Projector Mode
  • Show Overflow Pixels
  • Mac Gamma (1.6)
  • Linear Gamma (2.2)
  • Sepia
  • Black and White

Picasa offers some basic but solid editing capabilities under the following categories:

  • Commonly needed fixes(crop, straighten, redeye, I’m feeling lucky, auto contrast, auto color, retouch, text, edit in creative kit, fill llight)
  • Finely tune lighting and color fixes(fill light, highlights, shadows, color temperature, neutral color picker)
  • Fun and useful image processing(sharpen, sepia, black and white, warmify, film grain, tint, saturation, soft focus, glow, filtered black andwhite, focal black and white, graduated tint)
  • More fun and useful image processing(infrared film, lomo-ish, holga-ish, hdr-ish, cinemascope, orton-ish, 1960’s, invert colors, heat map, cross process, posterize, duo-tone)
  • Even more fun and useful image processing(boost, soften, vignettem pixelate, focal zoom, pencil sketch, neon, comic book, border, drop shadow, museum matte, polaroid)
  • Users also have the choice of carrying out a batch edit instead of carrying out one or a combination of the previously mentioned effects on a single photo.

As you can see, Picasa is quite a solid image viewer and if you make use of the various services the Google offers, you will appreciate the effort Google has made to integrate them into Picasa and the seamlessness in uploading to the likes of Picasa Web Albums and YouTube.

Honorable Mention 3

FastStoneProgram Name: FastStone Image Viewer

Developer: FastStone Soft

Download Size: 5.28MB

Version Reviewed: v4.8

Supported OS: Windows 8/7/Vista/XP

Portable Version Available: Yes

Bloatware/Crapware/Opencandy During Install: No


FastStone Image Viewer is another well organized and capable image viewer which provides users with some very useful features.

It supports all major graphic formats (BMP, JPEG, JPEG 2000, animated GIF, PNG, PCX, PSD, EPS, TIFF, WMF, ICO and TGA) and popular digital camera RAW formats (CRW, CR2, NEF, PEF, RAF, MRW, ORF, SRF, ARW, SR2, RW2 and DNG).

The interface is similar to that of XnView and Zoner Photo Studio free with the exception being that the preview section for FastStone is located underneath the file browsing sidebar on the left. This configuration can be altered in order to display the preview on the right hand side of the main program window or so that the browser bar, explorer bar and preview disappear and only the image is previewed. The program is also skinnable.

FastStone also offers some basic image editing capabilities such as:

  • Resizing/Resampling
  • Cropping
  • Adding of text and/or lines
  • Clone and heal
  • Adjust lighting
  • Rotation
  • Border effects
  • Frame Mask
  • Watermark
  • Bump Map
  • Sketch
  • Oil Painting
  • Lens
  • Obscure
  • Adjust colors
  • Adjust Levels
  • Adjust curves
  • Grayscale
  • Sepia
  • Negative

FastStone also allows for the creation of slideshows and for the comparison of selected images. It also allows for the building and splitting of multi-page files as well as the building of contact sheets and image strips.

Batch conversions and batch renaming can also be carried out, timestamps can be changed, JPEG lossless rotations can be carried out and JPEG metadata can be removed.

FastStone Image Viewer’s combination of great features make it an excellent choice for an image viewer. Like all the others mentioned in this review, FastStone Image Viewer may come in at #5 but it is an excellent program.

Other Alternatives

Related Posts

  • Unicode

    The largest con of IrfanView is the lack of built-in Unicode support. And this is not even mentioned in the article. It’s ridiculous nowadays to find programs that dont support it. It requires a PLUGIN (!) for unicode support and you have to explicitly enable Unicode support (!) and even then the support is not at all full. It does not support all characters or in all circumstances. Lots of characters in metadata and files/folders are messed up and one cannot even read the file if there’s a cyrillic character in its pathname! Ask Cyrillic and Polish users…

  • shavi

    XnView > IrfanView >… > Zoner Photo Studio Free

  • TracyT

    Do any of these viewers have an option to identify duplicate images (either exact or, more importantly, similar but different in size)?

  • Victim #1

    Picasa was the worst. That automatic scan had ruined several photos.

  • melen001

    Hi Marc…..

    Thanks for not scolding me ha ha ha….

  • Marc Darkin

    [@melen001] That’s ok. No “hard feelings” on my side. Thanks for reading my review anyway ;)

  • melen001

    Hello MarcDarkin…

    Sorry about that…. yes i got it from your review on Gizmo’s Freeware. Please no hard feelings just a dumb error on my behalf so next time i will give credit on your articles or anybodies else as a matter of fact…. Wasn’t my intent……

  • Marc Darkin

    [@melen001] [@melen001] Sorry I clicked on the wrong link to reply. But my words are still the same. Melen001 just copied and pasted a part of my article from another site.

  • Marc Darkin

    [@BearPup] melen001, thanks for ripping those words from my review of image viewers on Gizmo’s Freeware site. Perhaps you should have given me some credit, anyway.

  • SapioiT

    Next time try to include “nomacs” in your test. I found it better than anything else… nomacs dot org, if you wanna try it…
    And no, I am not related to it in any other way than currently using it!

  • Jimbob

    I was lucky enough to stumble upon Faststone Viewer early on when I was new to image editing. It’s continued to do everything (and more) than I could ask from a freeware editor. (Portable, too!) What wasn’t mentioned was the first-rate tutorial included with the help file. It spurred me to use other options I’d never considered before. Contact with the developer was one-on-one and a pleasant experience.

  • melen001

    [@AT] [@AT]

    THANKS for the comment. I Use FastStone Image Viewer and for finer editing Corel PaintShop Pro 4X. I even have NexusImage Viewer because I just like the clean GUI it has and just happen to fall in love with it. So we all have different opinions on what is the best image viewer and all do a great job.

  • AT

    [@RealBull] With zoner, I wasn’t using it as a viewer but as photo editor. I was evaluating certain functions. I use more than one software to edit my photos. so when my image was moved away by zoner, my workflow got interrupted. As I shoot 500 or more photos at a time, I need to have my own filing system. Any software that doesn’t respect that is not used. In the end I restored the missing file from my memory card. I couldn’t trust the image on my hard drive was untouched (I edit the copies and have a sequential file saves for each stage of editing).

    [@melen001] When you’re pressed form time, trying to figure out what the software is doing is the last thing anyone needs.

  • melen001


    Hi RealBull….

    That’s quit alright, no delay at all.

    and AT…..

    I see that Zoner has caused you a couple of problems. Nothing serious but annoying. I guess you can say that Zoner hijacked your image files therefore you are unable to use them as you please. I have to thank you guys, RealBull & AT, for taking your time to answer my questions and explaining all this to me.

    Thanks and have a great and wonderful day… George

  • RealBull

    Sorry, for the delay. But AT answered your question well.

    Thanks for replying to melen001. Once Zoner associated image files, I couldn’t change the association back to XnView in XnView’s file association settings as if Zoner had “locked-out” permission. Really annoying! Therefore I had to go to control panel to change it.
    You can change the file saving system in Zoner by changing the settings. I was also annoyed when I was saving an image file. Another thing I was annoyed at was that Zoner saves back-up files. Some may make use of it, but I was annoyed at the extra files placed in the folder.
    Besides the complaints I think it still is a great image viewer. If the free version supported 8BF plugins, I would use it more often.

  • melen001


    Thanks for the explanation. Cristal clear and understood. In others words, it sets it self as the default image viewer. Not a bad idea but only if you want that to happen.

  • AT

    [@RealBull] You’re not the only one. It happened to me too. After I changed the file associations back, I found an even worst issue. Whenever I use Zoner to view or edit a file, it moves that file into the program’s working folder thus messing up my filing system. I thought I had lost several files until I found them in the working folder. And the version I used was the giveaway/paid version but not the pro.

    [@melen001] When you double click on a file, it automatically loads a software that uses that file and the uses that software to open the file. For example. Double clicking on a JPEG file will open the Windows Image viewer. You can change it so the next time you double click on a JPEG, Irfanview is used to open the file. That is what file association means. Zoner does this so every file it can open is changed to load in the Zoner software whether you want it to or not.

  • melen001


    Hello RealBull….

    When you refer to “associates your image files without your permission” what exactly do you mean? I would really appreciate if you can be very explicit on the subject. I am not a GEEK and English is my second language. Thank God for “spell check:……

    Hope to hear from you soon….. have a great day…… George

  • RealBull

    [@David Roper]
    You forgot strike 4. It associates your image files without your permission. At least it did it on my computer. It’s annoying.

    I also understand your meaning of FREE. But these days, that term is ambiguous with free software these days.

  • David Roper

    [@Dr. Sheldon Cooper] Okay, I’m agreeing with Dr Cooper on everything. I am too lazy and/or stupid to learn GIMP, that’s why I like Paint.NET. (PN) I’m still trying to learn how to use CLONE STAMP in PN, and I long for a spray can, too.

  • Bluesie-Jazzie

    I can also suggest CoolUtils Photo Viewer – free and handy and similar to many of those mentioned in the post

  • Dr. Sheldon Cooper

    [@David Roper]

    I’ve used Irfanview since the program was created in 1996 and the first thing I do when I set up a computer is to associate all image files and capturing programs with it for quick editing. As far as I’m concerned, Irfan Skiljan is one of the superstars of the internet. I can’t imagine any information systems employer reading his resume and not being incredibly impressed when they see what software he created.

    That said, I also use Xnview and Faststone on occasion for their slideshow tools. The slideshow effects in those programs are superior to the Irfanview slideshow. David referred to Paint.net in regard to true freeware. I use Irfanview in conjunction with Gimp. With Irfanview, I can quickly view a file, copy, crop and paste to create a quick collage, and it’s great for resizing and file saving. Gimp is my main go to advanced editing program. It’s so advanced that I don’t even think of Paint Shop Pro anymore. In my opinion, Irfanview and Gimp should be mandatory freeware downloads for those who think buying payware is ridiculous (Add LibreOffice to that opinion for those who think they must have Microsoft Office).

  • David Roper

    Well, I downloaded and tried ZONER. You must install it manually or get CL. first strike. It wants to install in startup, strike two. It requires your email address for “Free” version to install, and I noticed this “Free version” has time limitations. strike three. It does have a beautiful GUI. Very nice and well laid out.

    My idea of FREE is FREE, but I won’t go there again.

    Paint.net and Irfanview (and others) are true FREEWARE and do not play tricks or try to load CL on Newbies’ computers .

    You can guess what I did after three strikes with it.

  • RealBull

    [@G. Watson]
    I believe the main differences between XnView and ~MP version is that MP uses a QT GUI for better cross platform compatibility and has unicode support. I don’t know of any other differences if there are anymore.

    Thanks for the monster review, William. I think that any of the top 3 could win 1st place depending on what is important to the user. I would pick XnView for #1 because I think certain features are more important than others, but someone else may have the opposite opinion from mine and choose a different program for top place. One thing I will mention about Zoner is that the editing feature and tools are far superior than IrfanView and XnView. This feature alone could actually push it to the top. If Zoner’s image editor included a layer system, it would be a decent competitor for other image editors.

    Well, on to the next review…

  • G. Watson

    Nobody has mentioned XnViewMP, yet, which in my opinion is an improvement over XnView.

  • David Roper

    I use IrfanView for loading an image (captured by Printkey 2000) and saving it back out as an ICO file to use. Also for making a panoramic view of three by three photos of my grandchildren to use for my desktop background – with or without frames.

    Of course adding hues and brightness to pictures isn’t bad either.


    William A …again very good, objective, solid review!! All the “winning” browser I tried, really hard to find among them a particularly large differences.

  • Ashraf

    Review has been updated by William. Thanks everyone for the feedback, and enjoy!

  • RealBull

    I think this review will boil down to XnView, IrfanView and FastStone Viewer or Zoner Free version for the top 3.

    Here are some possible runner-ups I’ve used in the past:

    WildBit Viewer
    Fresh View
    STOIK Imagic Free Browser

  • George Melendez


    Hi David….

    Thanks for the complements on Puerto Rico. It is very beautiful indeed. Glad you like NexusImage Viewer, isn’t it just GREAT and like you stated, “simple and clean” like a viewer should be. I know that many will suggest that it doesn’t have all the “bells & whistles” like the others have but we are trying to find a “VIEWER” like ASHRAF asked to, right? So my bid goes to the following…. 1) NexusImage http://www.xiles.net/nexusimage/ and 2) http://www.honeyview.org/ …… Hope that our Dottech friends take a look at these excellent Windows viewers like we have. Thanks David for your input and for sharing you thoughts, have a great and wonderful day. Bye for now…. George ….. CIAO…

  • davidroper

    [@George Melendez] Thanks and I did download it. It is very simple and clean looking. Exactly what a Viewer should be.

    I have been to your beautiful Country and enjoyed the food and wine. Now I have to look forward to your PR suggestions on DotTech. Thanks.

  • George Melendez


    HELLO davidroper…

    Hi Mr “One Step”, just joking…. ha ha ha… Hope all is good down your way. Here in Puerto Rico it’s been very hot the last couple of days, AC on 24 hrs a day. Just want to say that maybe you should take a look at NexusImage http://www.xiles.net/nexusimage/ I was very surprised and delighted just how simple and fast this “piece of art” is and actually have it running as my default viewer on Windows 7. It amazes me the simplicity and the “eye catching” beauty of this viewer that I had to place it as my default viewer, sorry Microsoft (sorry Bill). Just hope that you and all the Dottech buddies take a look at this “GEM”…. I have falling in love with it… I’m sure that you have experienced that kind of “emotion” before…. HA ha ha…

    Well, bye for now & please let me know what you think of NexusImage http://www.xiles.net/nexusimage/ …CIAO…

  • davidroper

    [@HROCH] hey, Buddy, don’t apologize for that. I have to apologize sometimes for my biting comments that I think are funny but backfire when written. My wife calls me “One Step” and made me a Tee shirt with it on the front. I always go one step too far.

    Your English is just fine and I and others cannot speak your native language a bit probably. DotTech is a friendly forum to hang out in, and exchange ideas and I liked your HoneyView suggestion.

    Whew, I made it through and didn’t insult anyone.

  • melen001



    I had that same way of thinking while I was using XnView until I was lead to try Honeyview V3 http://www.honeyview.org/ and later discovered NexusImage http://www.xiles.net/nexusimage/ and both of these viewers made me change my mind in a radical way. What ASHRAF suggested was that we where to offer “viewers” for him to consider reviewing. That’s right, he said VIEWERS and these two, Honeyview and NexusImage are easy to use and SIMPLE VIEWERS, nothing more, nothing less with very few features and options. You use them just to VIEW, that’s right, just to see your pictures. Check them both out especially NexusImage, simple and right down beautiful designed for Windows. But I guess it all comes down to what we prefer and just what makes our eyes twinkle with joy. Bye for know…….


  • melen001


    That’s okay, no problem, I understand and actually English is my second language so I know what you mean. Like I have stated many times before, ” thank God for ‘spell check’ “… ha ha ha…

    Have a great day HROCH



    I sincerely apologize to you and all, but English is not my native language. Originally I wanted to say – that it’s portable. The cause of this mistake is GoogleTranslator …………….

  • melen001


    Cross Platform and why it’s important……

    Let me make this easy….

    It’s the ability of a programming language, lets take Java for example, that enables a programmer to develop software for several or should we say, different competing platforms (Windows, Mac, linux) by writing a program only once and it will work on all of them. Cross-platform software can run on most or all systems with very little or, in some cases, no modification at all. It’s also know as multi funcional platform. So I hope that I was clear in my explanation and if I wasn’t then please excuse me. English is my second language. Thank God for spell check….. Bye and hope to hear from you…CIAO


  • melen001


    Hi HROCH….

    I have started using the Honeyview image viewer and it’s exactly like you described, it’s simple, fast and light on my system. It really does a very good job and I have set it as my default viewer just to see how it performs. I have to say that Honeyview is an excellent image viewer and can’t get over the idea just how fast it works. And like someone mentioned in one of their comments, “we are looking for a ‘ image viewer’ ” so kodos to Honeyview. Thanks for the info on this “gem”…….. One other thing, are you asking if it’s “portable”? Well right on the site’s download page is a portable zip version available. CIAO…..



    I actually use a small, fast and simple viewer Honeyview http://www.honeyview.org/. Perfectly shows the GIF images. Is it portable

  • melen001


    Cross – Platform

    Hi Davidroper…..

    Glad that my explanation concerning “cross-platform” was of your approval and that I was able to explain it in a simple and straight forward manner. And, yes, cross-platform software is readily available now a days so you shouldn’t have any issues and just have to verify that the software you want to use states that it’s Cross-Platform Certified for what ever OS you want to use it on. So that’s it. Thanks and don’t hesitate to contact me for what ever might come up. Hope to hear from you…..


  • davidroper

    [@melen001] Good point. If it works well in Windows and cross platform, then some of us who are thinking about leaving “Bill’s” world can move to Linus’ world and still have it to use.

    Your English is fine, BTW.

  • melen001


    Cross Platform

    Let me make this easy….

    It’s the ability of a programming language, lets take Java for example, that enables a programmer to develop software for several or should we say, different competing platforms (Windows, Mac, linux) by writing a program only once and it will work on all of them. Cross-platform software can run on most or all systems with very little or, in some cases, no modification at all. It’s also know as multi funcional platform. So I hope that I was clear in my explanation and if I wasn’t then please excuse me. English is my second language. Thank God for spell check….. Bye and hope to hear from you…CIAO


  • melen001


    “Work for the company”….

    Hi Neil….

    Well Neil, I do not work for “the company” and I assume that your comment refers to my little review of XnView. Let me explain, one, I am not a GEEK nor a TECHIE or anything like that. And two, I’m just a normal PC user with a very modest notebook (Toshiba Satellite P845-S4200) and just maybe a little more knowledge than the average user, nothing more, nothing less. I do like to experiment with new software and especially beta versions but that doesn’t make me a GEEK and much less work for “the company” as you expressed. No harm done and thanks for the complement, I take it in that manner. Bye and hope to hear from you soon….. George

  • Jeff

    As soon as an image is loaded in XnView, you can see its major advantage over IrfanView just by rotating the mouse wheel. You’ll notice that allows you to zoom in and out easily–no key combinations, or stepping incrementally, required. Since this category is about “viewing” images, I can think of nothing else more important that being able to quickly and easily see all or part of the image at the scale I like. Since XnView also opens almost every file type imaginable, I switched from IrfanView as soon as I found it.

  • hjs

    Irfanview is my default Viewer for OPEN.
    FSViewer is my favorite for browsing and simple processing.

  • davidroper

    [@vandamme] But Linux users can run a Windows Session inside the penguin if they want Irfanview.

  • [@BillS41] Because there are still people who use Windows.

  • melen001

    Hello BearPup….

    I actually sometimes use the Windows viewer also. When I just want to see my pictures and nothing else I use it. There are times when the most basic & simple tools are the best, when I’m in the “don’t want to hassle” mode, that’s when I use it. Don’t need any extra features just to scroll and view when I’m a little bored: you get it? Well there you go, can’t wait to review the blog on “Best Viewers”, wonder which ones will come on top. We’ll see pretty soon.Ciao for now…..

  • Steinerman

    As far as I’m concerned IrfanView is the tops hands down. I’ve used quite a few and have yet to see any other free program come close.

  • RealBull

    Zoner has a free version. After the 30-day trial run ends, it becomes a Free version.

  • davidroper

    [@kevbo] Freezing and stuff like that i would make me dis-own it as well, but even from version 1.0 which used to fit on a 1.44 diskette, it has never acted funky like that with me. Wonder what it was? Batch renaming photos and moving them, I use FlexRena. Freeware too.

    I am designing a new Freeware program for us all to handle Photos. My friend Mr.Hoe in Singapore is writing it for me as I have lost the ability to keep up with writing a Windows program. I was a good DOS PowerBasic programmer they tell me.

    For editing and switching heads on a body and even recoloring just one pixel for touchups, I have just found easy to use Paint.NET freeware fabulous.

    Good luck, my DotTech buddy.

  • davidroper

    [@RealBull] But the subject is about FREE viewers and Zoner is $69

  • RealBull

    “Everyone here will probably recommend the one they know best, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the best.”
    Yes, most people will probably recommend what they use the most. But hardcore users like me will know that XnView is th best because they know about features that others don’t.
    Take for example, XnView’s toolbar customizer. You can add any application on the toolbar which makes it a more versatile viewer than the others. This feature strengthens XnView’s weaknesses. XnView on its own is an inferior PDF viewer to IrfanView, but if you add a PDF application to the toolbar, you can browse PDF files in XnView and then open them in your preferred PDF application.

  • kevbo

    I don’t exactly remember now, as it was about two years ago when I switched. I think it would occasionally freeze and then crash, not often, but enough to finally get annoying. Other than that, I thought IrfanView was a great program. I do remember uninstalling and then re-installing it a few times to try and remedy the situation.
    I deal with a lot of photos daily which need to be batch resized and renamed, moved into different folders etc., make minor editing and cropping adjustments; nothing fancy or involved, for the most part. If I need to make more advanced modifications to a photo, I can open that photo with a choice of more robust image editors from within FastStone (although I think IrfanView could do that also.) Occasionally, I need to draw text, etc. on a photo, and FastStone was easier for me to manipulate in that respect, which was the final tipping point. Other than that, I would probably still be using IrfanView, even with the minor glitches. (LOL. I must be getting old, the more I type the more I remember why I switched.)
    I would agree with [@JohnnyG] above. “I guess it boils down to which program you are more familiar with. Everyone here will probably recommend the one they know best, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the best.” And add that it also boils down to what you want an image viewer to do. 90% of the changes I make to photos are minor, so I need a viewer capable of performing those minor edits reliably.

  • KMHamm

    Photoscape. Lots of features, good quick editing for photos (hue/gamma/etc.).

  • RealBull

    I forgot about Zoner Free, which would be my third pick. I’d put it over IrfanView if it could support Adobe 8BF plugins

  • JohnnyG

    After seeing so many recommendations for XNView, I downloaded the portable version and “played” with it for about 30 minutes. Although I couldn’t see any reason why I would prefer it over Irfan view, I discovered that it is a very decent viewer / editor / etc. However, after so many years with IrfanView I see no reason to switch, or even keep XNView on my computer as an alternative. I guess it boils down to which program you are more familiar with. Everyone here will probably recommend the one they know best, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the best.

  • Neil


    You don’t work for the company do you?

  • Neil

    [@John K]

    Agree. The best and easiest to understand that I have encountered.

  • Neil

    Faststone is fantastic. I’ve used it for many years. Has a lot of features. Don’t know about the others.

  • AT

    Irfanview. With the plugins, you can even view RAW files from digital cameras.

  • BillS41

    I use Irfanview. I still do not know all of it’s capabilities.

  • BillS41

    Why is cross platform important?

  • davidroper

    [@kevbo] Not arguing but what was goofy?

  • LeslieMay

    I like the Picasa viewer becuse it is so easy to transfer to the Picasa editing programme to make minor adjustments. Picasa is always my first stop.

  • Verve


  • kevbo

    I used to use IrfanView, but it would occasionally get goofy, so I switched to FastStone, which I find more convenient and useful.

  • Jeanjean

    XnView of course.

  • davidroper

    Betcha can’t review all the features in Irfanview. Betcha betcha betcha.

  • Seamus McSeamus

    Another vote for XnView. Very fast with lots of features, and portable.

  • John K

    Faststone Image Viewer, anytime.

  • tony



  • BearPup

    For a quick scroll through to determine which photos from a ‘roll of film’ are worth saving, I use Windows Photo Viewer, which has a decent enlargement filter. For comparing a group of images I use FastStone Image Viewer – http://faststone.org/.

    [Sorry about the duplicate post – runaway keyboard shortcuts.]

  • BearPup

    For a quick scroll through to determine which photos from a ‘roll of film’ are worth saving, I use Windows Photo Viewer, which has a decent enlargement filter. For comparing a group of images

  • melen001

    Take a look at XnView, it’s probably the most versatile because it can read over 500 types of graphic files and convert to more than 50 different formats. It displays images quickly and may be viewed in full screen, as slideshows or thumbnails. It’s quite capable at processing images; you can rotate, crop, resize, adjust brightness, color, apply filters and effects, create web pages and more. Most of these operations can also be carried out as a batch, which is good for converting and or processing multiple images with custom features.

    You can fit the thumbnails to your preferences with lots of layouts and sizes; this is really helpful when viewing panoramic images in preview. It has instantaneous hotkey, wheel zoom, and dragging images is quiet smooth. It also allows for multiple images open at the same time and running multiple instances of the program if you wish to view in different windows. It supports drag and drop, color management, lots of plug-ins, available in more than 40 languages and has cross-platform support including Linux & Mac OS.

    So take a look at this little gem… And it’s free… there are 2 versions, 1- Minimal, no add-ons or plug-ins and, 2- The standard version.


    “XnView is an efficient multimedia viewer, browser and converter.
    Really simple to use! Support of more than 500 image formats.
    No Adware, No Spyware”… Give it a shot……

  • XnView is cross-platform.

  • JohnnyG

    You said “viewer”, and not “organizer and viewer”, right? The best “viewer” in my opinion is IrfanView.

  • weylin
  • Mags

    [@Jaap] Ditto

  • Jaap


  • Ashraf
  • RealBull

    There can only be one in my opinion…XnView.

    But IrfanView is a good alternative.