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IrfanView Program Icon


By Irfan Skiljan
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Photo Viewer, Photo Slideshow, Image Conversion, Image Editor, EXiF Info Viewer, Lossless .jpg Rotation, Batch Image Functions, Command Line Image Functions
Free SoftwareStandardFree
Related Software
ACDSee, Windows Photo and Fax Viewer, Gimp, Adobe Photoshop, Paintshop Pro
Related TopicsNone (yet)


IrfanView (pronounced EAR-fan-view) is primarily a lightning-fast photo viewer supporting virtually all image formats. For more than a decade, it has been dependable and free software image viewer. Today, IrfanView is so much more:

  • Create Windows screensavers and slideshows
  • Advanced, automated image conversion
  • Photo transformation effects, both built-in and through Adobe Photoshop Plug-ins
  • Cropping, resizing and simple image editing


Lightweight, Fast Image Viewing

If you are frustrated by how long it takes to bring up a photo on your PC, IrfanView may be for you. It doesn't try to jump through a lot of hoops to show you the picture (unlike Windows XP). It displays your photo almost as quickly as it can read it in.

Want to browse other photos in the same set? Just use the space bar. Want to see your picture full screen? Just press the Enter key.

IrfanView's simplicity makes it extremely effecient.


Create Portable Screensavers and Slideshows

IrfanView has two ways to create a single-file slideshow that you can take with you. These slideshows are playable on any Windows computer. You can even add MP3s as background music.

The first type creates an "executable" file. Just double-click the file to play your slideshow. While its playing, you can use the arrow keys to move back or skip ahead in the slideshow.

The second type of slideshow is a Windows compatible screensaver. To install the screensaver, right-click on the file and select "Install" from the menu. Your slideshow is now the default screensaver!


Compatible with Every Image Format!

It's a bold declaration and it's very close to the truth! If you have a picture file that you can't seem to open, IrfanView will probably display it.

Not only does it open your standard JPEG, GIF and BMP files, but it opens images that Windows can't on its own. These include Cannon Raw files (CRW and CR2), Photoshop files (PSD), Icon files (ICO), PaintShop Pro (PSP) and Kodak Photo CD (PCD). The IrfanView web site has a complete list of files it is compatible with.


Some Features Require Learning Curve

IrfanView doesn't shy away from technical terms, doesn't hide advanced options and has accumulated a great number of features over the years. As a result, learning some of its features can be intimidating.

The help is pretty good, though. And I plan on writing some step-by-step articles. If you're willing to spend some time learning, you will really get a lot out of IrfanView.


Modify One Image or a Batch of Them

IrfanView gives you the ability to crop, resize, apply effects and covert to different file formats. Providing these features in a free program is very nice.

What's downright generous is IrfanView's "batch processing" function, which allows you to apply these features to multiple pictures in one swoop. Just give it a list of images, tell IrfanView how you'd like to modify them (make them smaller, for example) and off it goes. I don't know of any other free Windows program that offers this.


Not Vulnerable to Photo Viruses

IrfanView uses its own algorithms to display your photos. This code is fast and is independent from similar code built-in to Windows (called the Graphics Device Interface or GDI).

In 2004 and 2005, viruses we're being transmitted through JPG and WMF files that targeted flaws in the Windows GDI. Since IrfanView doesn't rely on the GDI, it is and always was immune to image files containing these viruses.


EBay and Google Plug-Ins Support Author

When installing IrfanView, it gives you the option to install the Google toolbar and an E-Bay plug-in. These are free, they are not spyware and installing them rewards the author, Irfan Skiljan. Unless you change the default option, they will be installed.


Originally Published:  Thursday, August 11, 2005, 5:00 PM PT

Last Updated:  Friday, July 8, 2011, 3:14 PM PT

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