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Viewing Images with Windows Picture & Fax Viewer and Microsoft Paint

written by: Arvind Arora•edited by: Michele McDonough•updated: 11/20/2008

Windows Picture & Fax Viewer and Microsoft Paint are the most basic image viewing software applications that come bundled with Microsoft Windows XP. In this article, we will discuss what features these applications offer to you and what you can do with them.

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    Viewing Images in Windows Picture & Fax Viewer

    Windows Picture & Fax Viewer is the default image viewing software application bundled within a Microsoft Windows XP installation. Whenever you try to open an image file, your Windows XP PC opens the file within this application. The Windows Picture & Fax Viewer offers various features to you, such as rotating an image according to your needs. It also provides an 'Actual Size' and 'Best Fit' button so that you can view an image in its actual size. If it is too large for your monitor resolution, it can be zoomed out to fit the screen. You can also zoom in or out from the image with the help of buttons provided for that. The Windows Picture & Fax Viewer also lets you print the image in a number of pre-defined formats including Full page print, 8x10 inches, 5x7 inches, 4x6 inches, and 3.5x5 inches.

    Windows Picture & Fax Viewer supports a wide array of image formats from bitmap image formats such as JPEG, GIF, BMP, TIFF, and PNG as well as some vector image formats such as WMF and EMF. Interestingly, the application also lets you preview the Windows icon files with an .ICO extension, which are used to provide you the visual identity of a file format. For example, you can identify all the Microsoft Word files with an icon that shows a big sized alphabet 'W' enclosed within a square.

    You can also save your image file through the Windows Picture & Fax Viewer to a number of image formats, so it also acts as an image converter for you. For example, you can open a JPEG file in Windows Picture and Fax Viewer and save it from within the viewer as a BMP, GIF, TIFF, or an PNG image file. There is also a button to edit the image, but instead of enabling you edit the image right within Windows Picture and Fax Viewer, it opens the image file in Microsoft Paint where you can edit and modify it.

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    Viewing Images in Microsoft Paint

    Microsoft Paint is the default image editing software application bundled with the Microsoft Windows XP operating system. Hence, when you right click the icon of an image file in the Windows XP environment, you get a list of options including an 'Edit' option too. When you click this option, you get the image file opened in Microsoft Paint for you, where you can view it and perform basic edits. The application lets you zoom in on the image, but not zoom out as in Windows Picture & Fax Viewer. Also, within Microsoft Paint, the image can be zoomed in at only four preset zoom levels, namely 100%, 200%, 400%, and 600%.

    Microsoft Paint also supports a number of image file formats for viewing and editing, including all the file formats supported by Windows Picture & Fax Viewer. It can also save the image files in all the image formats supported by the viewer. Regarding ICO files, the application supports previewing and editing the icon files, but is unable to save the files in ICO format. Which means, even if you edit your favorite Windows icon within Microsoft Paint, you still can't save them as your own modified ICO files. But don't worry, there are other Windows XP based applications for doing that. We will discuss those in a separate article.

    Just as with Windows Picture & Fax Viewer, you can print your image files and save them in the image format of your choice, giving you an alternative to convert your image files from one format to another.

Default image viewing applications within Windows XP

Microsoft Windows XP offers various possibilities to users for viewing and modifying images upon their PCs, which include some default image viewing applications built-in within the operating system installation. In this article series we discuss these applications and their features.
  1. Viewing Images in Microsoft Windows XP
  2. Viewing Images with Windows Picture & Fax Viewer and Microsoft Paint
  3. Viewing Images in Internet Explorer and Windows Media Player