IrfanView is a small program developed single-handedly since
1996. Since then it has evolved into not only a photo viewer, but a
full multimedia player with an immense range of features. IrfanView
(the author instructs us on his homepage that it is pronounced
“EarfanView”) supports a multitude of file formats ranging from your
standard JPEG photos to less commonly used formats such ANI (animated
cursor) or DJVU (an image compression standard used often with ebooks).
It also supports playback of standard video and audio files. On the
IrfanView website, the author claims that IrfanView has been downloaded
over 1 million times a month since 2003.
As of this article, IrfanView is at version 4.10. The installation file
is only 1.1 megabytes and the amount of features crammed into this
small package is very impressive. Some of them include adding basic
paint to your images, exporting a set of images as a slideshow,
converting a batch of images to any specification and renaming the
output files, and even adding some effects.
I find IrfanView to be very good for whenever I need to make any
quick edits to a picture. Since IrfanView is so lightweight, it loads
practically instantly. Cropping is as easy as selecting an area of the
image and hitting CTRL-Y, or going to Edit->Crop. You can even add
effects to the entire picture or just the area you select. Some effects
include blur, sepia, emboss, and “explosion” (sort of a variation on a
pixelization effect). IrfanView also has your standard image correction features such as
rotation, color enhancement, and resizing. You can also perform red-eye
reduction and image sharpening with relative ease. In addition, IrfanView offers a plug-in architecture that allows even more
functionality. Plug-ins can be downloaded separately or all together in
a single package.
Help & Support
IrfanView has a very extensive FAQ section on the author’s website.
Most questions can be answered there. Beyond that, the author offers
his e-mail address but recommends use of the relatively active forums
which have nearly 4,000 posts in the “Support” section alone.
Considering this is a free program, this level of documentation and
community support is a great resource.
Conclusion (5 out of 5)
IrfanView has been over 10 years in the making and it seems to only be
getting better. The author has a detailed history log that shows
incremental improvement for every version he has released. For a
lightweight photo manipulator, there really is nothing more that
IrfanView needs. It’s pretty easy to give IrfanView a 5/5.