"Multi-format graphics viewer and converter"
XnView is a lightweight image viewing application that comes with a unique interface and offers numerous image manipulation features as well. Let’s find out if it deserves to become your default image viewer.
Installation was quick and painless. There are a couple of options to set, but they’re all self-explanatory and shouldn’t pose a problem. No toolbars or adware was bundled, and you can get XnView running without any additional downloads. OS support goes all the way back to Windows 95, and most modern computers should have no issues running XnView.
XnView has a rather interesting interface. A tree navigation sidebar is present by default, and displays all your drives and folders in the familiar Windows style. Once you choose a particular folder, thumbnails of all the images present in that folder are generated in the main window. You can easily manipulate images in the thumbnail view using the context menu that comes up when you right click images. Several options such as conversions and basic transformations are available in the context menu. The browser view also makes manipulating multiple images at a time easy. Double clicking on any image takes it to a new tab, where you get a larger view along with some added options. The interface is intelligently designed and works really well overall, and makes both browsing and viewing images easy.
The well designed interface is definitely one of XnView’s strengths. It makes a lot of information easily accessible, apart from making browsing images as well as applying the same transformations to several images easy. Performance wise, it handles images well. Test images at a resolution of 4320x3240 saved as JPEG files opened instantly, and zooming in and out was smooth, but this may vary across PCs. Format support is comprehensive: over 400 image formats are supported. There are quite a few tools and filters present. The usual level adjustment and cropping options are available and work as expected. There are a number of effects that can be applied, with some unusual ones popping up as well, such as slice and shear. You can also use Photoshop plug-ins to apply filters, which is great because there are virtually thousands of Photoshop plug-ins that can be used to extend XnView’s capabilities. Multiple images are opened up in tabs as opposed to a separate instance of XnView. The range of features may not be as extensive as some other applications out there, but the great interface integrates everything well.
Some tools and features are available only when you double click an image and open up its larger view. This is a small issue in an otherwise great interface, but can be a problem if you need to apply a particular effect to several images and it isn’t available in browser view.
IrfanView is a popular alternative. Its interface can’t match up to XnView’s, but it offers comparatively more features.
XnView’s great interface and reasonably large set of features make it an image viewer that should work great for most users. Highly Recommended.
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