What you need: Windows 7, 8.1 or 10
There are only two non-microsoft programs I use every day: Chrome and Irfanview. Neither is perfect – Chrome bullies my PC with its slew of background processes, and Irfanview used to bundle a PUP in its installer. But they’ve both managed to make themselves indispensable, and Irfanview is now better than ever – and it’s finally gone junk-free.
Irfanview’s Image menu is packed with quick creative tricks such as panorama and slideshow creation, greyscale conversion and photo effects. It also incorporates a superb Explorer-style library tool called Thumbnails. But where it really excels is in quick image file tasks: converting between formats (dozens of them, including iphone PNG in the new version); resizing (dimensions and resolution); cropping, rotating, printing and more.
Version 4.50 adds several new features. You can now create a ‘Hotfolder’ – Irfanview automatically opens any photo saved to it (although not several at once, annoyingly). The Thumbnails tool now lets you sort photos by megapixels, and the editor now lets you move a selection along a perfectly straight line for extra precision when cropping.
To get version 4.50, click Irfanview in one of the ‘download’ boxes ( 32bit or 64bit). The installer is hosted by Download.com, but at the time of writing it no longer contains unwanted extras. There’s a portable edition ( www.snipca.com/25992), but it’s still version 4.44, and downloading it involves installing the Portableapps tool. The new Irfanview Windows app ( www.snipca.com/25990) is less powerful, but it’s worth a look if you’re running Windows 10.
1 To automatically open the latest photo you saved in a given folder, click Options then ‘Hotfolder (watch folder)...’. Click Browse, navigate to the folder, then click Start. 2 To move a selected area precisely horizontally or vertically, drag your mouse, then press Ctrl+right-click (up and down), or Shift+rightclick (side to side). Press Ctrl+y to crop. 3 To sort photos by megapixels, click File, then Thumbnails (or press T). In the library window that opens, click Options, ‘Sort thumbnails’ and then ‘by Image Megapixels’. 4 Click Image for creative tools, including panorama (a row of several photos), greyscale conversion and filter effects. Click Adobe 8BF Plugins to add more.