Released 23rd December 2016
Like its sibling, FastStone Capture, FastStone Image Viewer has a beautifully designed interface, which is intuitive and easy to use. Like Google’s Picasa2, it can be used to browse the images on your hard drives, and like IrfanView it can be used to apply special effects, adjust colours, resize images, convert file types, etc. It is free for home use, but £34.95 for commercial use (compared to only €10 for IrfanView).
Added "Design and Print" (press Alt+P), which allows you to print multiple images with text and effects on one page
When you double-click on a thumbnail, the image is displayed without any toolbars cluttering the screen. The mouse cursor becomes a magnifying glass, which you can click to zoom in to the image, and drag to pan the zoomed image.
Move the mouse up to the top edge of the screen and a taskbar pops up for browsing to other images. On the left of the taskbar is a droplist, showing only the directories on your drive in which images are stored. On the right of the taskbar are icons for browsing and working with images, and below is a scrolling pane with thumbnails of the images in the current directory. Move the mouse back down, and the taskbar disappears. This saves time and reduces the risk of RSI.
Move the mouse over the left edge of the screen and another taskbar pops up for modifying the image.
Choose from many options to save the image in different formats, copy it to another directory or drive, show a slide-show, or edit the image in another program (any installed program can be added to the menu).
Rotate, flip, or resize the image using one of several resampling methods.
Change the canvas size or crop the image.
Open the Text Board for adding notes and labels to the image, just as you can in FastStone Capture.
Adjust the brightness, contrast, or gamma of the image. Modify Hue, Saturation, or Lightness; reduce the number of colours, sharpen or smooth the image with a Gaussian blur. Adjust tonal ranges using the Histogram.
Apply any of the many special effects to the image. Add a vignette or drop-shadow, remove red-eye, convert the image to grayscale or sepia.
Undo and redo any of the actions you have applied, before saving the modified image under a new name. If you browse to another image, you will be asked if you wish to save any of the changes that you have made, unless you have already saved it as a new image.
Mouse over the right of the window to show the image information taskbar. The top pane displays file information — filename, path, type, size, date/time, pixels and colour depth, and print size at the current resolution.
Digital camera users will find the EXIF details useful to display details of the camera settings in use when the picture was taken.
Since I don’t use a digital camera, I have added a JPEG comment to an image to show how the comment field can be used. This information is saved with the JPEG image and can be viewed in other programs such as IrfanView.
Mouse over the bottom edge of the window to display another taskbar. This has a collapsible navigator for panning large images, and tools like those on the top taskbar for browsing and managing images. The tools from the left taskbar for cropping, resizing, and adding text to images are also available.
Bottom taskbar (left)
Bottom taskbar (right)
The F12 function key will bring up the settings dialogue, where there are extensive options for configuring the image browser. The Thumbnail tab (illustrated) allows the user to define the size and layout for the thumbnails. Other tabs show options for the image viewer, the magnifier, JPG export quality, RAW Camera images, Dual monitors, Colour management, File Associations, Favourite directories, External programs for editing images, and the music to play during slide-shows.
What I like most about FastStone is the careful thought that has gone into the interface design. No unnecessary mouse-clicks means that your work-flow is not being constantly interrupted to respond to dialogues. For example, the zoom tool in fullscreen mode — one tool does it all. Click to zoom in, move the mouse to pan, release the mouse to return to fullscreen.
Although the program is very feature-rich, it is not at all hard to learn. One barely needs to open the one page help or the seven page “documentation.” Tool-tips, clear icons, a choice of skins, and ergonomic design, ensure that new users will be up and running in a few hours, and fully conversant with the program within a week or two.
Released 6th January 2017
Another useful free utility from FastStone. Though it doesn’t support as many image formats as IrfanView, it supports the most popular image formats — BMP, CUR, GIF, ICO, JPG, JPEG2000, PCX, PNG, PPM, PSD, EPS, TGA, TIF, and WMF. It is dedicated to batch operations.
The Settings dialogue for each file format shows the output options available for that image format. For JPG images the compression quality can be set with the slider, or the compression of the original image can be used if possible.
The photometrics (colour space) and quality of colour subsampling can be chosen.
If the “progressive” option is checked, the image will be built up in several passes (useful for large images on slow connections as the user gets a quick preview before the whole image is downloaded).
IPTC and EXIF data can be retained, or discarded to reduce file size.
The other image formats each have similar options to select colour depth, compression quality, or to select transparency and interlacing where applicable. The BMP format can be RLE encoded, the PNG format can be compressed with
The file renaming feature offers flexible renaming options as shown in the dialogue below:
It has a simple interface for selecting options for resizing, cropping, changing colour depth, etc. Enable a checkbox to enable each option to set its parameters. Save a group of options for reuse.
Resize: The first option — In Pixels — is well suited to creating wallpaper images. Select from a range of common monitor sizes on the drop list or set custom values.
The “In Percentage” option can be used for resizing photographs to fit web pages or to reduce the size for emailing.
“Resize based on one side” lets you resize images based on the width, height, long side, or short side. Each option offers the wide range of resampling filters shown in the screen shot.
Rotate: Rotate the image 90° left or right, 180°, or Flip the image horizontally or vertically.
Crop: “In Pixels” is used to crop to standard screen sizes, centred on the image by default, or set a specific offset from the top left corner. “In Paper Size” will take account of the image’s resolution. “In Aspect Ratio” will crop images as large as the chosen aspect ratio permits.
Canvas: Increase the canvas size on any or all sides, or set a new size in pixels or as a percentage of the original image size.
Colour Depth: Select from a range of standard colour depths: 16.7 million (24-bit), 256 (8-bit), 128 (7-bit), 64 (6-bit), 32 (5-bit), 16 (4-bit), 8 (3-bit), 4 (2-bit), or 2 (1-bit).
Adjustments: Change brightness, contrast, and gamma; hue, saturation, and lightness; or red, green, and blue values. Convert the image to grayscale, negative, or sepia. Apply the changes before or after resizing if that option is also selected.
DPI: Set the image’s horizontal and vertical resolution.
Text: Add overlay text to the image, using variables for image Width, Height, File Name, File Date/Time, or EXIF data: Camera Make or Model, software, Date/time, Comment, Exposure Time, Exposure Program, Exposure Bias, F Number, Max Aperture, ISO Speed Ratings, Flash, Focal Length, 35mm Equivalent, or Metering Mode.
Watermark: Apply a watermark image with variable opacity to stamp the image with a custom image. Set the offset from any corner, or the centre of the image.
Border: Add 1, 2, or 3, frames and a drop shadow to create a picture frame border. Vary the width and colour of each frame, or create the frame within the current edges of the picture using transparency to let the image show through the frame.
Page last updated on 25 January 2017