Monday, 26 November 2012

FastStone Image Viewer

If you need to change the brightness or crop a photo there's a lot of choice for programs. Of course PhotoShop and similar are available but you need to buy them and perhaps you'd prefer something smaller and quicker? 

Lately I've been using FastStone Image Viewer and I've been impressed. It's free, small and fast. There's even a version you can use directly from a USB flash drive without installing it - perfect for taking with you where ever you go. 

It loads quickly and you can browse through photos easily. Double click an image and it'll go full screen. Move the pointer to the edges of the screen for options. Those options are also available from the main window too. What a lot of options it has!

The crop tool is one of my favourites, it does something that every crop tool should do and it does it very simply (take note Adobe!). It gives you the option of selecting standard sizes such as 1024x768 and ratios like 1:1, 3:2, 16:9, etc. This is very useful, especially if you are preparing images for use on an electronic photo frame or for printing to 6x4" photo paper for example. 

You can resize photos and there's even an e-mail feature that will prompt you to resize before sending. There are batch functions too; rename multiple files at once or convert a number of files to a different format. There are a few more unexpected features, one I really like, it's called Image Strip Builder. The image below was made with this feature:
You can quickly add several photos together in a horizontal or vertical strip. This could be useful for web design for example. 

OK, none of its features are ground breaking but it is nice to have in a product that calls itself an image viewer. This is the most impressive thing about FastStone Image Viewer, it's much more. I haven't listed even half the features of this software here so please go and try it for yourself. Even if you are a PhotoShop guru I'm sure you'll find this program useful for those moments you need to do something simple and fast. 

FastStone Image Viewer can be found here:

Recommended: 9/10

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