After the demise of Firehand Ember, my
previous favorite image viewing program, I began searching for a
suitable replacement. Window’s built in “Picture and Fax Viewer” just doesn’t
cut it for me.
After much experimentation with various products
in this class, I’ve settled on FastStone Image Viewer.
FastStone includes not only basic display and print ability, but
also a number of simple modification tools, a slideshow creator, a
contact sheet creator and more.
At it’s heart, FastStone, like many similar products, is much like a
Windows Explorer tailored for viewing photos. Fire it up and you’ll get
the familiar navigation tree on the left, and images on the right:
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Double click on an image and you can view it full screen or in a
One of what I consider FastStone’s hidden gems is that simply by
mousing over to the left hand side of an image displayed in full screen
view gets you this popup menu:
You can see that there are a number of image adjustment and
modification features at your finger tips, including perhaps the most
used rotate, resize and crop.
Of course if that’s not enough for you, you can configure FastStone
to launch an external program of your choosing with a single keystroke.
In my case, “E” (for External editor) launches the displayed image in
FastStone includes a stand-alone slideshow creator which you can use
to create a Windows “.EXE” file that when run displays a series of
images in slideshow form – a much better alternative than Power Point
for sending and displaying slide shows.
Contact sheets are another popular feature. Simply put a contact
sheet is an automatically generated single image that contains multiple
images within it. Here’s a 2×2 contact sheet containing 4 images:
Contact sheets are a quick and easy way to generate a collection of
images on a small number of printed pages for easy review.
I’ve really only touched on some of FastStone’s features. At it’s
heart it’s a simple and intuitive image viewer, but comes with a set of
easy to use and compelling features as well.
FastStone Image Viewer is
free for personal/home use.
I recommend it.