How to Use Photoshop Plugins in Irfanview

Use Free and Commercial Photoshop Plugins in Irfanview

It is possible to use many Photoshop-compatible plugins in Irfanview, the free pixel based image editor. Photoshop plugins are files with a .8bf extension and  the functionality to install them in Irfanview isn't included by default. However there are a few freely available Irfanview plugins that extend the application in this useful way. This tutorial will show you how easy it is to download and install the necessary plugins to make this possible.

Download the Plugins

The Irfanview website has a page dedicated to plugins for the application. You can download all the available plugins as an executable file that will make the installation almost completely automatic, but for the purpose of this tutorial, we'll just download the files needed to install Photoshop plugins. These are included in a ZIP file called iv_effects.zip, though do note that some older .8bf files may require a couple of additional files and we'll download and install these also for maximum compatibilty. If you scroll down the page, you should see the note about filters requiring the Msvcrt10.dll and Plugin.dll and a link to download them just below.

Install the DLL Files

The two DLL files are also packaged as a ZIP file and these need to be extracted before being installed into Windows.

You can right-click on the ZIP file and select Extract All to save the files to a new folder.

Alternatively, double clicking the ZIP folder will open it in a Windows Explorer window and you can click the Extract All button there. Once extracted, you can move or copy them to the System or System32 folder – you can choose either and they don't have to be copied to both folders. On Windows 7, you can find these folders by opening your C drive and then the Windows folder.

They will probably be located in a similar location on earlier versions of Windows.

Install the Plugins

The contents of the iv_effects.zip should also be extracted in the same way as before.

Then you'll need to open the Plugins folder within the Irfanview application folder. On Windows 7, you will need to open the C drive, then Program Files, followed by Irfanview and finally the Plugins folder located there. Now you can copy or move the extracted files from iv_effects.zip into the Plugins folder, noting that any Readme files with a .txt file extension are not required, though they shouldn't cause any problems.

Using Photoshop Plugins in Irfanview

The files that you have installed include some sample plugins, so you can have a go at using this new feature straight away. There are two types of plugins included, Adobe 8BF files and Filter Factory 8BF files and these utilize different interfaces within Irfanview. There is also an interface for using commercial FUnlimited plugins, though we won't cover that here.

Adobe 8BF

If Irfanview isn't already running, launch it now. If it is already running, you may need to restart it before continuing.

To use Adobe 8BF plugins, go to Image > Effects > Adobe 8BF Filters...(PlugIn).

In the dialog that opens, click the Add 8BF filters button and you can then navigate to the folder where your plugins are stored. If you want to use the plugins that came with the download, go to the C drive > Program Files > Irfanview > Plugins > Adobe 8BF and then click OK. If you want to load plugins saved elsewhere, just select the folder and click OK. In each case all the compatible plugins in the selected folder will be added to Irfanview.

Once your plugins have been added, you can click on the one you want to use and then click the Start selected filter button to open the control interface for that plugin. When you've finished using your plugins, just click the Exit button.

Filter Factory 8BF

Filter Factory was an Adobe software product for producing Photoshop filters and these use a different control system within Irfanview.

Go to Image > Effects > Filter Factory 8BF and you can then navigate to the folder that contains your filters and click OK. There are some installed by default at C drive > Program Files > Irfanview > Plugins > Filter Factory 8BF

To use a filter, click on one of the Filter groups in the left hand pane and then select one of the group's filters in the right hand pane. The controls for the filter will now be displayed.

You will find many free filters and plugins online that can help you to easily produce a range of interesting effects. I would advise that you save them inside Irfanview's Plugins folder so that they are all stored in a single location, but it isn't necessary if you wish to use a different location.