XnView - Free Multi-Platform Graphics Tool

Why You Need XnView - A Free Multi-Platform Graphics Tool

XnView Screen Shot
XnView Screen Shot | View Larger. © S. Chastain

XnView Summary

This fast, free browser is easy to use, highly customizable, and supports a staggering 400 file formats. There's no reason not to have it for those rare and unusual file types, plus all the useful functions it provides such as quick edits and batch processing. Despite being a user for many years, I'm always finding more and more that it can do. It's available for several operating systems--even portable devices.

Unfortunately, the developer has temporarily stopped distributing the Mac version in order to start from scratch on a new multi-platform version.

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  • Impressive number of formats supported.
  • Free for non-commercial or educational use.
  • Highly customizable.
  • Actively developed with enhancements and new features.
  • Available for many operating systems, including Pocket PC and SmartPhone.


  • Some portions of the user guide are outdated (screens don't always match the current version).
  • The Mac version was removed, in order to develop a new multi-platform version.

XnView Description

  • Quickly view images, browse thumbnails, print, sort and manage image, audio and video files.
  • Image editing/manipulation: rotate, resize, crop, adjust color, sharpen, set DPI, fix red eye, add text or watermarks, etc.
  • Special effects: blur, emboss, oil paint, edge detection, enhance, mosaic, add/reduce noise, etc. Supports Photoshop plugins.
  • Batch processing: convert, rename, scan, crop, add text, filter, adjust, and capture screen shots all in batch mode.
  • Web Page creation option for generating simple image gallery thumbnail pages.
  • Add image descriptions, ratings, and categories. View file properties including EXIF information for digital camera files.
  • Generate file lists, view or save images as a slide show, compare multiple images, rotate JPEGs losslessly, set wallpaper.
  • Many options for customizing interface appearance and behavior, including skinnable toolbars.
  • Available for Windows in 44 languages. Free for non-commercial or educational use.
  • Also versions for Pocket PC, Smartphone, Linux, Solaris. Mac version is in development. Check the site for more versions.

XnView - Free Picture Viewer, Thumbnail Browser and Image Converter

XnView is a fast and free image viewer and converter with support for a staggering number of file formats, operating systems, and languages. XnView can import over 400 graphics formats, and writes about 50. It's highly customizable and doesn't do annoying things like take over all your file associations without asking or leave files in all your folders. XnView gives you the option to create a thumbnail cache or not, but even without caching it is still very fast.

XnView provides a number of very useful functions such as batch renaming or resizing, cropping, generating file lists, removing red eye, creating contact sheets, and a whole lot more. It even offers photo organization tools such as keywords and categories, ratings, captions, and metadata support (EXIF, IPTC, XMP).

In the past I felt like some features were a little weak and the help file was poorly written, but so much has been greatly improved in recent versions. Some users might not understand all the options; although the help file is much better now than it used to be. However, there are still some areas where it doesn't match up with the current version.

For basic image viewing, sorting, browsing and converting, you can't go wrong with XnView. It's certainly worth keeping on hand for those odd file types we all come across from time to time. Some might even find it powerful enough to use for everyday digital photo management. If you ever used ACDSee back in the day when it was still a simple image viewer, XnView will seem very familiar to you.

Windows users may also want to install the XnView Shell Extension, which provides an image preview and conversion options from the right click menu in Windows Explorer.

XnView Screen Shot


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