IrfanView is one of the longest-serving and most popular freeware image editors available. Fast, compact, and flexible, IrfanView is also packed with features and extras, including TWAIN support, frames and borders, and slideshows, wallpaper, and screenshots. IrfanView plays music and videos, too; in fact, it's long been prized for its ability to open a huge range of files. It's also widely customizable, with lots of options.
IrfanView's setup wizard is one of the most comprehensive we've seen, with many options to set, such as which file types you want the program to open. When you install IrfanView, it places two shortcuts on the desktop: one to open the program and another, IrfanView Thumbnails, that accesses a file-browsing tool with an Explorer-style tree view. IrfanView's main interface is just a plain empty window with a toolbar, but don't be fooled: whether you open an image directly in the main window or click an image in IrfanView Thumbnails to open it in a new window, the program's menus offer plenty of choices. The options menu addresses everything from how IrfanView looks to languages, plug-ins, and file associations, in case you want to change the settings you made when setting up the program. We clicked a few thumbnails and opened some images, which IrfanView quickly resized, converted, cropped, and flipped. We could also correct color, remove red-eye, sharpen images, and create negatives. One especially useful feature is IrfanView's lossless JPEG rotator. Many users are unaware that simply rotating a JPEG can reduce its quality, but a lossless rotator can reorient your images without changing the file's quality. Another neat extra creates panoramic images with the help of a simple wizard. Speaking of Help, IrfanView offers all any user could want, with a full manual as well as FAQs, a list of keyboard shortcuts, and online resources.
Fast and capable, this lightweight app is perfect for most jobs, and most users, too. With so many free graphics apps to choose from, you have plenty of options if you have special needs. We can't think of a better go-to image tool to start with than IrfanView.