No shrinking violet

Picture an image-compression tool that does much more.

PicShrink is a handy little image compression utility that does more than just resize digital pictures. It also has basic image-editing features, such as cropping, borders, and the ability to adjust contrast, brightness, and intensity. You can resample images and convert file formats, too. It even makes it easy to add digital watermarks to protect your images from unauthorized use.

Opening the fully functional trial version is a little balky because it cleverly appears as if your only options are to order or register the full version, but clicking anywhere on the startup screen opens the interface. The interface itself is cleanly and logically laid out, and the controls are well labeled and easy to use. The large central preview pane features two tabs, one labeled Container that displays all selected files as thumbnails, and another labeled 2 Windows Up that previews altered images before the chosen operations are performed. A second, resizable preview pane displays the original image. A Profile feature saves your settings so you can apply them to new images.

There are a lot of image editors out there, and many new PCs come bundled with some pretty hefty packages. The great advantage of a compact utility like PicShrink is its simplicity: it can take longer to figure out how to use some big-time image editors than it does to actually do the job with PicShrink. They may do more, but chances are good that PicShrink has everything you need most right where you need it. You have 30 days to try this well-behaved download. We recommend it for all user levels.

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