There are tons of free photo-editing tools out there, and most try to stand out by taking a particular approach to the job. Some offer enough effects and image-processing tools to almost qualify as Photoshop stand-ins. Others focus more on making it as easy as possible to sort and keep track of your snapshots and other digital images. That's the approach taken by PicaJet Photo Manager. While it offers basic image-editing tools, its real mission is to offer maximum organizational capability; it gives you numerous ways to sort, file, and annotate your photos, as well as some interesting extras like free Flickr and Fotki plug-ins and a unique Send-to-Mobile feature for sending images to your cell phone.
One of PicaJet's installation options is to associate it with Windows Explorer, which we selected. The program's sleekly skinned interface includes a modified tree view with an interesting paper-clip-like function. We added some photos via the Import command, which not only accesses system folders but also scanners, digital cameras, and CD/DVDs. PicaJet also imports all available image information, including image keywords from the source site displayed in their original language. We were impressed with the range of options PicaJet gave us for organizing our images. We were able to tag, sort, and edit images by date, size, and name, of course, but also Imported Time, EXIF data, Caption, DPI, and more. Though it doesn't offer a lot of fancy tools for modifying images, it does have a Fix Image tool that let us easily adjust hue, saturation, contrast; sharpen, blur, and crop the image; fix red-eye, and more. It also has batch resize and conversion tools. In fact, while PicaJet claims not to offer much in the way of image editing, it actually packs most of the tools most users need most of the time. It even has some neat extras, such as slideshows, skins, and a Web Photo Gallery feature that made it easy to set up and export Web-based galleries.
PicaJet is one of the better photo organizers we've encountered at any price, and one of the very best by virtue of the fact that it's freeware. While its core competency is organization, it actually packs more useful image-modifying tools than it lets on, and in an easy-to-use package.