File viewer plus

Open and view a wide range of files with this versatile, compact program.

Universal Viewer Portable is a free application that can open and display a wide range of files, including text, hex, binary, and Unicode files of unlimited size. It opens nearly all image and graphics formats as well as multimedia files, plug-ins, Internet-compatible files, various encoded files, and even Office files via the associated Navigation Panel shareware. It can also be integrated with Windows' context menus and some popular file managers such as Total Commander.

Universal Viewer has a small, efficient interface with toolbar icons clearly depicting their functions. We quickly browsed to and opened a wide range of files, including text, image, and video files, the latter playing within the Universal Viewer interface just like in a standard media player. Plus and minus icons on the toolbar quickly enlarged or reduced the file view, and a handy Plugins icon let us configure add-ons from a wizard-like pop-up. Likewise, the Settings icon opened a tabbed dialog that let us configure the interface, font, colors, and text; associate and exclude file types; configure multimedia playback; and even configure custom window heights for certain file types. Another useful feature is the ability to copy, rename, and delete files from the main view, though some of those functions are associated with the Navigation Panel, which adds a small Windows-like tree view and various functions, for a price. Toggling open the Navigation Panel from the main interface showed it to be a compact split interface combining a tree view and a selection display, with easy access to drives, the Start menu, and a drop-down directory view. A nag message atop the interface indicated a 15-day trial, after which the Navigation Panel would cease to function.

Universal Viewer Portable is freeware with no restrictions, other than those functions associated with the shareware Navigation Panel. Universal file viewers are handy tools, and Universal Viewer Portable seems like a good one on its own merits.

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