Flip the page

Create virtual photo albums with this basic program.

When we first saw the title of this program, we were hoping that it would help us create the flip books of our youth, those tiny cartoons in book form that were animated by the flipping of the pages. As it turns out, Flip Book Maker Free Version is actually a program for creating virtual photo albums, which in our opinion isn't quite as fun. That said, the program still does a good job at what it's meant for, and it's worth checking out if you miss flipping through physical photo albums in this age of digital photography.

The program's interface is sleek and fairly intuitive, walking the user through the process of creating an album in three steps. Users first select the images they want to include, along with any music, then choose from among 17 themes, including various seasonal and holiday-related options, and finally publish their project as either an HTML or SWF file. The resulting flip book has a cover image, a table of contents, and a page of image thumbnails, followed by pages containing one photo apiece; navigation buttons along the bottom let users page through the book. The program is very easy to use, but it lacks some options for customization; for example, there doesn't seem to be a way to display multiple images on one page. A lot of the options that do exist are hidden away in an oddly placed menu, and we wouldn't have even known they were there if we hadn't checked out the online FAQ. Still, the program is fairly straightforward if you take some time to familiarize yourself with it. It's definitely not the best program of this sort that we've encountered, but it's not bad for a basic photo album maker.

Flip Book Maker Free Version installs politely but leaves a folder behind upon removal. We recommend this program to all users.

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