Powerful portable photo editor

Edit images and more with this full-featured portable freeware.

We just love portable applications, which let you carry a wide range of useful tools around with you and run them on virtually any Windows PC without having to install them or modify the registry. PortableApps creates portable freeware versions of open source programs designed to be easy to save and run. We recently tried their PhotoFiltre Portable. It's a compact but full-featured digital image-retouching suite. Among its many capabilities are an Image Explorer browser, automatic batch processing, and the ability to import TWAIN data from a scanner or other device.

After we'd selected our installation language and destination, the PortableApps installer saved the program file to a folder we keep just for portable programs. PhotoFiltre's interface is typical of image tools, with a full range of image manipulation and correction utilities in its toolbars as well as a tool palette and color picker in a right-hand side panel. PhotoFiltre functions and behaves much like the vast majority of image editors out there, which are all based on Photoshop to varying degrees. We opened an image, which brought all the applicable icons on the toolbars to life. And there doesn't seem to be much, if anything, PhotoFiltre can't do to an image. We could resize, rotate, and flip images as well as fix defects and alter color balance, tone, and warmth; apply stylistic and artistic effects, textures, borders, and frames; draw, stamp, and add text, shapes, and objects; smudge, sharpen, select, and clone images and parts of images; and even export images as icons. We could also customize much of the program's controls and appearance, open images in Windows Photo Viewer (or other shell viewer) and even perform many corrections automatically. An extensive Help file is augmented by online resources, including a forum.

We were more than impressed with PhotoFiltre Portable, which offers an amazing amount of features and options for portable freeware. It's versatile and capable yet never felt confusing or difficult to use. Naturally, it doesn't do everything Photoshop and other big-box editors can do, but it more than meets most users' needs for a lot less money (as in "no money"). If you like PhotoFiltre but need those extras, there's a Pro version, too.

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