View and edit images with FastStone Image Viewer

Get a useful set of image-editing tools with this intuitive program.

Despite its name, FastStone Image Viewer is more than just a program for viewing images. It's also capable of performing a fairly significant number of editing functions, which come packaged in an innovative interface. It's no Photoshop replacement, but we think it's a good choice if you need a way to view images and perform basic editing and correction tasks.

At first glance, the program's interface is a bit cluttered; there are toolbars with lots of buttons across the top, and there are panes where you can navigate to particular directories, view thumbnails of the contents, and view larger previews of individual images. The cool part of FastStone Image Viewer appears when you enter full-screen mode; the image is displayed by itself, but moving your mouse to the edges of the screen brings up a variety of tools and options.

Mouse to the right and the image's metadata appears; to the left, a menu appears with tools for rotating, resizing, and adding text, as well as adjusting colors and adding special effects. Mousing to the top of the screen brings down a thumbnail preview of the current directory, making it easy to select a different image, while at the bottom of the screen there's a toolbar with some of the most basic editing options. We especially liked the program's slideshow feature, which makes it easy to create custom slideshows using your own music.

Although most users should be able to figure FastStone's features out without much assistance, there's a 95-page PDF Help file that offers plenty of guidance. Overall, we were impressed with the variety of features that FastStone Image Viewer combines in an easy-to-use package, and we recommend the program to anyone seeking a basic but well-stocked image editor.

FastStone Image Viewer installs a desktop icon without asking but uninstalls cleanly.

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