Far from being a simple tool to take a quick look at your favorite photographs or other image files, FastStone Image Viewer is a feature-rich image tool that you can use, among other things, to view, edit, enhance, and convert your best shots. With support for all major image file formats (including a number of the most common RAW file types), this tool comes also with extra utilities to create high-quality slideshows, contact sheets, beautifully framed pictures, etc.
The program comes in a multi-paneled interface that displays all folders and image files in the disk or directory selected as thumbnails. You can preview or display in full-screen mode any of the images in the panel just by clicking or double-clicking on it, respectively. The image selected can then be resized, resampled, flipped, rotated, sharpened or blurred, and all its color and lighting levels adjusted to fit your preferences with just a few clicks. You can also apply creative effects (sepia, negative, black and white, etc.), remove those annoying ‘red eyes’ in portraits, as well as add a frame, an annotation, or a shadow to the selected image in the most intuitive way. Regrettably, all of these features can only be applied to one image at a time, even when the effect in question requires but a simple click of your mouse. Users that are more creative can turn to the Draw Board to add to the selected photo from simple lines, highlights, rectangles or circles, to their own freehand drawings.
FastStone Image Viewer is also an excellent tool to tag and manage your photo collection. Its EXIF support will let you know more about your images, and its annotation tool for JPEG files will let you add your own comments to them. Likewise, you can also use this app to make your own creative montages, desktop wallpapers, and even pro-looking slideshows complete with a soundtrack and a wide range of transition effects. Its screen capture, conversion, and contact sheet creation capabilities complete the list of the program’s many virtues. And, what is more, unlike a number of other equally feature-rich image viewing tools, FastStone Image Viewer will cost you nothing as long as you don’t make any commercial use of it. From whatever angle you look at it, this is an excellent addition to anyone’s desktop.