Most unobtrusive app for viewing images on a PC screen


What is the most unobtrusive app for viewing images on a PC screen?

In other words, is there a way to view an image with nothing (no headings, buttons, text, icons, etc.) except perhaps a thin border around the edge?

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aadihConnect With a Mentor Commented:
Try Irfanview (slideshow mode).
Dan CraciunConnect With a Mentor IT ConsultantCommented:
What about Windows File Viewer (the default, that ships with Windows) and press F11 or the big button in the middle?
slide showHTH,
Joe Winograd, Fellow&MVEConnect With a Mentor DeveloperCommented:
Hi Steve,
@aadih mentioned IrfanView's slideshow mode, but what you want can also be done in IrfanView without going into slideshow. I've mentioned IrfanView to you before in previous posts, so I won't repeat the download and install instructions. The default setting for IV is to have the status bar, toolbar, menu bar, and caption all enabled. For example, here's a screenshot of IV's View menu being displayed inside of IV with its normal settings:

IrfanView View menu with all View options enabledThe top four options are all in "Show" mode, so it has the status bar, toolbar, menu bar, and caption. I then disabled all of those options and here's what it looks inside of IV with all of those options disabled:

IrfanView View menu with all View options disabledWith the top four options all in "Hide" mode, it has just a thin border around the edge, as you requested.

IMPORTANT TIP: Remember that Alt-Shift-M brings back the menu.

Regards, Joe
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One of a set of tools we are providing to everyone as a way of saying thank you for being a part of the community.

Thanks, Joe Winograd.
Joe Winograd, Fellow&MVEDeveloperCommented:
You're welcome. Btw, I don't mean to disparage IV's slideshow feature. Just the opposite – I like it a lot, including its very nice option that loops on an MP3 file for background music. I use IV's slideshow feature whenever I need a slideshow! Regards, Joe
I know Joe (believe you me, it didn't even enter my mind).  Although I am using IrfanView for so may years now, I never ever looked, seriously, at the drop down menu you provided.

I am thrilled to learn new things, hence my post thanking you.

Thanks, Regards, and Love. :-)
BillDLConnect With a Mentor Commented:
Another option is FastStone Image Viewer:
Available as a "portable app" that can be run from USB Flash Drive:

Run it and do a bit of configuration for the browser view that best suits your needs.  Press the "S" key, Right-Click in an image and choose "Slide Show", or use the Toolbar button of View menu.  This shows a dialog with your slideshow settings.  Set the options and click "Play".  ESC key exits slideshow.

Optionally you can use the "create" menu to pack a slideshow into a single EXE.  This function also exists in IrfanView.  I can't recall if the EXE is a standalone distributable, or whether it depends on the application being installed, but my memory is that it is self-contained.

I did test out a program once which opened images in a very bare format almost like a borderless LightBox overlay as you have on many websites these days, including facebook.  It didn't suit my needs at the time, but if I can find the program again I will let you know.

For slideshows running off a read-only medium (CD) I always used to use a program simply named "Slideshow" by somebody named Lars P. Jeppesen, but this was back to the Windows 98 days.  It takes all of its settings from an INI file of the same name as the EXE (which can be changed), and allows you to set all the options you should need for a slideshow.  It runs fine in Windows XP, but I have never tested it in Windows Vista or 7.  I cannot now find this person's website nor any official downloads.  I will try it in Windows 7 and, if it works, I will attach it and the sample INI file in a ZIP file.
EirmanConnect With a Mentor Chief Operations ManagerCommented:
14 years ago, the best, quickest full screen / thumbnail picture viewer was Acdsee.

It's now called Acdsee Classic (ver 2.43 or 2.44) because it was the best version ever made, and still is (in the opinion of many) the best. It was still on the Acdsee website not too long ago.

You have a folder with 50,000 images and
you want to view them as thumbnails .... acdsee is what you need ... irfanview is incredibly slow.
You want to lash through them at high speed using your page down button ..... acdsee is what you need.
You want a full screen slideshow at 2 / 3 pictures a second acdsee is what you need.
You'll have to find a serial yourself. If acdsee won't sell you one, you can with a clear conscience find one elsewhere.

It works fine on XP & Win7
There is an older free version available, which I never tried...
Dan CraciunIT ConsultantCommented:
Yup, totally forgot about Acdsee. Used it for a lot of years...

IMO, Acdsee is the perfect example of how to kill a popular application: just add bloatware and ignore your customers. The perfect recipe...
MereteConnect With a Mentor Commented:
I like windows photo viewer which you already have in Office
Rightclick an image Preview.
Left click an image open with choose default program choose windows photo viewer.
The Interface is basically windows media player, you can zoom in and out with you mouse love that feature and I can then scroll around the image zoomed in., click next or press play and it plays all your images like a slideshow, rotate any images when you go next it saves that, red X is delete a bad image.
Windows Photo ViewerI hate Ifranviews little red icons. Imagine all your folders with photos looking like a red splat with eyes  
You can see it in the corner of Joe's screenshot above. http:#a39809128 
But if you don't mind that .
Also if you have a camera software what came with your camera?
You can also use windows media center pretty awsome that for playing images or video.
Joe Winograd, Fellow&MVEConnect With a Mentor DeveloperCommented:
> I hate Ifranviews little red icons.

A few comments on this:

(1) IrfanView doesn't own any file types on my system, so I never see it in my file manager. But even if I did, I kinda like the red splat with eyes. :)

(2) Seems like a somewhat trivial reason for not using a fantastic piece of (free!) software.

(3) If it really bothers you to see it in your file manager listings and that's why you don't use the software, change the icon to whatever you want with a resource editor.

Regards, Joe
Seems like a somewhat trivial reason for not using a fantastic piece of (free!) software. ~ Joe Winograd

Like the "traffic cone" of the VLC Media player", eh?  ;-)
Dan CraciunIT ConsultantCommented:
If you use icon view (small/medium/large/XL - according to eyes and/or age) on a modern system you'll not see neither red splats nor traffic cones :)

Just adding to the noise...
With a signal somewhere in there. ;-)
Joe Winograd, Fellow&MVEDeveloperCommented:
> "traffic cone" of the VLC Media player

Yeah, wonder where they came up with that gem.

> If you use icon view

Nothing but Details view here!
Nothing but Details view here!

BillDLConnect With a Mentor Commented:
On a serious note, this is one of the issues people sometimes find with freeware.  There are often some extremely useful functions in well featured freeware, but sometimes you have to hunt because of the quirky way that the creator has added them into the program as it has had more features added.

Some freeware image editors may seem to be devoid of advanced features until you Right-Click on an image or go hunting under a menu that doesn't seem to be the most logical.  For example, in Irfanview you get a side popout "pallette" of tools by clicking the "Show Paint Dialog" (F12) that seems to be illogically placed in the "Edit" menu rather than the "View" or "Options" menus.

I used to set IrfanView as the associated program for some file extensions that didn't open in my other image editing applications, but now I don't have it associated with any extensions and just use the Open With option.  When I used to have a handful of extensions associated with Irfanview I didn't like the masked red roadkill icon either, until I found where to change it.

Options menu > Set file associations
Options menu > Properties/Settings > Extensions section.
Click the "Icons" button at the right and a new dialog opens.
I like the "boobies" one, but look at where the arrow is pointing.  As long as you have the "icons" plugin installed (you will have the file: C:\Program Files\IrfanView\Plugins\Icons.dll), if you have any file extensions associated with Irfanview and select the "Use Different Icons (Icons-plugin)", it will use the icon resources from that DLL file to display for the extensions selected.

Here is an example of the icons that will display for the JPG file type in the various Windows Explorer views:
 Still with the red road kill, but overridden by the "JPG" text  I wouldn't really see the JPG text on the small icon because I use Details View consistently, but most people use thumbnail or icon view.

As I said, some of the options in freeware (especially in a one-man development that has been around for a long time and often imitated like IrfanView) are in odd places hidden away until you discover them.

In my case I frequently use the Right-Click > "Preview" option to open the image in the Windows Picture and Fax Viewer (XP), or equivalent in more recent Windows versions, because it is fairly minimalist and loads quickly because it is part of the Windows Explorer shell and is ready and waiting.  It's the same DLL that provides the Slideshow and Film Strip views right inside Windows Explorer of XP, although I (may be wrong) have a funny feeling that may have been removed from Windows 7.
MereteConnect With a Mentor Commented:
Thanks BillDL for posting a closeup of the red splat with eyes.

Unfortunately Joe many many folks don't take the time note what is installing and when the programs asks do you want to associate all files with this tool they click yes..
And now their entire photo folders is like a red jigsaw puzzel.
I never really looked at it's features for editing and uninstalled it immediately.
My chosen image viewer apart from windows photo viewer is Nero Photosnap viewer /editor
But it is not free and bundels with Nero of course.
Apart from my screenshot of Windows photo viewer http:#a39811445
There is also windows photo gallery, which is similar to the one you mentioned in XP BillDL.
Example windows 7
 windows photo galleryFeatures
photo gallery editing features
Joe Winograd, Fellow&MVEConnect With a Mentor DeveloperCommented:

> "Show Paint Dialog" (F12) that seems to be illogically placed in the "Edit" menu rather than the "View" or "Options" menus

I think it's perfectly placed in the Edit menu. The user is editing the image with the Paint dialog, not merely viewing the image. First time I went looking for annotations in IV, I looked in the Edit menu and found the Paint dialog.

> but now I don't have it associated with any extensions and just use the Open With option

Same here.

> When I used to have a handful of extensions associated with Irfanview I didn't like the masked red roadkill icon either

Not the reason here. The icon doesn't bother me at all. Such a minor issue, imho. I don't associate any types with it because I use a lot of different imaging programs for a lot of different (and same) purposes, and I simply prefer the right-click/Open each time, depending on what I want to do with the image in that particular case.

> until I found where to change it

Very nice! I didn't realize that existed. Great find for some, I suppose, but I still can't get my arms around how small an issue the icon is. :)

> I use Details View consistently

Same here.

> most people use thumbnail or icon view

I don't have data on this, so I don't know the answer, but my guess would have been Details or List.


> And now their entire photo folders is like a red jigsaw puzzel.

But it's just the icon! What's the big deal?

> I never really looked at it's features for editing and uninstalled it immediately.

Well, then, you're missing out on an excellent piece of software. Hard to believe the icon is the reason. But with Bill's excellent find, I recommend that you select a new icon and give it a spin. Who knows, you may even like it! :)

Regards, Joe
MereteConnect With a Mentor Commented:
No worries Joe BillDL like yourselves I have so many image editors including professional ones,
still learning Inkscape and Gimp.
With BillDL's insights now Word.
I am surprised at what word can do.
Being  a nice person I will install new ones to test them ;)
But not Ifran view, I dint like it, but it had me curious with all the rave at the time.
I don't know why I hated them, guess i'm a visionary colour co-ordinated chick lol..
Thye just don't look very professional. Besides they are just to emphasize the association to Ifranview I understand that and it's no big deal.
It was a few years ago.
Same with Picasa, has some great features but the one part I hate is how any image it takes Picasa creates a folder for it's own link inside the folder of my images thus dupicating everything.
Same with SkyDrive.
 I also don't associate one particular tool as default for the same reason..
Windows 7 is finacky about changing icons to programs unlike XP as BillDL is using..
Steve_BradyAuthor Commented:
Thanks for all the great comments. I appreciate and enjoy the dialog.
Joe Winograd, Fellow&MVEDeveloperCommented:
Yep, that was a fun thread...learned a few things along the way! Regards, Joe
Thankyou Steve  glad to know we could help,
Thank you Steve.  It's been funny watching Joe and Merete getting all heated (well probably more like "warmed up") about the IrfanView associated icon issue.  If the truth be told, I don't like the masked red roadkill icon either, but the best alternative of the "boobs" cheapened everything and was sexist ;-)

Mention was made of the VLC Player red traffic cone icon, which is a love or hate thing probably based on peoples' most aggravating commuting experiences.  A while back I took the basic icon (inside vlc.exe), created new ones for the most common multimedia file types by overlaying little "MPG", "AVI", etc onto them to differentiate, and saved them as separate *.ico files in a new folder C:\ICONS.  I then set the "DefaultIcon" registry values each of these file extensions in the registry to the respective *.ico files.  In the end I decided it was more bother than it was worth and just learned to live with it, even though my blood boils every time I see a traffic cone.

For the record, I mentioned earlier that if I could find the old program that opened images in a bare and borderless window I would post the details.  This must have been a very old program that I used to use when I migrated from Windows 2000 to XP, because I can't find it amongst my archives.  That must have gone during one of my "redundant applications" cleanouts a number of years ago.
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