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News and Reviews > Image Manager Shootout

Xnview vs. Irfan View

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I thought it might be good to start a thread comparing these two - i have a hard time deciding between them.

I have been using irfanview daily for many years, and have gotten used to its idiosyncrasies.

Using xnview again lately, its a more calming experience - it has an excellent file browser.  the irfanview "thumbnail view" is one of the worst looking things even to be seen on a computer screen.  very win 3.1.

And the options tabs in xnview are easier to navigate and clearer.

But both of them have their pros and cons from my standpoint, in terms of use as quick image viewers.

One of my longstanding real pet peeves with irfanview is its absolute insistence on Save As starting in the last directory you saved into, rather that the current directory holding the picture.  i almost always want to save as in the directory the original image came from.  I've taken to patching my irfanview exe to block this but it is surely annoying.

Xnview has an option to default to original picture location.  very nice.

The thing that has really kept me from using xnview might not be relevant at all to many people, but i use irfanview as a super quick image viewer - i rarely use it to view thumbnails.  and xnview is missing the display mode that i like the most, which is: fit window to image, but fit big images to desktop.

that is, i dont want a big window in the image viewer, i want it as small as the picture (xnview seems designed to run in a bigger window than irfanview, given its toolbar, which makes it a little harder to use on small pictures compared to irfanview); but if its a big image, too big for screen, i want it scaled to a reasonable size without me having to scroll around.

again, this is important precisely because i use this for quickly viewing images all the time - so even a small difference in efficiency effects me. and irfanview still feels like a less obtrusive way to quickly view an image.  and i've also come to love the pngout plugin for irfanview and i don't see it (yet) for xnview.

but i can't deny that xnview feels better organized and less idiosyncratic.

so i guess i'm still feeling conflicted..

xnview also seems to insist on centering its window on startup on the primary monitor, while irfanview truly remembers the last position of the window (even when i check the option in xnview to remember form position).  am i wrong?

again these seem like trivial issues but when all i use it for is quickly displaying images, im going to be very picky about how i want my images displayed when i double click something, and i dont want it always popping up in front of my file browser, i want it in upper left or wherever i left the window last time.

i'm attaching two pictures to show how xnview uses significantly larger amount of desktop when viewing small images, which is one reason i am still drawn to irfanview for its minimalist interface:

i'm also fond of the 1/x display in irfanview that lets you see at a glance how many images are in the current directory and go to a specific place in the list.

a plus for xnview, it will scale picture as you resize window, wheras i can't get irfanview to do this propely, at least in the display modes i use.

i just discovered that:
1) xnview has different toolbar skins, some of which are quite compact
2) you can customize what buttons to show on toolbar (fantastic!)


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