Best Free Digital Photo Organizer

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We don't all have the same requirements when it comes to organising our digital image collection. Some people, like me, want a quick way of importing new images and viewing a large assortment of existing images in various formats. We want the software to show our existing directory structure and allow us to amend add and change it easily. Then we want to be able to export images to email, publish them to the internet and resize, crop and change images without destroying the original image file.

Buried within digital image files are a series of 'tags' which can be used to find and classify images according a whole series of criteria - from date of creation to camera settings and even GPS settings.

There is also a huge demand for software which hunts through a user's drives and finds all image files and, without moving the original, creates an index with predetermined parameters.


Rated Products

Zoner Photo Studio Free  

A photo manager, viewer and editor with a professional feel

Our Rating: 
License: Free (Limited features)
Superb design, excellent free slimmed down version of commercial software which works well for everyday use.
Missing some features in free version; tabs between manager, edit and view may not suit everyone.
Read full review...


A stable and very fast tool for viewing and converting image files

Our Rating: 
License: Free (Private/Educational use)
A small fast well featured piece of software - in some ways the most versatile of any; Simple to use and very stable; Multi-monitor support.
Very few - but does not seem to offer an easy route to upload images to the web.
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Nicely designed software appealing to amateur and professional photographers

Our Rating: 
License: Free (Open source)
Could easily be a contender for the first place with a host of features aimed at the professional end of the market.
Large download size; Not really stable in the Windows version; Several features may not work properly such as camera auto detection, right click face tagging, etc.
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Windows Live Photo Gallery  

A key component of Microsoft's Windows Essentials for photo management and sharing

Our Rating: 
License: Free
Excellent fast utility with a clean, simple design and a versatile indexing system.
Needs Windows Live sign up; not the most powerful image editor; by default overwrites existing viewer preferences.
Read full review...

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Does the organizer expect to search your disks for image files?

My best-in-class list has three rated programs that do not expect to search your disks for image files: Zoner Photo Studio Free, XnView and digiKam. ZPS Free can catalog all the image files on your disks but it does not do so by default.

The rated program that expects to search your disks for image files (and videos) is Windows Live Photo Gallery.

Other programs assessed

Other programs provide all the basics and a few of them are no longer supported. Those offerings that I have assessed include: Anti Chaos; Ashampoo photo commander 7.6; BelieveIT Photo Organiser; Bluemarine Photo organiser; Cam2Pic; DigiBook 2005 Light; Faststone Image Viewer; FxFoto; HP Photosmart; Imagic; iTag; JBrout; Jet PhotoKestrel GX; Kodak Easyshare 8.2; Magix Photo Manager; Myphotoindex; Photome; Photoscape; Photozig albums; Phraseanet; PicaJet; Picasa; Pictomio; Preclick Gold; Prostockmaster; Roxio; Serif Plus Starter Edition; SSuite; Stoik Imagic; Studioline; Sunlit Green; Viewer 2; Visipics and WildBit viewer.

I am always happy to learn of other programs.



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Hi v.laurie,

Concerning "Zoner Photo Studio Free": you're mentioning that it has limited features.
Where can I find which features are in what version?
Kind of a comparison table of the free versions versus the paid version.


"... Tiat is a simple and powerful image organizer, build for designers, photographers and magpies. Tiat can handle millions of images with high performance and smooth user experence ...":

The link should be

Speaking about Organizer, I very liked the idea of Photosift program. It lets you copy/move images to prefered folders by hotkeys.
I've tested it and wrote a lot of comments, may be useful for other images programs too.

Have to knock points off Zoner Photo Studio. REQUIRES registration at their site. I thought this was just at the installation but no, if I close the sign-up screen and re-click the icon it won't allow the program to start without registration. Sorry, I'm not registering at your site until I get a chance to take it for a test drive. Too bad. It looks like a good program.

I need a photo organizer that doesn't scan my entire computer. I need it to scan specific folders that I designate and then let me organize those folders within the program. Anyone aware of free organizers that will do this? I do not want to use Picasa.

>>Anyone aware of free organizers that will do this?
Yeah, I know the one. It doesn't scan anything by default, so you are able to run and close it plenty times with empty workspace :) At any moment you can import one or several folders from hard drives or network shares. Images are not being copied or moved, the app just remembers locations of files. It has kind of a smart algorithm inside to track changes in those folders are imported before, but this option can be disabled in settings as well.

There are several other non-trivial features available(duplicates removal, calendar, smart albums, safe-boxes). The app is named Phototheca, website

I have many saved folders from different phones on my laptop with multiple copies of the same picture. Do any of these programs tag multiple pictures even if all have been stored on the same devices?

Does anyone know if there are alternatives to Picasa that will preserver/import the facial recognition items? I store mine in the pictures itself.

As far as I know, you can't transfer Picasa's facial recognition data to other programs.

The Name Tags should transfer fine but only because they are simply text tags stored with the EXIF metadata. The EXIF tags have no link to Picasa's facial recognition data. You turned them on by going to Tools > Options > Name Tags where you checked "Enable face detection" and "Store name tags in photo". Picasa has at least one bug which means that your Name Tags might not match the actual facial recognition data Picasa stores in its own .ini files.

This link has a couple of suggestions for software to replace Picasa that can recognize faces:

Time for an update of this article:
Google will be shutting down Picasa Web Albums on May 1, 2016, and as of March 15, 2016, it will no longer support the Picasa Desktop application.

Hello Gizmodians, I have been using the suggestions on this site for many years. I need some help with this one. I would like to put multiple animated gif files in a folder, then view the files in a grid format with dimensions I specify(to cover entire monitor space) while remaining animated. Does anyone know of a program capable of this? If not what would the code be to create a webpage that would meet those requirements? Thank you fro your consideration and keep up the good work, Sincerely, Tappy

I have just removed Picasa for the second time from my system. I cannot get it to mirror my existing directory structure. Some subdirs are there, some are not, I cannot force the inclusion of missing subdirs. Annoying.

I need a sorter to help remove duplicate images. Thus the following fields would be useful.

Side by side image display.

Location directory path.

Various sort options but usually by image size and date created.

The ability to specify "trees" and "all subdirectories".

Any of these do that?

VisiPics will help remove duplicate images with a Side by side image display.

Zoner 17 does not seem to have a free version, only a 30 days trial
The "Free download" is fraudulent advertisement.

Did you read the product information notes? "Zoner installer offers two types of activation: paid or trial versions. To get the free one, initiate the trial and then go to the 'Log in' menu > select 'Free' and then 'Activate'". Alternatively, you can download from Softpedia instead. MC - Site Manager.

Re: Windows Live Photo Gallery
"Needs Windows Live sign up"
Never did.

Note to the reviewer, v.laurie.
The summary for XnView says there's no portable version. That's incorrect.
There are portables from the developer for the "classic" version & also the newer XnViewMP.
The new (still beta) "MP" version also has a 64 bit (.

There's also a portable of the classic version available from

Misty27, thanks for the information. This category has no editor at the moment and I am just a caretaker. However, I will change the statement about no portable version.

After some weeks using the RX100 I found out that the best free software to manage ARW files is Sony RAW Converter. The problem is that Faststone is compatible with ARW files but there are many camera settings that only Sony can manage. Moreover, Faststone doesn't read some specific EXIF tags such as scene mode so you must use Sony (or Exiftool). Anyway Faststone is still #1.

I'm sticking with Faststone; it's hands down the best choice. Tried digiKam ... and it was really slow and kept crashing when opening RAW files. Might be good on Linux, but a no-no on Windows.

Hi ! I have a Sony RX100 that uses Sony .ARW files and Picasa still doesn't handle this format unlike the excellent FastStone viewer. Moreover, Picasa keeps on converting everything to JPEG, even lossless formats, and quality degrades soon. I'm used to use Picasa to manage my photos because of its integration with Picasa Web Albums and Facebook but lately this is more of a nuisance.