FastStone Image Viewer


FastStone Image Viewer

A fast and user-friendly image browser with its superb interface and some useful editing features.


Our rating: 

License: Free (Private/Educational use)
Review & Alternatives: Best Free Digital Image Viewer

Pros & Cons:

Very good fullscreen interface, very user-friendly, good functionality, excellent batch processing options, GPS location in Google Earth.
Slower than competitors with larger files.

Our Review:

FastStone Image Viewer is another excellent choice. It is very user-friendly and there are various reasons to choose this, but perhaps the main one is its superb interface in full screen mode, with different pop-up panels appearing when the mouse pointer reaches any side of the screen and disappearing when it's withdrawn. You can easily access nearly every function in the program from this window with no other element disturbing you until you decide it with just a mouse move, including a very handy thumbnail slider to browse your images.

Even the smallest menus or panels in any of the modes are clear and well designed, and there are several skins available.

Aside from the usual wheel zooming, the zoom system has a very clever feature: it magnifies to a custom preset level with just one click, letting you pan around the image while holding the button, and returns to full view when it's released. This is really useful to check out sharpness or details in a photo and FastStone was the first viewer to include this great feature. Average files are displayed quickly and their thumbnails are generated promptly. But it's slower showing bigger files (>20MB, depending on the format and resolution) and others perform much better in this field, though that won't be an issue for most users. It may be a good idea to disable the preview pane in the thumbnail window as a way to speed things up. There's also an option to use color management, but it increases loading time.

Another outstanding plus is the batch processing options, quite extensive and really easy to set up and run. A few useful editing features have been added in later versions, including curves, levels, lighting, unsharp mask, clone and heal.

It also supports all major graphic formats and popular digital camera RAW formats as well, and offers an excellent cropping module, great slideshow capabilities, Unicode compatibility and GPS location with Google Earth. Much to like here.

(The first download link on FastStone's official site goes to Cnet, which sometimes uses wrapped installers. Some alternatives can be found by clicking on any of the other links on the same page.)

FastStone Image Viewer was reviewed by on based on version 5.9.