IrfanView Review

Fast Freeware Image Viewer by Irfan Skiljan

What do you call a compact, fast and friendly image viewer that allows multiple ways of viewing and even editing images directly? IrfanView (pronounced Ear-Fan-View) is named for Irfan Skiljan, a very generous programmer from Bosnia. IrfanView ImageIrfan keeps his users happy by giving them the best Windows picture viewer available with regular updates that expand the program’s features. New IrfanView releases have continued virtually nonstop since I first discovered the program around version 1.70, released in January 1996.

It’s difficult to imagine how a programmer can pack IrfanView’s vast array of features into a executable program file under 1 MB. There are far too many to list, but some worth noting are:

  • IrfanView is the first graphic viewer that supports both animated .gif and .ico (icons) and one of the first that supports the multipage .tif format.
  • My favorite feature is the full screen right-click browsing capability, which allows a user quickly cycle through all image files in a directory. I have not found a single other viewer that does this.
  • Many basic editing functions are available like crop, rotate, flip, resize, and increase/decrease colors. Some good bread and butter effects like sharpen, swap colors, and even palette and filter support are also at your fingertips. This means that if you want to alter an image, you don’t have to summon up Adobe Photoshop or Paint Shop Pro from the depths of your hard-drive.
  • A vast number of file formats are supported (I counted around 60), including multimedia files supported through plugins. One of the really neat uses of IrfanView is its ability to handle icons (.ico). I sometimes use it to create a favicon–the funky icon that appears in the browser address bar and favorites after bookmarking some sites. This involves shrinking an image to 16 X 16 size, then decreasing the colors to 16 and saving as a “.ico” file.

If IrfanView sounds like an image editor, remember that its just a modest image viewer. Even though you can use it to make web ready images like favicons or MySpace icons, IrfanView is never going to replace a major paint program like Photoshop or even Gimp. It can’t be beaten for speed, flexibility and ease of use on days when you want to sit back and feast your eyes upon your image collection. Irfan reports receiving over 45,000 e-mail messages expressing appreciation for the program.

–Emory Rowland

Download IrfanView – download options from the site

This IrfanView video tutorial gives some insight into the program’s editing capabilities.

Emory Rowland

I'm editor and keeper of the flame at Clickfire, fanatical social media blogger and builder of Internet things from way back. My love for social media and success with organic search led me to start my own consulting company. Apart from the Internet, I could be considered pretty worthless. More...


  1. Ken

    I want to add a Favicon to my Site and after struggling for over an hour in sizing & resizing I finally googled and they were kind enough based upon my Info request to suggest IrfanView as the suitable option for me. From the time that I began reading the tons of info regarding what this program does & will do soon, of course I’m going to try it out.
    Well my knowledge of coding is far above average I would say but I am nowhere near the level of those who code for a living. I have a PNG image that is 50×20 that I loaded into the program and I just can’t get no satisfaction. But seriously, I’m reading reviews by others and even within the programs Help Files (Search Engine) I type ‘favicon’ and get ‘No Topics Found’ Is there a word, phrase, paragraph that I missed that says you can not use this program to make favicons only make them look neater or something?

  2. Ken

    How do you use this program to make a Favicon? I’ve been trying for over an hour and getting zero results. Is there anything within this program that instructs one on converting my PNG image to an ICO image it needs to be? Even within the program’s Help Directory I typed favicon and got ‘No Tpoics Found’ as a result.

    Am I suppose to download something else to make it work for that reason?

  3. Emory Rowland

    Ken, have you seen the favicon tutorial here?
    It should be pretty simple with Irfanview. You can shrink the icon to the size you need (16×16) then save the file as a .ico file, then upload to your root.

  4. Diane

    I’ve yet to find an Irfanview video tutorial detailing how to use this program to create PNG images with it!

  5. LindaWill

    IrfanView can be an alternative, but there are other tools as well which perform the same tasks and in a friendlier way. BatchPhoto for instance has simpler and more intuitive interface, and can really help if you need to edit images in bulk.

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