Windows does a reasonable job of previewing images these days, and you've probably several other image viewers that you can use, if necessary, so installing yet another isn't likely to be high on your list of priorities. And yet, it could be a very good idea. Here's why.

IrfanView isn't just one of those identikit image viewers that handles only the most common file formats, for instance. Along with the usual JPG, PNG, BMP and GIF comes support for viewing no less than 12 digital camera RAW formats, various game formats (WAD, WAL, VTF), fax files (DCX, G3, SFF) and more. The program can view icons directly (ICO), extract them from executables (EXE, DLL), even play some video and audio files.

IrfanView is able to save files in 21 formats, too. A powerful Batch Conversion dialog makes it easy to convert an entire folder structure of images from one format to another.

If you're more interested in working on individual images then you'll appreciate the paint tools, which help you annotate an image by adding text captions, drawing basic shapes, changing colours, and more. There's a reasonable selection of image manipulation tools (flip, rotate, resize, sharpen, colour corrections), and a basic set of special effects (emboss, oil painting, sepia and so on) can be enhanced by downloading additional plugins.

And the more you explore IrfanView, the more smart features you uncover. Like its slideshow feature, that can save a sequence of your favourite images to an EXE or SCR file. The batch scanning option for processing multiple images in a row. The support for editing multi-page TIFFs, or creating multi-page PDF files. And the way you can extend the program even further, by installing free plug-ins from the IrfanView site.

What's new in 4.50 (see release notes for more)?

- IrfanView and many PlugIns ported to Unicode!
- The INI file will be converted to Unicode if you call the "Properties" dialog
- IrfanView will NOT run on Win9x anymore
- Support for iPhone PNG files (Formats PlugIn, thanks to Jongware)
- Move selection with: CTRL or SHIFT + right mouse button (Y or X axis only)
- New option in Extract Pages/Frames dialog: Set page/frame range
- Some fixes in the Print dialog
- New text pattern: $m = show number of megapixels
- New Thumbnails sort menu: Sort by Megapixels
- Adjust print preview image to color/bw printer settings
- Wallpaper save format changed to PNG (Win8 and later)
- New zooming method: Mouse wheel alone, if "Browsing->View other files" disabled
- New command line option: /hotfolder="folder" => start Hotfolder option with a specific folder
- ANI format moved to FORMATS PlugIn
- JP2 PlugIn loading bug fixed (Talos Advisory TALOS-2017-0310)
- FPX/RLE/DJVU/ANI/SVG PlugIn loading bugs fixed (thanks to Lin Wang)
- Tools PlugIn EXE-loading problem fixed (thanks to Cody Sixteen and Lin Wang)
- Several PlugIns are ported to unicode, please install the newest versions:

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The editing features will never compete with Photoshop, but an excellent image viewer and powerful extras mean IrfanView is still worth a serious look