I am looking for an alternative to Windows Photo Viewer that is able to view png, jpg, and gif. Windows Photo Viewer only supports static gif.

Must haves:

  • Lightweight; Loads fast. Avoids fancy transitions
  • Support: .png, .jpg or .jpeg, and .gif (animated)
  • Next and Previous controls to scrub through directory
  • Arrow key keyboard shortcuts for next/previous
    • Mouse button back/forwards support
  • Actual Size, Fit to Window and zoom controls
  • Nice GUI comparable to Windows Photo Viewer (no Windows 95 style)

Nice to haves:

  • View/Edit Meta/Exif Data (Tags, title, comments, date taken). (possible solutions for Linux)
  • Slideshow with variable switching time
  • Take over thumbnail creation in the File Explorer (to make it faster...)
  • Manual thumbnail creation for a directory with a bulk amount of images
  • Pause and Frame-by-Frame Gif navigation controls

Here is just a reference image of Windows Photo Viewer: Windows Photo Viewer gui

6 Answers 6



A small and fast image viewer. Because less is more.


  • Lightweight: Small and fast
  • No installation required
  • Supports jpg, png, gif (animating)
  • Opens the most common formats, including .zip, .rar, .cbz, .cbr
  • No wasted space on screen
  • Extensive use of keyboard shortcuts
  • Intuitive controls
  • EXIF reader
  • Paste and edit screenshots
  • Manga Mode (view two pages, read right to left)
  • Comic Mode (view two pages, read left to right)
  • Small editing features such as: crop, draw a rectangle to put part of an image in evidence, write text on the image, rotate, mirror, grayscale, invert and resize
  • Batch Resize, Rotate/Flip, Convert, Rename, Grayscale, Invert, Add border



pViewer interface and context menu

Review: http://pviewer.findmysoft.com/

More info: http://sourceforge.net/projects/picoviewer/

  • 1
    Wow, this is actually pretty awesome! It covers almost all of my requirements and is only missing editing of meta data (tags, title, comments). You can view Exif data though. Works with gifs and has awesome keyboard/mouse key shortcuts. The key shortcuts do not work with the forward and back buttons on my mouse which seems to be my only complaint.
    – MLM
    Commented Feb 27, 2014 at 17:34
  • @MLM I know. Would be nice to have a version for OSX also :)
    – Simon
    Commented Feb 27, 2014 at 17:36
  • 1
    pviewer[.]net expired. Still up at sourceforge.net/projects/picoviewer Commented May 25, 2016 at 11:08

You can use IrfanView. This viewer is a mighty tool. I used it over the years and it is a great viewer, which also provided additional plugins.

  • The viewer is loaded very fast, without showing a loading window.
  • It supports your favourite grafik extensions and by installing plugins you can add several grafik formats.
  • Next and previous is done by the two blue arrows in the toolbar. You can zoom in and out and go back to the real size.
  • The GUI is easy to handle and very nice. It has not the newest Ribbon surface, but for a viewer it is okay.
  • A slideshow tool and a thumbnail generator are included. The seconds between can be set.
  • There is also a support for different languages.
  • Information about the image is shown by clicking the "i" button in the toolbar
  • Print/Save as options are included

enter image description here

  • Irfanview is always one of the very first tools i install on a new Windows. Commented Apr 18, 2014 at 21:30

I use JPEGView.

  • Free and Open source
  • Seems very resource-light
  • Every must have from the OP, except maybe the GUI
  • Shows EXIF data
  • Slide Show as asked

Screenshot (click it for a larger variant)

  • 2
    2 features I like - It's extremely lightweight and very customisable.
    – ZygD
    Commented Jul 9, 2015 at 11:56
  • Wow, I had been stuck with the Picasa Image Viewer due to its speed for years. Finally I can swtich.
    – ojdo
    Commented Sep 28, 2016 at 11:10

Check out the FastStone ImageViewer. It's free, fast, user-friendly and contains a lot of useful features.

enter image description here

FastStone has a nice array of features that include - image viewing - management - comparison - red-eye removal - emailing - resizing - cropping - retouching - color adjustments.

Its innovative but intuitive full-screen mode provides quick access to EXIF information, thumbnail browser and major functionalities via hidden toolbars that pop up when your mouse touches the four edges of the screen.

Other features include a high quality magnifier and a musical slideshow with 150+ transitional effects, as well as lossless JPEG transitions, drop shadow effects, image annotation, scanner support, histogram and much more.

It supports all major graphic formats (BMP, JPEG, JPEG 2000, animated GIF, PNG, PCX, PSD, EPS, TIFF, WMF, ICO and TGA) and popular digital camera RAW formats (CRW, CR2, NEF, PEF, RAF, MRW, ORF, SRF, ARW, SR2, RW2 and DNG).

  • I've just been using Faststone Image Viewer to batch edit the EXIF "date taken" field on a few hundred photos - works very well.
    – MrWhite
    Commented Oct 7, 2014 at 23:43
  • I prefer FastStone MaxView instead. Commented Nov 17, 2021 at 9:58

Or try Apowersoft Photo Viewer, it's simple yet useful.

Some of the features include:

  1. Free of charge
  2. Supports image formats like PNG, JPG, GIF and more
  3. Supports editing images
  4. Allows for taking screenshots
  5. Provides slideshow and thumbnail

enter image description here

  • 2
    Tried it. Good looking interface. But, extremely slow. Uninstalled it immediately
    – Pavi
    Commented Dec 24, 2016 at 21:52

Check out qView

  • Meets nearly all of your requirements
  • Available for macOS, Windows, and Linux
  • Free and open source
  • Based on Qt5

qView screenshot

  • 1
    This seems a bit too minimal. There doesn't seem to be any visible mouse controls (next/prev and actual size/fit to window). Right-clicking for a context-menu is pretty burdensome
    – MLM
    Commented Sep 24, 2018 at 7:42
  • You can use keyboard shortcuts for those functions. Left and right arrow keys do next/prev, actual size is "o" (for original size), and fit to window is ctrl+0 (but it is fit to window by default anyway).
    – jurplel
    Commented Sep 24, 2018 at 16:07

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