Home » photo and graphics

XNView – Free Photo Viewer

by Johnny Karp 23 July 2009 5 Comments


XNView is a freeware program that can be used as an image viewer or as a graphic file converter. It can open around 400 graphic file types.


My favorite image viewer right now is Google’s Picasa 3 and I guess the best way to test XNView is to compare it with Picasa. Fot this purpose I chose a monster JPG file, 42 megs in size with a resolution of 13616 per 9888 pixels, a picture of my country’s map, Romania. Both programs successfully opened the file in around 10 to 15 seconds, so there were no major differences there. There was a huge difference in the memory footprint though. Picasa 3 took around 50 megs of memory in the picture editing mode while XNView was way over that figure, almost 800 MB! That’s quite a lot by any standard…

xnview screenshot 1

Otherwise XNView is a solid free image viewer that can handle more than 400 file formats for import and around 50 for export. It also offers a few interesting picture editing options like adding a watermark or several effects and filters.

xnview screenshot 2

It also offers batch convert and batch rename features and the possibility to create contact sheets easily. Overall it has a few features that Picasa 3 doesn’t have but that is not a good enough reason to replace Picasa with XNView.

Version Tested

1.96.2 full


Pierre Gougelet

Operating System

Windows, Linux, Mac OS X

Download link


Easy to use and quite powerful.

It’s available for several platforms.

minus Huge memory footprint.




If XNView wouldn’t have such a huge memory footprint I would have considered a switch from Picasa to this French freeware program. But let’s face it, such a memory consumption can take down a low spec PC right away. I don’t like the interface too much either, it could be described as ugly and not very functional. It could be a good option to convert your graphic files though but that can be done with better specialized freeware and open source programs.

Subscribe to the full RSS feed to get the latest articles fast and easy! You can also subscribe via email!

If you have any trouble with this software just leave a comment, I’ll help you out! If you know better free programs in the same category, please let me know!



  • QuHno said:

    Picasa is quite nice, but if you need a working horse able to do multiple batch conversions included resizing, cropping, filtering, branding, upload to your favourite FTP, convering to slideshows in various formats, creating image websites etc. pp. XNView is the way to go.

    The reason for the huge memory print could be the ability to lossless rotate JPGs and the thumbnail generation, even for videos, but you can swich off both if you like.

    One of the features I like most, is the ability to find similar images – you can even say how similar they should be – and the possibility to convert some types of video footage in sequential images …

    But I must admit: I am biased since I replaced Adobe bridge in favour of XNView 😉

  • GG said:

    XNview allows photo categorizing, and is faster when opening Canon CR2 files. I like Picasa but being able to assign category to photos and then search by that category is very important to me. Also, XNView is portable.

  • Johnny Karp said:

    GG, that’s all true and I’m sure that a lot of users prefer XNView for those reasons.

  • Lol said:

    What’s with the Romanian map? 🙂

  • Johnny Karp said:

    Well, I’m Romanian 🙂

Leave your response!

Add your comment below, or trackback from your own site. You can also subscribe to these comments via RSS.

Be nice. Keep it clean. Stay on topic. No spam.

You can use these tags:
<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

This is a Gravatar-enabled weblog. To get your own globally-recognized-avatar, please register at Gravatar.