Welcome back!

Today’s tool is going to be some free software.  IrfanView is one of the world’s best image viewers.  It is named for its author, Irfan Skiljan from Bosnia.  Though he likes cats, the program’s icon is a flattened “road cat”.  Oh, well – at least it’s distinctive.

Once you have loaded and installed IrfanView, you can associate the program with many different file formats, so that clicking on PICTURE.JPG in Explorer will open the photo in IrfanView.  It also works for several movie types and sound types.

And it’s for more than looking at pictures.  You can set it up to take screenshots (Alt-O for Options, then C for Capture).  It will show the captured image in the main window (good for onesies or twosies) or save it off to a directory of your choice.  It sticks the date and time on your base name, so the second picture doesn’t overwrite the first one.  It can also do timed captures, waiting the number of seconds you say.

Once you have your picture, you can change the color depth (fewer colors to track means a smaller picture) with Alt-I for Image, then D for Decrease color depth.  If your new color depth looks blotchy, then Undo (Control-Z) is your friend.  If you need to make the picture physically smaller (fewer pixels), use Alt-I, then M for Resize/ResaMple (I didn’t pick the short-cuts).

One other neat thing you can do with IrfanView is to draw and type on the picture.  Hitting F12 will bring up a box full of painty tools that you can draw lines and boxes and arrows with.  Remember to close the paint box once you’re done so you can do other things.

One of the other things you can do is to add text to your picture.  Draw a box on the picture with your mouse, showing where you want the text to go.  Then Alt-E for Edit, and I for Insert text, and away you go!  Text is surprisingly small, so experiment a little bit.

You can end up with something like this:

A handy tool.  I keep it in my task bar, so it’s available with one click.