The new Windows Photo viewer has its own woes. You double click an image and it takes its own sweet time to load. Plus, it can only handle JPEGs, RAW images but it has no clue when it’s a PSD. Having said that, it does have few editing tools which work great but it’s anyways seldom used. All in all, there are much better alternatives out there that just trump Microsoft Photos. So, here goes my list for the best photo viewer for Windows 10.
How to set a default photo viewer
Just a heads up, installing a third-party photo viewer app isn’t going to be enough. You also have to make it your default Photo viewer app. To do that on Windows 10, just head over to the search bar and type Default. Next, go to Default Apps Settings > Click on Photos. Now you can select any Photo viewer as your default image viewer.
Best Photo Viewer for Windows 10
1. Windows Photo Viewer
Windows Photo Viewer has been a part of the Windows family since Windows XP. Formerly, it was known as “Windows Picture and Fax Viewer” and later renamed to Windows Photo Viewer. Coming Windows 10, Microsoft universally replaced it with its updated platform Photos. But, the developers still haven’t remove it from the system and it is still accessible within the files.
However, in order to make it work, you would have to tweak the registry keys. I wouldn’t recommend manually editing them and hence you should download the “.reg” files from this link.
File formats: JPEG, PNG, BMP, TIFF, etc.
- Simple UI with minimal features
- Edited natively reduces the size
- Doesn’t support GIFs
How to get Windows Photo Viewer back in Windows 10
If you have upgraded from a previous version to Windows 10, you would see the Windows Photo Viewer directly in the Default Apps menu under Settings. However, if you have installed Windows 10 from scratch, you need to follow these steps to activate the tool for your windows:
- Download the registry files for the Windows photo viewer.
- Extract and double click on the “Activate Windows Photo Viewer on Windows 10″ file.
- Next, restart your computer and your beloved Windows photo Viewer is back. And if you wish to deactivate it, just run the “Deactivate Windows Photo Viewer on Windows 10” file and restart your system.
HoneyView is the most basic third-party image viewer. It’s almost similar to Windows Photos Viewer in functionality and features. However, it does support a couple of extra image formats like PNG, GIF, etc.
It allows you to rotate images and perform basic resizing with it. Editing can be done by attaching a link to either Photoshop or Paint. You can bookmark images with this software for future references.
Format: JPG, PNG, GIF, BMP, and PSD.
- Ease of usability and resemblance to the windows photo viewer
- No inbuilt editing tools
ImageGlass is yet another minimal photo viewer for Windows 10. But what really stands out is the modern UI of the tool compared to other software.
ImageGlass lets you view a slideshow of images in the folder. You can link different image editors to different file formats. For instance, I can link PSDs to Photoshop. So every time I choose to edit a PSD, it will open in Photoshop only.
Format: JPG, GIF, BMP, TIFF, WEBP, and 72+ image formats.
- Slideshow of images
- Lacks inbuilt editing tools
IrfanView is one of the most popular third-party image viewing applications and it is even our pick for the best photo viewer for Windows 10. It is named after the creator Irfan Sklijan and is free to use. The software is pretty light, intuitive and supports a large graphics file format base.
IrfanView is optimized to perform better and has a footprint of only 2MB. Apart from the image viewing, it also has a few extra tools. For instance, it supports OCR to “read” text on an image and export it to an editable format. Apart from that, you can also color correct pictures, insert text/ watermark to your pictures and add a few different filters.
Format: BMP, GIF, JPEG, JP2 & JPM, PNG, TIFF, RAW, ECW, EMF, FSH, ICO, PCX, PBM, PDF, PGM, PPM, TGA, Flash, Ogg and text files.
- Lightweight and easy to use
- Versatile file format base and can easily handle huge RAW images
- Supports more than 50 plugins
- Not the best UI.
- Although it can be fixed in the settings, scrolling through folders is painful as Irfan View constantly tries to open a non-image.
5. FastStone Image Viewer
The FastStone image viewer is yet another lightweight image viewer with multiple language support. It has a slideshow option with many attractive transition effects.
It supports multi-monitor configuration which would come in handy if you work with a large number of images. It also supports renaming and converting files in batch. You can even open and view a batch of files which is relatively faster. It has a portable variant as well which can be run through a flash drive.
Format: BMP, JPEG, JPEG 2000, GIF, PNG, PCX, TIFF, WMF, ICO, and TGA), RAW
- Supports renaming and converting in batch
- Email sharing option
- Slow thumbnail generation
- Overall scrolling is slow.
Initially supporting Unix systems only, Xnview is now even available for Windows. It is not just an image viewer but a photo organizer and editor too. XnView is a robust software and supports multiple languages.
XnView not only supports 500+ image formats but also a few audio and video formats. It also supports scripting to rename a batch of files in a single stretch. On top of that, you can basic editing tools to crop, resize, rotate, and a bunch of effects. you can edit Raster images with this software.
Format: JPG, BMP, GIF, PNG, TIFF, and 500+ file formats.
- supports large file format base,
- scripting for basic tasks is allowed.
- It is free only for private use.
7. ACDSee Ultimate
If you’re a fan of the Rock band AC/DC you’ll know the name of this software is just a play on words. As awesome as the band is, this software is full of special talents. It offers thumbnail view, lossless rotation, resize and crop.
One of the best features of this software is that it allows you to look at the images inside a zip file without extracting it. ACDSee allows you to adjust exposure, colors, and contrast of an image. If you have a low-light image that makes you look like a demon, red-eye removal is just a button away.
Formats: JPG, PNG, BMP, GIF, and PSD. It also supports most of the raw file formats.
- view images inside zipped archives without extracting.
- It only has a free trial for 30 days
- The paid version is $109.
Download ACDSee ($109)
JPEGView can be considered as a free and open-source alternative for ACDSee. The main emphasis of the tool is quick editing. Hence, the preview bar comes loaded with brightness, color, and contrast adjustment sliders at the bottom.
It has an inbuilt image file browser. The editing tools are quite extensive and quickly accessible on the Preview page. You can also set up a slideshow of multiple images within a folder.
- An extensive set of editing tools
- Supports renaming and converting in batch
- Lacks extensive EXIF data and a print button
QuickLook is a tool developed to replicate the quick preview action on macO. Its smooth loading interface and quick response time bring it on par with Apple’s Quick Look feature. If you haven’t used Quick Look on mac, it works with a simple spacebar tap to preview the image and again a click to close it.
Quicklook quietly runs in the background and listens for the hotkey’s trigger. A few different hotkeys are available to control the environment of the file are available. It not only supports image preview but also lets you view PDF, PSDs, text files, etc.
Format: images, videos, PSD, PDF and text files.
- Quick and responsive.
- It doesn’t actually have an option to manipulate the files on its own.
- Windows 10 only.
Nomacs is an open-source, free to use image viewer which has a lot up its sleeve.
Nomacs offers mosaic generation by overlaying a database of images together based on similar histograms. My favorite feature is the synchronization of multiple instances. This enables you to easily compare images by zooming in or panning at the exact same position or even by overlaying them with different opacity. Nomacs not only reads images in the zip archives but even previews MS office documents. You can also add notes to the images to keep track of their origin. Nomacs includes image manipulation methods for adjusting brightness, contrast, saturation, hue, gamma, exposure.
You can activate cache in the settings and reduce image switch times
Format: It supports all the popular image formats including camera raw formats.
- Quickly compare multiple images.
- Recent updates have made it slow.
Final Thoughts: Best Photo Viewer for Windows 10
Every software has its own selling point and we have listed quite a few. Irfanview takes the spot because of its lightning-fast interface. If you like portables, FastStone is something that you can carry on a small flash drive. Xnview and Nomacs are best for handling images in batch for either renaming them or converting them to a more compatible image format.
Also Read: 7 Best PDF voice reader for Windows