Back to Upstarts home page
Article 8: Photo Opportunity
Downloading, installing, and using a free image viewer from the internet
Pictures have gone digital! Whether you are just receiving or sending pictures on email, scanning images into your computer, or using a digital camera to snap photos of your loved ones, you can't escape the trend. So this column will show you how to download and install IrfanView, a free image viewer and editor, and start using it to manage and work with your pictures.
You can use Irfanview to change the size or look of your pictures, easily change your desktop wallpaper, create a slide show and much more. But first we have to download it to your computer.
Downloading and Installing
Downloading is the transferring of data or programs from a remote computer to yours. We are going to download IrfanView from Download.com, a reliable and virus-free website.
Do the following:
- Make sure you are connected to the internet.
- Open up your web browser (Explorer, Netscape)
- In the address bar, type in the following internet address (also called URL): http://download.com/3000-2192-10223761.html
The Irfanview page on the Download.com website opens.
- On the left side of the page, click the Download Now link.
Within a few seconds, a download box opens.
- Click the Save button.
- You will be asked where you want to save the program. Choose a location that you will remember! (I selected My Downloads folder) and click Open.
- In the next box that opens, click Save.
- Result: The file, called “iview385” downloads to your computer...
... and is
saved in the My Downloads folder (or wherever you have chosen to save it).
The download is complete and you no longer need to be connected to the internet.
Once you receive the program, you have to install it – which is kind of like unpacking the program and getting it ready to work. Let's install IrfanView.
- Find and double click “iview385” to start the installation.
The IrfanView Setup box opens. Don't change any of the default settings.
- As the installation progresses, click the Next button 5 times, and then Done. The program is successfully installed, and you have a shortcut to it on your desktop.
Now the fun begins.
Though this program has many features, let's focus on two commonly used ones: resizing and cropping.
Why is resizing an image important? Often images from digital cameras are enormous. To send them over email, you have to make them smaller. Smaller pictures also use less computer memory.
How do you resize a picture with Irfanview?
- Doubleclick the red IrfanView icon on your desktop to open the program
- Click File>Open.
- Browse and select a picture on your computer.
- After the picture opens, click Edit > Resize/resample.
- In the Resize/Resample box, you are given many options for resizing the picture.
The two easiest resizing methods are:
• In the upper right corner, click the Half button to reduce the picture by 50% OR.
• Type a new percentage for the height and width of the picture, for instance, from 100% to 30% of the original picture size.
- Once you have made your choice, click OK.
- If you don't like the result, click the Undo button. (on your toolbar, an arrow arcing to the left.) If, on the other hand, you are happy with the result, save your picture.
A note about saving: If you want to keep both your original image AND the new smaller one, save the new image with a different name. Otherwise, you will be writing over the original image and will lose it.
Cropping a picture
Cropping means trimming an image to improve picture composition. Let's say you took a picture of a beautiful flower, but the rest of the picture isn't very successful. You can use Irfanview to crop the image, leaving only the flower.
- Open the Irfanview program.
- Click File > Open to select a picture on your computer.
The picture opens.
Now we are going to draw a box outline around the area of the picture we want to keep, the flower blossoms in the center.
- Put the mouse cursor at the top left corner of the area you want to outline.
- Press the left mouse button, and hold it.
- Drag the mouse across and down to the opposite corner of the area you want outlined.
A border appears as you drag the mouse.
- Release the button when you are done dragging.
- Click Edit > Crop. Only the selected area remains.
- Save your picture, or click Undo and try again.
Once you have mastered these features, explore the rest of the program; you will be surprised how easily you will be able to do creative and interesting things with your digital pictures.