Senior Computer Tutor
Don Edrington Home       Profile

Photo-Editing with Free
Easy-to-Use Irfanview

       For years I've been recommending a program named Irfanview (free from for digital camera owners who need easy-to-use tools for editing their photos. Programs such as Adobe PhotoShop have lengthy learning curves, while Irfanview can be quickly learned to do the jobs most amateur photographers need done, such as cropping, resizing, and enhancing colors.

       For some simple examples, open a photo with Irfanview.

       To change a picture's size: click Image>Resize and choose a "Percentage" of the original, or specify actual "Width/Height" dimensions (with "Preserve Aspect Ratio" checked).

       To crop a picture (remove extraneous background) draw a rectangle around the subject with your left mouse button depressed. Next click "Edit" and choose "Crop" or "Cut" or "Cut Area Around Selection." If you click Edit>Cut followed by Edit>Paste your selected area will replace the original picture and be ready for subsequent editing.

       To adjust a photo's colors click Image>Enhance Colors (or Color Corrections). This will display two miniatures - one picture showing the current colors, while the other shows the results of using sliding controls to change the Color values along with Brightness and Contrast factors. Reverse the changes by clicking Edit>Undo.

       Other options under "Image" include: "Convert to Grayscale," "Negative," "Sharpen," and "Red Eye Reduction."

       You can also rotate a picture in 90 degree increments with "Rotate Left/Right." For other angles, choose "Custom/Fine Rotation," where two miniatures will display the picture's current orientation and how it will appear with the degrees of change you choose.

       Image>Effects will offer choices such as "Emboss," "Sepia," "Blur," "Explosion," and other interesting optical surprises.

       "Edit>Insert Text into Selection" will let you add lettering to an image. First, mouse-draw a rectangle of the approximate size and shape into which you will type the text. A dialog box will appear that lets you choose a font and its attributes. After typing into the selected area, doing Edit>Copy and then Edit>Paste into a new Irfanview canvas will reproduce the image with your text added.

       To save an edited picture, click File>Save As, type in a name (or accept the current name), choose a "Save In" location, along with an image format under "Save as Type." These will include JPG, BMP, GIF, TIF, and many others. JPG (JPEG) is the de facto choice for most digital photos.

       It's important to understand that the JPG format can reduce a picture's file size (so it uses less disk space and can be emailed more easily) by compressing its digital information. When saving a photo as a JPG be sure "Show Options Dialog" is checked and then move the sliding scale to somewhere between "low" and "good" (ie: small and large file size).

       Always give a compressed picture a new name so that the original will still be a "good" quality image. Once a photo's file size has been reduced and saved, there is no way to return it to its original quality.

       An updated version of the program is available with some brand new features, including a "Clone Tool." See the illustrations below for some simple examples of using various commands...

- Donald Ray Edrington - All Rights Reserved

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Umbrella Kids original snapshot
Original Snapshot

snapshot opened in Irfanview
Opened in Irfanview

snapshot cropped
Snapshot Cropped
cropped snapshot resized/resampled
Cropped Snapshot
Resized (Resampled)
Girl Moved Closer to Boy with Clone Tool
Girl Moved Closer to Boy
with the "Clone" Tool
Girl Moved Closer to Boy with Clone Tool