Default Image Viewer for Windows 7 doesn't do any smoothing when the image is zoomed. I hear that's the case with Windows 8's image viewer too. In Windows XP there was a different image viewer which did smooth out the images, and it was just great.

I just tried out the Microsoft Essentials Photo Gallery, and it's the same as Windows 7's image viewer — no smoothing.

Is there a way to bring the XP's image viewer to Windows 7, or enable Windows 7's viewer smoothing somehow, or should I switch to a different image viewer?

I'm looking for a 1 image viewer. That is, a single image should be shown, not the whole folder.

Must have features:

  • Smooth scaling (preferably with mouse wheel, zooming in at cursor position)
  • Keyboard arrows navigation (left and right arrow keys show next and previous images in folder)


  • Fullscreen mode that goes full screen (not just maximized window)
  • Side mouse button navigation (mouse4 and mouse5, navigate forward and backwards)
  • Open images directly from Zip archives without unpacking the whole archive

In the end I didn't find an image viewer that perfectly suits my preferences, so I created my own with XNA.

  • @harrymc this question isn't about the reason of this behavior, but about alternatives to the software. – user1306322 Apr 17 '13 at 8:27
  • Then you should correct the title. You should also clarify what kind of a viewer are you looking for: one-image viewer or folder-viewer. – harrymc Apr 17 '13 at 9:19
  • @user1306322 I would highly recommend trying out MaxView as mentioned in my answer below. Given your criteria, I think you'll definitely find it to be a useful tool to have installed and on hand. – Dane Apr 25 '13 at 18:47

I think the best choice for image viewer is IrfanView.

  • Smooth scaling, go in View->Display Options and turn off Use Resample
  • It has key arrows navigation
  • It supports full screen
  • Opens images directly from zip archive without unpacking.

It supports a lot of plugins! Try it out and tell me if it fits you.

  • The smoothing is really bad :( Only a single image can be opened from a Zip archive, then if you press an arrow key, it says the folder's end has been reached. Also, the controls are kind of unusual (ctrl+scroll for zooming), and I like to browse my images with only one hand, and this requires both. – user1306322 Apr 17 '13 at 10:29
  • I don't know but i can open many images at the same time from Zip archive. I just select them and click open, and they open all at the same time. Ctrl+Scroll is a standard for many software, but you can change how you zoom in the options i think. If you click -> or <- arrows and reach the end you can just click again -> and you will start from the beginning. But as i mentioned you can change many things from the options of IrfanView. Try the option apply sharpen after resample and turn on resample, maybe you get better quality. – Devid Apr 17 '13 at 10:49
  • What I mean by opening more than 1 image from Zip archive, is that I double-click one of them, and then freely navigate with arrow keys, exactly like it would be if it was a usual folder, but that isn't happening. Opening a lot of windowed images is not a desired solution, since I'm mostly viewing 1 image in fullscreen mode. The end of folder is being reached because there is only 1 image in folder, and that folder is user's Temp folder, to which every image, double-clicked from within a Zip folder is copied, and then Windows launches viewer with a link to temp file copy, not the original. – user1306322 Apr 17 '13 at 11:20
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    ok i see now what you mean, well then IrfanView is not the best solution for you. – Devid Apr 17 '13 at 11:24

Google's Picasa can do it, altrough its resampling is not very sophisticated (it gets a similar look to the Windows XP's Windows Photo Viewer).


You can use Picasa's Image Viewer which gives great zoom quality.

  • It can open images from zip archive (but can't navigate inside that zip).

  • It can zoom in/out based on mouse scroll wheel (or up-down arrow keys).

  • It can navigate you to next or previous image in folder based on right-left arrow keys.

  • It sure can open a single image from a Zip archive, as I believe any application can, because it is first copied to Temp folder and then opened from there, but it can't navigate files directly inside a Zip archive. – user1306322 Apr 17 '13 at 6:05
  • @user1306322 Yup, that's the problem. – Apple II Apr 17 '13 at 6:55
  • Though the smoothing is fine, but I couldn't find a quick combination for 1:1 scaling, and there doesn't seem to be a way to make mouse4 and mouse5 buttons navigate like left and right arrow keys. And the "fullscreen" mode doesn't really go full screen, still showing the taskbar. – user1306322 Apr 17 '13 at 8:03

When on Windows I use XnView, it should have most of the features you need. There is also a free version of ACDSee, it should be a quality software but I never used it.

Anyway, I suggest you to have a look at the comparison of image viewers on Wikipedia, it has a lot of information and should help you find what you need.

  • ACDSee free doesn't smooth images, they're still all pixellated. And despite the description on Wikipedia, it can't browse files inside zip archives, though maybe the Pro version can, but it isn't free. – user1306322 Apr 17 '13 at 13:13
  • I'm sorry, I don't have more ideas. Like I said when I'm on Win I use Xnview, but I'm mainly a Linux user, so I think I can't help more than this. – Sekhemty Apr 17 '13 at 13:16
  • The pro version of ACDSee comes with an archive plugin, and I can confirm that it supports smooth scaling and fullscreen. – Fopedush Apr 22 '13 at 22:08

Try out MaxView

  • Smooth scaling with mouse wheel as option. Zoom with left-click magnifier at set ratio.
  • Keyboard arrows navigation (and additional possibilities)
  • Fullscreen mode that goes full screen (not just maximized window)
  • Unsure about side mouse button navigation, but good chance
  • Open images directly from Zip archives without unpacking the whole archive (main feature)
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    This is actually a good viewer. I already made myself one with all the features I wanted, but otherwise I'd go with this one. – user1306322 Apr 25 '13 at 22:02

JPEGView is the most straightforward one to use.

  • Please provide more details. For starters, where can we get this software? Next, please say something about the program more specific than “it is the most straightforward one to use” — compare to the other answers. Please do not respond in comments; edit your answer to make it clearer and more complete. – Scott Oct 15 '18 at 2:32

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