Image viewers are useful when you just want to check out a few photos or quickly organize a folder without using some elaborate image management software. Major Linux distributions offer at least one image viewer by default, and if you’re looking for new ones, here are six great suggestions. Not all apps on this list are Linux-only; in fact, most are cross-platform thanks to the Qt framework on which they were built.
There’s a good chance that PhotoQt is available in the repositories of your distribution, and the website offers packages for Windows and some popular Linux flavors (Fedora, Slackware, Arch…). Ubuntu users can install it using the following commands:
It’s a small application with surprisingly many options. PhotoQt supports an extraordinarily long list of image formats thanks to the GraphicsMagick library, and lets you define custom shortcuts for almost every action. It opens in full-screen and preloads thumbnails for the opened folder(s). Right-clicking the active image opens a context menu which lets you perform basic editing options and open the image in another application.
To access settings, EXIF data and the navigation bar, just move the mouse to the screen edges (top, left and bottom, respectively). The Settings section is PhotoQt’s hidden power – here you can adjust absolutely everything, and the options are very well-explained. You can also use PhotoQt to set an image as wallpaper or to create a beautiful slideshow of your collection.
PhotoKit has a great idea, but an unreliable execution. This image viewer offers a cool 3D wall-of-pictures, animation and slide transition effects, and cross-platform support.
You can search for images using Google directly from PhotoKit and view EXIF data. However, many users reported serious problems with PhotoKit – from crashing to being unable to install it, which makes it the weakest link on this list.
You can preview images in different thumbnail layouts or in a slideshow, and browse folders directly from Phototonic. Images can be filtered by name, opened in another image editing application and even loaded from the command line. Apart from standard image formats, Phototonic supports animated GIFs, and lets you rotate, crop, mirror and scale your photos. You can also adjust zooming options and change contrast, brightness and saturation. It’s a nice all-in-one solution that works well with large photo collections.
For a lightweight image viewer, Limoo has a big installation package – almost 20 MB. The stylish website offers installers for Linux and OS X with separate packages for Ubuntu. Limoo looks slick and modern, but configuration is limited: you can only choose a language, set contrast, gamma and brightness, and toggle toolbars. The main window lets you navigate between folders and has a nice blurry background that changes with the active folder.
When you right-click an image, a toolbar pops up across the window, letting you view image details and perform basic operations (cut, copy, delete, rename). If you hover over an image, a small plus sign appears. Click it to add images to Basket, which is another name for a batch-editing option. Limoo is simple yet intuitive, and it’s perfect for beginners as well as people who prefer minimalism that “just works”.
Nomacs offers installation packages for Windows 2000, XP, Vista, 7 and 8, a port for OS X and versions for several Linux distributions. Ubuntu, Arch Linux and openSUSE users should be able to find Nomacs in the repositories.
The list of supported image formats is impressive for such a small tool – it even supports RAW. You can preview photos in a zoomable grid, as thumbnails, in a slideshow (with custom background color) or in a frameless view mode. Nomacs can show file and histogram information, and you can use it to resize, crop, and make brightness and contrast adjustments. It’s possible to delete and rename images directly from Nomacs and set an image as wallpaper (this feature works only on Windows).
What sets Nomacs apart are the plugins which can be easily installed via the Plugins Manager. They extend the app’s functionality, like Fake Miniatures (lets you apply a tilt shift effect to photos) and Flip Plugin (for horizontal and vertical image flipping). If you want to work on more images simultaneously, Nomacs supports synchronization of multiple instances, and you can even send images from one instance to another over the LAN connection.
Qiviewer is the simplest application on this list. It aims to be the Qt alternative to Eye of Gnome. If you’ve ever used it, you’ll know what to expect from Qiviewer: basic image previewing options, support for the most popular image formats, and functions such as rotation, zoom and full-screen preview. It’s quick, responsive, and a good choice if you don’t need any extra image editing abilities.
What’s your favorite image viewer for Linux? What about other platforms? Let us know in the comments.