Options' descriptions for 1.82

Frequently Asked Questions regarding XnView (including Answers)

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Options' descriptions for 1.82

Post by Xyzzy »

For XnView 1.82.
Below are descriptions of options you can find in Options windows.
Some of them have ??? marks- you can help there by confirming/denying my information or explaining details.
As errors are found, I will correct them in this post.



Remember last windows position/size – If checked, XnView’s window position and size are saved in xnview.ini file on exit and used on next launch. Saves data for both browser and view if the option below is checked.

Use different position/size for browser & view – If not checked, position and size of XnView’s window changed in View mode is retained after returning to Browser mode. Otherwise, position and size of Browse mode window is restored. For multiple opened Views, only last position is remembered.

Open Hexa View if not a picture - If checked, when you perform the Open action on a non-image file, (from Browser it has to be set to be opened by Xnview), it will be opened in special hexadecimal view. Otherwise, message "Format of the file <filename> could not be determined.

Open one view per selected image - If checked, and you select multiple images in 'Open' windows (fe. 'File->Open' menu option), every image is opened in a separate tab, but only if 'View->Only one view opened' is unchecked. Otherwise, only last selected file is opened.

Delete to Recycle Bin - If unchecked, Recycle Bin is bypassed on file deletion.

Confirm file delete- If checked, a confirmation dialog is displayed on file deletion.

Disable GIF/JIF/ANI animation – If checked, in preview and View mode GIF/JIF/ANI animations are displayed as image of the first frame. Otherwise, whole animation is played.

Enable BMP animation – If checked, BMP animations are played. Otherwise, they are displayed as image of the first frame.

Single ESC to exit – If checked, after closing the last window with Esc key, XnView exits. Otherwise, it is displayed in Basic mode (and another Esc press exits).

For ‘Save as’, use same original pathname & format – When using ‘Save as’ option, the file name and image format are automatically selected in Save picture dialog, matching active file. Active file is the file currently selected in Browser or displayed in Viewer. If option is unchecked, path and format used for last save operation are used, or active file path and format for first 'Save as' operation.

After ‘Save as’ change filename – If this option is unchecked, after saving image with ‘Save as’ option, opened image is considered to be original file. Otherwise, it becomes new file (standard Windows applications behaviour).

Add ‘Exit’ to context menus – Adds ‘Exit’ option to right mouse button menus, which enables instant exiting XnView.


Maximize XnView at Startup – Maximizes XnView’s window at start.

Start View in Fullscreen – If checked, XnView is started in fullscreen View mode when launched with an image specified, fe. after double clicking on the image in Windows Explorer or when image is specified as parameter in command line. Otherwise it is started in windowed XnView mode. See also 'Browser>Launch Browser at Startup' option.

Always on Top – If checked, whole XnView’s window is always visible (stays ‘on top’ of other windows).

Only one instance – If checked, only one copy of XnView can be run simultaneously.

Use XP style menus – If checked, all menus are displayed in XP style (ie. with a colored band on the left side).

Use all formats available – If checked, XnView can display all avaliable file formats. Otherwise only approx. 100 most popular formats are supported, and other are treated as 'Other' (unrecognized) files. This option also limits contents of the 'Associations' and 'Write>File types' lists in Options window and file types lists in Open and Save windows.
Turning off this option speeds up XnView operations.

General->Recent lists

Show ‘Most recently used files’ in File menu – If checked, a list of recently opened files is added to File menu, enabling quick access to them.

Show 'Most recently used files' in submenu – If checked, the above list is accessible via Recent files submenu.

Purge 'Most recently used files & directories' on exit - If checked, most recently used files and most recently used directories lists are cleared on XnView exit.

Purge ‘Most recently used files & directories’ now – Immediately clears recently used files and most recently used directories lists.

General->Switching modes

Use double click to switch between – Defines how modes are switched when you double-click in XnView with left mouse button.

Use middle mouse click to switch between – as above, but for single middle mouse button click

Use ENTER to switch between – as above, but for pressing Enter key


Launch browser at Startup – If checked, XnView starts in Browser mode. Otherwise, it starts in Basic mode. This option refers to starting XnView with no image specified, contrary to 'General->Startup->Start View in Fullscreen'.

Startup directory – These options define which directory is active when opening Browser.

Show tooltips – If checked, move mouse pointer over image in file list and leave it there for a short moment to display a little window with basic information about image.

Synchronize Browser selection with current View – When you navigate between pictures in View mode, currently displayed picture becomes also selected picture in Browser’s file list.

Info on status bar – Defines what additional information is displayed for a picture on the rightmost part of the status bar at the bottom of the XnView’s window. 'Description' is info stored in separate descript.ion file, located in the image's directory, set with 'Edit->Describe' or CTRL+D. 'Comment' is info embedded in JPEG file header, set with 'Edit->Metadata>Set comment' in Browser or 'Edit>Edit comment' in View mode.

Browser->File list

Recognize only by extension - See below

Scan file headers in folders - This and the above option are supposed to handle files with incorrect extensions (like fe. image saved with TXT extension). As for 1.82 it is unclear how they are exactly used, but 'optimized for speed' options are 'Recognize only by extension' checked and 'Scan file headers in folders' set to Never and vice versa for 'optimized for recognition'.
It seems to me that:
- Scanning file headers is required for file coloring ('Browser>File list>Use Colour') in non-Thumbnails mode to work
- Scanning file headers is required for file details display in Details mode
- There is a number of other options affected by these options, like Browser tooltips display.
- Browser's preview seem to always correctly identify files that are displayable in preview
- Such auto identification is not performed in case of opening View

Show hidden files and folders – If checked, file list displays also files with Hidden attribute set. Otherwise, these files are not visible in file list.

Auto refresh – Automatically detects any changes in displayed directory (file additions/deletions/changes) and modifies file list accordingly.

Use Colour - Mark image files with colors depending on image type. Colors are not configurable. Files are coloured only when image headers are read, so always in Thumbnail modes and only if 'Browser>File list>Scan file headers in folders' scans headers in other modes.

Automatically select new files – Files added to file list out of XnView are automatically selected. Already selected files, if any, are deselected.

Show grid lines – If checked, items in Details modes are displayed in a grid, separating every item and every column. Otherwise, they are displayed on a plain background.

Full row select – If selected, in Details mode, clicking an item selects a whole row of data. Otherwise, only filename is selected.

Browser->Files displayed

The table in this Options page enables defining 3 things:
- what items are displayed if Filter of Browser's file list is set to Custom
- what items are displayed as thumbnails in Thumbnails modes and what is fielsize limit for such display
- what items are displayed in Browser's preview and what is fielsize limit for such display
Filesize limits speed up work with very big files, when creating thumbnail or rendering preview takes long time. However, when you decide to View file above limit, it will be displayed.

- 1st column defines if item is shown Thumbnails modes
- 2nd column defines if item is thown in modes other than Thumbnails
- 3rd column defines maximum filesize for which thumbnails are created and items for which thumbnails are created in Thumbnails modes (for others standard Windows icons are used)
- 4th column defines maximum filesize for which preview is shown and items for which preview is displayed.

Some non-obvious issues:
- XnView decides what is an image/video/etc. using file recognition settings in 'Browser>File list' and its own internal file to filetype assignment list, which cannot be changed
- Thumbnail for folder is "4-in-1" thumbnail like in Windows
- 'All other files' are all unrecognized files. Their list may depend on file recognition settings in 'Browser>File list'.
- 'Custom files' overrides settings for any other item, so you may fe. exclude one image type or include some video type unknown by XnView.
- AFPL Ghostscript is required for AI/PS/PDF thumbnail/preview display and viewing.

Browser->Open actions

This page of Options allows user to decide how Open action is handled for particular file type.
File type recognition is defined by options in 'Browser>File list'.
Open action can be performed with 'File>Open'items, RMB menu 'Open' items, by launching XnView for with a file and in ways defined in 'General>Switching modes'.


Show thumbnail for file shortcut – If checked, XnView displays thumbnail for a file that shortcut points to. Otherwise, displays standard Windows icon for the shortcut. Also, on shotcut thumbnails there's Windows' 'shorctut arrow' overlayed.

Show info icons – If checked, overlays small info icons on thumbnail. Avaliable info icons are: EXIF data present, IPTC data present, embedded thumbnail used, image rotated using EXIF info.

Use high quality - Use high quality rendering for thumbnails display.

Use embedded thumbnail – Use thumbnails embedded in JPG or digital camera RAW file (any other formats?) as a base for thumbnail creation (instead of the image itself). This speeds up thumbnail creation.


Use huge thumbnails – If selected, sliders range for thumbnail size is 32-2048 instead of 32-320.

Width and Height – Select parameters for thumbnail size. Setting dimensions with 'View>Thumbnails size" also sets these values.

Border size - Border size around thumbnail frame.

Border color - Border color of thumbnail frame.

Spacing - Horizontal and vertical spacing between thumbnail frames.

Use shadow – Display drop shadow under thumbnail. This option requires TrueColor or 32-bit display.

Background color – Use specified background color for thumbnail display panel instead of default white.

Thumbnail back color – Use specified color for thumbnail inner frame area instead of default white.

Flat style – If unchecked, thumbnail frames appear “raised” by adding a pseudo-3D frame around thumbnail frame and thumbnail area.

Show filename in 'Thumbnail mode' - If unchecked, file names are not shown in Thumbnails mode.


Here you can choose data that are displayed below every thumbnail in Thumbnails&Labels mode.

Text colour - Color for the text on labels.

Text back colour - Color for the background of labels.

Browser->Folder tree

Show Desktop in folder tree – If checked, the topmost item of folder tree is Desktop.

Update Treeview when refresh - Updates also folder tree when refreshing file list with F5, CTRL+R or View->Refresh menu option, or when refreshing automatically with 'Browser>File list>Auto refresh(???).

Single click to expand folder tree – If checked, single click on folder name in folder tree expands it, after a short delay. Otherwise, double-click is required to expand a folder.

Auto collapse - This option keeps folder tree 'minimally expanded', so that after you change directory, all expanded directories not in the current path are automatically folded.

Browser->Preview (settings for preview panel)

Use high quality - Uses high quality rendering for preview images.

Show HexaView for unknown file – Show hexadecimal view for unrecognized file types.

Hide scrollbar – If checked and preview image is greater than panel size, scroll bars are not displayed. Preview can be scrolled by dragging it with mouse.

Background color – Background color for preview panel.

Camera RAW - ???


SlideShow group box – Which files to use if slide show is started and no files are selected in file list.

Convert group box – Which files to use if Convert function is used and no files are selected in file list.


Enable Caching – If unchecked, caching is turned off. Caching writes created thumbnails to disk database, so that they don't need to be created every time a directory is displayed in Thumbnail modes. Is any other information stored in cache, like fe. file type???

Compression – Defines how thumbnails are compressed for disk storage.

list box – Lists cached directories. Each list item contains name of cached directory, number of images cached for a directory and size of cache on a disk.

Remove – Removes from disk the cache for directory selected in the list box.

Remove all – Clears all cache (removes it from a disk).

Optimize - Removes from the cache thumbnails for the files that cannot be accessed at the moment, like deleted or moved files, files on ejected removable disks, inaccesible network drives etc. ???

Directory – Select directory to store cache files. If empty, default directory is used (XnView_install_dir/cache).


Only one view opened - If checked, every opened image replaces previously opened image, so that no more than one window can be opened for View mode.

Maximize View when Open - (This option affects only windowed View run directly from Windows). If checked, image is opened in maximized window, inside of XnView's window. Otherwise it is opened is a window floating in XnView workspace. If option 'General->Use different position/size for browser&view' is set, uses Viewer position.

Auto Image size - You can choose if (and how) image is resized on display. This option generally refers both to fullscreen and windowed View mode.
All images are centered on display.
No fit - Image is not resized, every pixel of the image is mapped to one dot of a screen.
Fit window to image - (only windowed View) View window is resized to size of the image. If image is bigger than XnView window, it is displayed in window maximized in XnView workspace.
Fit image to window, all - Expands or shrinks image to fit View window size.
Fit image to window, large only - Shrinks image to fit View window size. Smaller images are displayed unresized.
Fit image to desktop, all - Expands or shrinks image to fit desktop size.
Fit image to dekstop, large only - Shrinks image to fit desktop size. Smaller images are displayed unresized.
Fit image to window width - Image is resized so that its width fits View window width.
Fit image to window height - Image is resized so that its height fits View window height.

Force XnView to fit Image - (This option is active only if 'Auto Image Size' is set to 'Fit window to image'.) On image display in View window, resize XnView window so that it fits displayed image. Window is centered on screen. If image is bigger than display, XnView window is maximized.

Reset X/Y - (This option is active only if 'Auto Image size' is set to 'Fit image to window width' or 'Fit image to window heightwidth'.) If checked, in windowed View, top left corner of image is aligned with top left corner of window, instead of being centered.

Background color - Background color for View mode window.

Use gamma correction - Gamma correction for displayed images.

Show transparency (<=8bits) - For files with depth <= 8bits per pixel (fe. GIF), show transparent/alpha masked ??? areas in background color. Note: Thumbnails in Browser always show transparency, also for files with depth greater than 8 bit.

Adjust zoom if X/Y DPI are different - If DPI vaules for X and Y dimensions in image differ (fe. for some faxes), adjust displaying image so it has proper proportions.

Hide scrollbar - If unchecked, scroll bars are displayed in View window for images bigger than window.

Change zoom in fixed steps - Every zoom adjustment operation changes magnification by specified factor. Unit for entered value is %. Minimum value is 5.

High zoom quality - With this group box you can define operations, for which algorithms producing higher quality images are used. Options refer both to fullscreen and windowed View mode???

Display units - Select units for selection size, used when making a selection in windowed View mode, displayed in status bar.

Info in status bar - Defines additional information that is displayed for a picture on the rightmost part of the status bar at the bottom of the XnView’s window. 'Description' is info stored in separate descript.ion file, located in the image's directory, set with 'Edit->Describe' or CTRL+D. 'Comment' is info embedded in JPEG file header, set with 'Edit->Edit comment' in View mode.

View->File list

Loop on the file list - If this option is checked, images in current file list (like selected files or files in active directory) are displayed in a loop (ie. using Next file on the last file skips to first file in the list, and using Previous file on the first file skips to last file.)

Go to next image when deleting current - If checked, after deleting file, next file is displayed. Otherwise, the deleted file is still displayed. After deleting the last file, this file is displayed regardless of the setting. This refers only to windowed View mode.
In Fullscreen mode, after deleting file always next file is displayed, or if last picture in file list is deleted, View mode is closed.

Play movie - If checked, when browsing through file list in View mode, movie files are played. Otherwise, they are skipped.

Play sound - If checked, when browsing through file list in View mode, sound files are played. Otherwise they are skipped.

Read one image ahead - When displaying image, read to memory next image in file list, to speed up browsing.

Keep current image in cache - When displaying image, keep previous image is memory. This allows for fast browsing back to previous image.

View->Quick Slide Show

Delay - Delay between image displays in miliseconds.

Direction - Order for displaying files in current file list.

Wrap aroung - If checked, after displaying all images from a file list, slideshow starts from the beginning.


On this page you can define what actions are performed in View mode for selected mouse/keyboard operations.

option values:
Move picture - click-hold and drag to pan image
Make selection - click-hold and drag to make a selection
Previous/Next file - skip to previous/next file in file list
Scroll left/right - pan image to left/right if it is bigger than display size
Scroll up/down - pan image up/down if it is bigger than display size
Zoom - change image magnification
Zoom in - increase image magnification
Move selection - Move selection on image


Enable navigation with left and right mouse button - Clicking left/right mouse button goes to previous/next image in current file list.

Hide scrollbar - If this option is not checked, scroll bars are displayed for images greater than display size.

Hide play bar - Hides play bar for video files.

Auto Image Size - Like View->Auto Image Size, but controls display in fullscreen mode. In this context, 'window' refers to desktop size.

Background color - Background color for file display.

Dual monitor, Stretch over all monitors - In dual monitor setup, stretch image over both monitors.

Dual monitor, Use second monitor (Browser only) - In dual monitor setup, display fullscreen image on second monitor if opened from Browser.

Use delayed high quality for pictures ... - If checked, for images with one dimension greater than specified limit, display quickly rough picture and then replace it with target quality image, after completing rendering it in the background. This option affects only browser preview panel (Browser->Preview->Use high quality must be checked, no effect otherwise) and fullscreen View mode???.

Show information - This option enables overlaying text information on displayed image. Information is used only on display, it is NOT written to image file.

Text setting - You can choose font, background color and location for information text.

Insert - A list of avaliable items you can add to information text. They are replaced by actual values when displaying image.

Slide Show (options for Slide Show command)

Stretch small pictures - If checked, images smaller than display size are resized up to fit screen.

Stretch small videos - As above, but for videos.

Use high quality - Use high quality rendering when displaying images.

Center window - If slideshow is not displayed in full screen, image window is centered on screen. Otherwise, image window is aligned to top-left corner of the screen.

No title bar - If this option is not checked, in fullscreen slideshow images are displayed in maximized window, with title bar and frame. Otherwise, only image and optionally image background are visible. Does not affect slideshow in window.

Use Gamma setting in EXE/SCR - Transfer current 'View->Use gamma correction' option into created EXE/SCR file and use it for display.

Suppress read errors - If checked, any errors during slideshow (like missing image file) are silently ignored. Damaged or truncated files are displayed, if XnView is able to render them.

Save relative paths in SLD file - When saving slideshow file, paths to images are written relative to SLD file. This feature facilitates creation of CD-based slide shows.

Background color - Select color for background in slide show.

Show Information, Text settings, Insert - see corresponding View->Fullscreen options

Read These options refer to reading files

Ignore read errors - Read errors during reading image are silently ignored. Damaged or truncated files are displayed, if XnView is able to render them.

Rotate images based on EXIF orientation - If checked, and if file contains EXIF information on image orientation, it is used for automatic rotation of thumbnails and on image display. Images are rotated for display only, actual image files are not altered in any way.
Some digital cameras register orientation information.

Use EXIF DPI information if exists - JPEG files can contain DPI information both in JPEG header and EXIF header. If checked, in such case EXIF information is used.
When dealing with digital camera images you should leave this option unchecked, as almost no camera records usable information on DPI.

(Format options to do later)

Write These options refer to writing files.

If no extension, add it - While writing image file, if file extension is not specified, it is automatically added based on image type.

Write->File types

list box - In this list box you can select image types avaliable at the top of the list of file types in 'Save as' window.

The most used - Selects only a predefined set of most used file types.

Add all - Selects all file types.

None - Unselects all file types.

(Format options to do later)


Show tooltips - If checked, move mouse pointer over toolbar button and leave it there for a short moment to display a little box with button description.

Use flat buttons - If checked, buttons don't have raised pseudo 3D frame around them.

Show button text - If checked, button name is displayed below button image. The same name is shown by the button tooltip.

Toolbar->Buttons displayed

list boxes - On these lists you can select which buttons are displayed in Browse and View modes.


list box - Select images to be displayed on XnView toolbars.


Hide tab bar when only one window is opened - No tab is displayed if only one XnView window is opened.

No thumbnail in folder tab - If not checked, a small thumbnail of image is displayed next to folder tab name for every View mode tab.

Plugin Adobe 8bf Here you can add and remove avaliable .8bf plugins.

Language Here you can select interface language.

Install Options related to Windows integration and settings' storage.

Add 'Browse with XnView' to context menu - Check to add 'Browse with XnView' option to Windows Explorer context menu. Uncheck to remove it.

Add XnView to 'Send to' context menu - Check to add XnView option to Windows Explorer 'Send to' submenu. Uncheck to remove it.

Associate Slide File with XnView - Check to associate .SLD files with XnView, so that you can launch slideshow by double-clicking .SLD file in Windows Explorer.

Add XnView as applications for USB events - Check to add XnView item to USB connection wizard. Ucheck to remove it.

Add XnView's Icon to Desktop - Place shortcut to XnView on Windows Desktop.

Add Xnview to Programs Menu - Add XnView item to Start->All Programs menu.

Add XnView to Start menu - Add XnView item to Start menu.

Use Windows folder to save INI file - If checked, XnView uses INI file placed in Windows install directory. Otherwise, uses INI file in XnView install directory.

Use registry to save options - All options are saved in Windows registry instead of INI file.

Associations Set Windows file associations here.

View as Name - Sorts items in list box by name.

View as Extension - Sorts items in list box by file extension.

list box - Select file formats to be associated with XnView. Associated files can be opened in XnView by double clicking them in Windows Explorer.

The most used - Selects only a predefined set of most used file types.

Add all - Selects all file types.

Restore all - Restores associations to the state... well, what state???

Include option description in XnView help

Post by Latice »

Thank you very much Xyzzy the explanations of all the various options in XnView. This is really helpful

It would be great if these explanations could be incorporated in XnView's help.
Posts: 98
Joined: Tue Sep 26, 2006 7:41 am

Post by nightflyer »

Can descriptions here be updated and missing information added for 1.90?
User avatar
Posts: 8705
Joined: Sun Oct 12, 2003 6:47 pm
Location: Frankfurt, Germany

Post by helmut »

nightflyer wrote:Can descriptions here be updated and missing information added for 1.90?
Right, the above description does need an update: In XnView 1.90 there are additional settings and moreover the structure of the options has been changed a lot.

Updating the options is quite some work and Xyzzy made an excellent effort when writing all these options up. I guess it will take a while till a volunteer is found to do the update.
Posts: 69
Joined: Sun Sep 16, 2007 10:29 pm

Post by bugmenot »

IF would be good if this can add to the help file, which is mostly empty tables...
maybe a wiki so people can easily add info?
1.95 is confusing, so very hard to know what new options do.