How to configure XnView properly

Frequently Asked Questions regarding XnView (including Answers)

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How to configure XnView properly

Post by helmut »

Note: The description below refers to XnView 1.82. In XnView 1.90 categories and layout of options dialog have changed.

Setting up XnView on a computer is very simple and can be done by just copying the appropriate files onto your computer. This is basically what happens when you use the setup program. After installing XnView, you can start and use XnView and use, but working with XnView can become so much easier and more effective you if customize your settings. There are many options depending on your needs. Here are some of them.

Settings made during installation
When installing XnView only minimal changes will be made on your computer.
During installation XnView...
... creates a Program group in Start > Programs.
... creates shortcuts on your desktop and in the task bar.

There aren't any other registry settings made during installation. By default, options are stored in a .ini file, so Windows Registry will not be used and changed.

You might wonder "Why are these settings not active by default?”. "Why does the installation program not ask me?” Good points. There are several reasons why this is not done. Developing a good setup program which allows configuring during installation is quite some work. Also, at first you might want to just test XnView and give it more rights and set associations at a later stage.

Using the options dialog
All settings are available in the options dialog of XnView. The settings are stored in the file "xnview.ini" or in the Windows registry. To open the option dialog, select the menu entry "Tools >Options " or click on the appropriate symbol in the toolbar. Alternatively, you can press function key 'F12' on the keyboard.

"Options" dialog with categories

On the left side of the options dialog you will see the category tree. There are many options available, so they have been categorized for easier access. On the right side, there are the options. By clicking on an specific entry in the category tree, you can switch in-between categories. Some categories have sub categories, you will see a [+], then. Click on the [+] and the subcategories will become visible.

Important options
Now let's step through the categories in the "Options" dialog and set some important options. Below these important options are described by category.

Category "Language"
When starting XnView the very first time, it determines and adopts your computer's language setting. E.g., if you have an English Windows installed, the on-screen language of XnView will be English.
In some cases, e.g., when installing additional languages using the language pack as Add-On, you might need to set the language manually. In the category "Language" of the options dialog, simply select the language you want XnView to display. When confirming your setting with the "OK" button the options dialog will close and the language will change immediately.

Category "Install"
As written above, during installation of XnView minimal changes are made on your computer. If you want to integrate XnView in your daily work, it's recommended to make some settings in this category.

- Add "Browse with XnView" to context menu
In MS Explorer, you can right-click on a file or directory and thus open the so-called context menu. When setting this options, a menu item "Browse with XnView" will be added to the context menu of MS Explorer. When browsing directories using MS Explorer, you can then quickly switch to XnView by right-clicking onto a directory, and then choosing the menu item "Browse with XnView". You will see XnView starting and displaying the contents of the directory you have applied the action. Very convenient.

- Associate slide file with XnView
XnView supports slide shows. You can setup a slide show and watch it. If you want to see the same slide show at a later stage, you can save the slide show in a .sld file. When setting this options, you can double-click on a .sld file in MS Explorer and start the XnView slide show immediately.

- Add XnView’s icon to desktop
- Add XnView to "Programs" menu
- Add XnView to "Start" menu
Depending on the way you work and how often you want to use XnView, you might find it useful to have icons or menu entries to start XnView. Decide yourself.
Please note, that if you have used the XnView setup for installing XnView, you will have a menu entry in the "Programs" menu, already.

Category "Associations"
XnView is an excellent graphic viewer and also offers various functions and features for image manipulation and editing. If you want to always open your image files in XnView when double-clicking on an image file in MS Explorer, you can set this here. In the category "Associations", choose the file types which you want to associate with XnView.

Category "Browser"
- Show Desktop in folder tree
By default, the top node of the folder tree shown in the XnView browser is the node "My Computer". Instead, you may want to have the node "Desktop" as top node. "Desktop" as top node is standard of MS Explorer and allows you to directly browse your "Desktop" folder, network environment and your "My documents" folder.

Fine tuning
By now you probably noticed that there are numerous options available in the options dialog. Above only the most important ones have been discussed. Once you have worked a bit more with XnView, you should reopen the "Options" dialog and see whether you can do some fine tuning.

There are other FAQs dealing with installation and configurations which are worth while reading:
- How to associate image files with XnView
- How can XnView interact with other (graphic) programs?
- Two settings for more Privacy
- How to change XnView's look
- How to get and install the Online Help document
- What is needed for a minimal installation?
- Technical info about XnView's settings (store & load)