Thumbview adds thumbnail support for a wide variety of image formats not natively supported in Windows


Thumbview is an open source program introduces thumbnail support (in Windows’ thumbnail folder view mode) to 19 image types that are not natively supported in Windows, including PNG, PSD and TIFF.

It also adds informational tooltips for image file formats that are displayed when images are hovered over by the mouse.

Ever wondered why some image files display a preview thumbnail in explorer (when using ’thumbnail’ view) while others don’t? The reason quite simply is that Windows by default includes thumbnail support for only a handful of image files (e.g. JPG, GIF, BMP and a few others).

What Thumbview does is add another 19 image types to this: CUT, DCX, DDS, MDL, MNG, PCD, PCX, PIC, PIX, PNG, PNM/PBM/PGM/PPM, PSD/PDD, PSP, PXR, SGI/RGB, TGA/VDA/ICB/VST, TIF/TIFF, WAL and XPM.

The screenshot above illustrates this; the folder on the left shows a folder in “thumbnail view” under Windows XP that contains 3 image files; the thumbnails for JPG images are showing while the PSD image is not. Once Thumbview is installed, however, thumbnail support is introduced for PSD (as well as numerous other image types not illustrated in the screenshot). Tooltips are now also available whenever you hover over any image with the mouse, which in itself is a very handy feature that can be very useful to have.

Here are some notes on this program:

  • According to the developer, this program will not consume resources in the background at all times as it will not run as a process but as “a shell extension (COM) called by Windows when it wants to display a thumbnail”.
  • There are 2 editions of this program, “Thumbview Lite” and “Thumbview Full”. You will most likely be interested in the former (“Thumbview Lite”) as the other “Full” version is, according to the website “targeted at programmers that want total control over the installed Thumbnail Extractors and make their own”. I tested the “Lite” version to get thumbnail support for all 19 supported image types; however, from the looks of it it seems the “full” version allows you to choose which extensions to add thumbnail support to in your system. Both versions are 100% free.

Version tested: Thumbview Lite 1.0

Compatibility: Windows XP/2003/2000; (may or may not work on Windows Vista, according to the developer’s site).

Go to the download page to get the latest version(approx 404K). Also visit the program home page.