Vjpeg: view image files on the desktop as objects


Vjpeg is a fast, lightweight free image viewing program designed to open “images as objects”, such that they are draggable on the desktop and not placed within a program window.

We are so accustomed to images opening in application windows that this viewer at first feels so .. unusual. In fact there is something so pleasing about manipulating images on the desktop as objects, most notably the ability to place them side by side for simultaneous viewing, which might come in handy if you need to, say, compare or contrast a number of images.

The developer writes about his motivation in creating this viewer in terms of viewing large files (the program makes them large images smaller but allows for instant resizing).

Here are more notes on this program:

  • How it works: click on an image file and it will open as a draggable object on the desktop. Right click to close the picture. Note that Vjpeg provides for layered images whereby images can overlap or can be moved on top of each other or other windows.
  • Changing image size: left-clicking on the image moving it towards (and then away from) any of the four edges resizes it (actually very easy to get the hang of). Double clicking on an image enlarges to actual size or maximizes full screen if the image is larger than the screen.
  • Supported filetypes: becomes the default viewer for JPG, BMP, and GIF; can also open Photoshop PSD but the author does not make it the default viewer for that format. Does NOT support PNG, unfortunately.
  • Keyboard Shortcuts/manipulations: the arrow keys rotate images clockwise/counter-clockwise by 90 degrees. Pressing (e) emails the original file, while (E) emails the bits of the image on screen (i.e. a compressed image). For color auto-levels press (a), while CTRL-alt-Q closes all open images. CTRL+0 through 3 resizes images, and CTRL+plus/minus enlarges/makes smaller; Alt+enter = maximize to the edges of the screen.
  • Installation: the installer will install in C:’Windows and provide an uninstall entry in add/remove programs.

Wish list:

  • The ability to invoke this program through a combination of mouse and keyboard shortcut, such as left clicking an image while holding down (shift), and otherwise having another image viewer function as the default viewer for the system. I realize this is unusual but surely it is possible.
  • PNG filetype support.
  • A way to scroll through images in a single display that are in the same folder, such as page up/page down and or as using the mouse scroll wheel.
  • Seems to affect video file associations; I had to go to my media player (The KMPlayer) and re-associate media files.

The verdict: I really like this program because it is simple, innovative, and original, and because it provides a great user experience (dragging images around on the screen as objects is really rather cool). My advice: use this as your default image viewer and for all other image manipulation/editing functions (e.g. resizing, rotating, cropping, etc) use the fantastic Photoscape (or see this post for other freeware image manipulation options).

Version Tested: n/a.

Compatibility: WinAll.

Go to the program page to download the latest version (approx 138K).