Ottawa PC Users' Group, Inc.
- A Canadian Image Management System
by Alan German
world need yet another image manager? Well, maybe not,
but ACDSee is worthy of note in the category, not only
because of its Canadian origins (the company is based in
Victoria, BC), but also because it is a fully-featured
package available at relatively low cost.
The basic screen layout is a three-panel display, one
showing the directory tree of a selected disk, one
displaying thumbnail images of the files in a selected
directory, and the third for a larger preview of a
selected image. Clicking on any thumbnail image causes
the newly selected image to be displayed in the preview
window. Double clicking on the thumbnail or the preview
pops up a window to display the image at a pre-defined
magnification, including full-screen display. Once an
image is displayed in this window, other images in the
same directory can be viewed by clicking on
Next or Previous icons or, even
more conveniently, by scrolling a mouse wheel. One very
nice feature of the program is that it caches the
thumbnail images that have been previously viewed so
that, while first time around thumbnails in a directory
may load only moderately quickly, the next time one
selects the directory the thumbnails are available almost
instantly. So, the basic image viewing system is a snap.
released version of ACDSee is 7.0. Users of earlier
versions should be aware that while the basic features of
the program are still available, the user interface has
been modified considerably and certain commands are now
in different locations.
The newly designed graphic interface is very colourful
and quite intuitive. A multitude of options are available
to customize the way in which items are displayed, and
there are many tools available to process images in
Graphic icons, drop-down and tabbed menus provide quick
access to the extensive series of features. For example,
there are seven basic ways in which the files in a
directory can be displayed, including the default of a
thumbnail image of each file, a filmstrip
view of the images, and tiles that contain both the
thumbnail image and the details of the image file (name,
file size, date, type and image size in pixels). One neat
feature is that the thumbnail display size can easily be
changed using an on-screen slider.
One can easily convert an image to a different file
format, resize or rotate the image, and change the
exposure with various controls. ACDSee features a
built-in editor; however, if the range of editing control
offered is insufficient for your purposes, or if you
prefer to use a specific image editor, the program allows
you to specify which available editor should be called up
to get the job done.
A very useful feature offered by ACDSee is the ability to
batch process a range of images. This is especially
effective when one wishes to rotate a number of
photographs from a digital camera that are shown in
landscape format but need to be viewed in portrait mode.
Similarly, one can easily rename a whole directory of
images from the ubiquitous DSCN0697.JPG format to the
perhaps more meaningful georgia_vacation_dec04_001.jpg.
Its a simple matter of selecting all the images,
using Rename, and setting the template to
georgia_vacation_dec04_###.jpg and your images are
instantly renamed from number 001 through 176 (or
A few other features that I will mention briefly here are
the ability to acquire images through a TWAIN compatible
scanner; printing a contact sheet with
multiple thumbnail images on a single page; creating a
slide show of selected images with a range of transition
effects; and producing a web page (HTML file) to display
selected images in a browser. The latter is quite slick
for those who dont know anything about creating web
pages but wish to share images with friends without
sending multiple files by E-mail or on a CD-ROM. A Wizard
is used to produce the code to display the selected
images with an option to launch the default web browser
to show the resulting page. One can customize the page to
some extent by specifying such items as the number of
rows and columns for the images, title and captions, and
the colours to be used on the page. The images are
displayed as a series of thumbnails but clicking on one
of the images pops up the image full size in the browser.
ACDSee also has a powerful search utility that will
locate and display images according to various criteria.
For the users of digital cameras, the program also has a
neat feature where two similar images can be displayed
side by side so that the user can pick out the best shot.
Some of the new features listed that I didnt try
are the ability to view over 100 file formats, including
photographs, graphics, PDF, RAW, audio, video and
playlist formats; obtain images from a cellular
telephone, and send images to such a phone;
managing a digital cameras memory card from within
ACDSee; automatically synchronizing local folders with an
external hard drive, network location, or remote
computer; support for burning images to CD or DVD; and
serving images over the Web using peer-to-peer
If you need a powerful image management system, ACDSee
may be the package for you. A trial version of the
software is available as a free download. Once you
install the trial version, be prepared to activate it by
letting it connect to ACDSees web site. If you do
this within seven days, your trial period is extended to
30 days and, in addition, you will be offered an option
to extend the trial period for a further 15 days, for a
total of 45 days. Now, that should let you give the
package a good workout!
Proprietary (US$ 44.99)
ACD Systems International Inc.
Copyright and Usage
Computer Users Group (OPCUG), Inc.
3 Thatcher Street,
Ottawa, ON K2G 1S6
opinions expressed in these reviews may not necessarily
represent the views
of the OPCUG or its members.