qView is a minimalistic image viewer for Windows, Linux and macOS

We have reviewed quite a few image viewers here, from ImageGlass, qimgv, FocusOn Image Viewer, and more recently, Wildbit Viewer. This time we tested something that offers a minimal approach, qView.

qView is a minimalistic image viewer for Windows, Linux and macOS

It is an open source and cross platform software for Windows, Linux and macOS. The program opens up to a blank screen, which is not unlike qimgv. Right-click to access the qView menu, click open to select an image, and the program loads the picture.

Don’t like that method? Use the context menu to navigate to the Options > Window tab, and enable the menu bar. This tab also lets you change the background color of the interface, set the title bar style (Basic, Minimal, Verbose), and the automatic resizing behavior of the window.

You can drag an image to position it anywhere on the screen. It’s useful when you’re viewing a wide-angle picture or a panorama. To Zoom in or out, use the mouse wheel.

qView panorama

Double-clicking on a picture switches to full-screen view. A second-double click takes you to the windowed mode. Once an image has been loaded in qView, you can jump between other pictures that are in the same folder using the arrow keys. The application has several keyboard shortcuts that you can view from the Shortcuts tab in the Options. And yes, the shortcuts can be modified.

qView supports the following image formats: JPG, BMP, GIF, PNG, CUR, ICNS, ICO, JP2, JPEG, JPE, MNG, PBM, PGM, PPM, SVG, SVGZ, TIF, TIFF, WBMP, WEBP, XBM and XPM. Yes, that includes animated GIFs. The program also supports web images, i.e., you can paste a picture’s URL to view it in the qView directly. The context menu can be used to access recently viewed images, open an image’s folder in Explorer.

The “show file info” option lists the picture’s name, format, location, size, resolution with megapixel count, and aspect ratio. The View menu has options to reset the zoom, view an image in its original size, full screen, rotate, flip or mirror the picture. Watch a slideshow of an image folder from the tools menu in qView. By default, it loads the next image after 5 seconds. You can modify this setting from the program’s options. The application allows you to set the sorting order (Name, Last Modified, size, type).

The program uses bilinear filtering and image scaling, and these are pre-enabled, but you can toggle them if required. The default zoom level, and behavior for zoom and window resize are also customizable to some extent.qView Linux version

qView is written in QT. The application is available in 32-bit and 64-bit versions. Portable archives of qView can be found at the download page. You may use the DEB file at the download page, to install the Linux version. The Linux and Windows versions are identical.

qView Linux

The program doesn’t use a lot of resources when you use it normally. I did notice a memory spike viewing a slideshow of high resolution photos, it jumped from 75MB to 150MB, but that may have been due to the fact that the picture was very large in size. Otherwise, it stayed in the 70s for the most part.

Thanks to gHacks reader Hashama, for mentioning qView in the comments section of the ImageGlass article.

qView

For Windows

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Customize the mouse pointer's movement and behavior with WinMouse

How much do you rely on your mouse everyday? If you’re like me, the answer is probably a lot.

Customize the mouse pointer's movement and behavior with WinMouse

Take into account everything you do with the mouse, from opening applications, taking screenshots, editing them, positioning the cursor while typing. There is one particular thing we all use it for, but don’t often notice it, that’s moving the mouse from the bottom to the top of the screen.

WinMouse is a freeware tool that can help improve your mouse usage’s efficiency, by moving the cursor from one edge of the screen to another when you want it to. The program’s interface has six tabs: ScreenWrap, Pointer Options, Wheel, Buttons, and Stats. Let’s see what they are for.

ScreenWrap

This is WinMouse’s primary feature. When you move the cursor to the edge of the screen, it will appear on the opposite edge. This can save some time and effort. ScreenWrap works on specific points on the screen, which are called active zones. There are two modes for this feature, straight ScreenWrap which works in a horizontal/vertical way, i.e. in a standard X-axis and Y-axis pattern. If you move the cursor to the edge at the top of the screen, it will appear on the opposite side on the bottom. It appears on the opposite edge when you move it to one side.

Next is the diagonal ScreenWrap. This only works when the Control key is pressed, and is quite similar to the straight mode, except when you move the cursor to a part of the screen, it will appear in the diagonally opposite location (sort of like corner-to-corner).

But it’s not perfect. You may want to slow down a little when using vertical scroll bars, because if you move the cursor to the edge, it’ll appear on the other side of the screen. The same goes for the title bar in most windows, the default zone is near the location of the minimize button. That said, you can customize the setting to fix this issue.

You can require a key to be pressed for ScreenWrap to be activated: Ctrl or Shift or Scroll Lock (enabled). This option is available for straight and diagonal modes. Personally I enabled the hotkey (Shift) as I was constantly triggering ScreenWrap when switching tabs in Firefox. On the other hand, if you want to disable ScreenWrap temporarily, you can set some hotkeys for the trigger (Ctrl or Shift or Alt) or either mouse buttons.

WinMouse displays the area where ScreenWrap’s active and inactive zones are. Refer to the screenshot to see them. You may change the zone locations in terms of width and height for the Top-left, top-right, bottom-left and bottom-right parts of the screen. Don’t want to use it in one or more of the 4 locations? You can disable the ones which you don’t find useful. If you really don’t like it, you may disable ScreenWrap altogether.

Note: The program’s Pointer Options, Wheel and Buttons are settings that are available in Windows’ Control Panel. But there are a few additional options that you may find useful.

Pointer Options

You can customize the mouse speed, set the acceleration threshold for the X and Y axes from WinMouse’s Pointer Options. There are a couple of visibility options that accessibility users may find useful. The first option lets you enable mouse trails (short – long). The Sonar feature displays concentric circles around the cursor when the Ctrl key is pressed. It may be handy for locating the pointer’s position. Toggle the “hide pointer while typing” setting and the cursor will disappear when you use the keyboard. Move the mouse to get the cursor back.

WinMouse pointer options

Wheel

The Wheel tab lets you define the vertical scrolling and horizontal scrolling settings, i.e. the number of lines and the number of characters respectively.

WinMouse wheel

Buttons

Define the double-click speed in terms of milliseconds and test it by clicking the box in the tab. You may set the double-click area, swap the left and right mouse buttons (useful for southpaws) from this tab. The ClickLock setting temporarily disables the left mouse button when you press and hold it for a defined number of milliseconds. Unlock it with a second click.

WinMouse buttons

Stats

This tab displays statistics such as the pointer position, the distance traveled by the mouse, the number of clicks you made with the right and left mouse button, and the number of times you used the ScreenWrap. What did surprise me was the distance traveled by the mouse, I noticed the number dropping the more I used ScreenWrap. It makes sense, I didn’t have to drag the cursor along the screen to the tray, taskbar or start menu, and back again to my browser tabs, and other programs.

WinMouse stats

WinMouse can be minimized to the system tray. Right-click on the icon to view a rather long context menu. It contains all the features of the program in a single menu. Use it to toggle ScreenWrap, set the mouse speed, enable/disable mouse trails, sonar, configure the vertical scrolling, swap the mouse buttons, or to turn ClickLock on.

WinMouse context menu

When you try WinMouse’s ScreenWrap for the first time, it feels wonky. Set the hot key for triggering it to prevent accidental corner switching. It takes some getting used to, but once you familiarize yourself with it, you’ll start landing the cursor accurately. I think it is a good feature for trackpad users, or those who have a low sensitivity mouse.

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Capture screenshots, delayed shots, scrolling snapshots, and edit them with Screenpresso

Screenpresso was my go to screen capturing option for many years, until a friend recommended that I try ShareX a couple of years ago. We have covered plenty of such tools in the past including Martin’s favorite program PicPick, and I think it’s fair to share my experience with my former favorite tool.

Capture screenshots, delayed shots, scrolling snapshots, and edit them with Screenpresso

Screenpresso places a capture bar at the top of the screen that has the two buttons to record a video or capture a screenshot of a region. Clicking the arrow next to the icons displays more options.

Screenpresso capture bar
Screenpresso capture bar 2

The same options are available from the tray icon’s context-menu, which is my preferred way of using the program.

Screenpresso context menu

Click the Screenshot region option and draw a box anywhere on the screen to capture the content in it. “Screenshot previous region” saves a snapshot of the screen’s region that you marked earlier.

screenpresso capture screen region
Note: I recommend disabling the anonymous telemetry from the Settings > General tab.

Want to capture the entire screen? Use the “Screenshot full screen” option. Timed captures are easy with the “Delayed screenshot”, which captures a selected region or the entire screen after a delay of three seconds.

Screenshot using autoscroll is a nice option when you want to capture a snap of a web page. It’s very easy to use. For e.g go to the gHacks homepage, select the area where you wish to get the scrolling screenshot from, and hit the left mouse button. Use the mouse wheel to scroll and click the left mouse button as you keep scrolling. Right-clicking finalizes the capture, the end result is a long screenshot.

Note:  Despite the name autoscroll, it doesn’t scroll down automatically. You’ll need to use the mouse wheel or the scroll bar.

Video recording

Screenpresso isn’t exactly a screen recording tool, and as such you shouldn’t use it for gameplay or other videos. It’s useful for creating short videos mostly in my opinion.

Draw a box or use one of the resolution options (1280 x 720 YouTubeHD, 1920 x 1080p YouTube HD, etc) to capture the screen. Hit the start button and it begins the process. You can tweak some settings such as direct recording to mp4, display a countdown timer, highlight mouse-clicks, record audio from system sound or the microphone, etc.

screenpresso video recording

Note: Please be aware that the free version of Screenpresso includes a watermark in the videos. But like I said before, it isn’t a screen recording tool. Take a look at OBS Studio, ScreenToGIF, or SimpleScreenRecorder which are free and offer more features.

While you’re at it, you may ignore the Android Center, Copy text (OCR) and Color picker options as these are exclusive to the Pro version. I used the premium version and found the OCR feature to be a sort of hit-and-miss. For a Color picker you’re better off using the freeware Color Mania tool.

When you capture a screenshot, the program displays its workspace that contains a preview of the snapshot. It stays on the screen for a few seconds and fades away. To reopen the workspace left click the tray icon. You’ll see all recent screenshots that you’ve captured with the program. The application automatically saves a copy of every screenshot that you take.

Screepresso options

Screenpresso saves the images in the PNG format by default. You can change it to JPG, GIF, BMP, or TIF from the Screenshot tab in the program’s settings. This page has several useful options. You can customize the naming pattern of the files and the hotkeys for capturing screenshots can be customizable. The watermark option is yet another feature locked behind the Pro version, but don’t worry, the program has an editor which can be used for the same task.

Screenpresso workspace

Right-click an image in the workspace to access a context menu. You can use it to perform various operations such as open (with an external program or the internal viewer), save, export, resize, copy it to the clipboard etc.

Screenpresso image context menu

Editor

Select a screenshot from the workspace and click the edit button to open Screenpresso’s built-in image editor. You may use it to edit existing images, and for editing multiple images at the same time.

The editor has the following tools: draw an arrow, rectangle, add text, text in bubble (like in a comic book), add numbered buttons, highlight text, draw ellipse, polygon, freehand, blur content, add image, magnifying glass and draw brace.

screenpresso editor tools

The arrow tool has multiple types including double-sided arrows, line, styled arrow, etc. You can change the opacity, color, thickness and shadow, for most of these tools. The magnifying glass doesn’t actually magnify content, but is useful for highlighting an area in a picture. And you may use the text and image options in the editor to add watermarks to your screenshots, photos, etc.

I remember being annoyed by Screenpresso’s forced updates. I had the Pro version on my PC, while the free version was on my laptop. The free version always forces you to update to the latest build; it is impossible to skip the update and use the application (unless you work offline).

Here’s a screenshot I took after running an old version of Screenpresso that I had saved.

Screenpresso free version nag screen

It may not sound like a big deal, but what if the developer decides to cut a free feature and put it behind a paywall or add unwanted content to the program? That will not be very nice, will it? The program displays a nag screen once you reach a certain number of screenshots, suggesting you to upgrade to Pro, though you can ignore this. Aside from those annoyances and the locked features, Screenpresso is a pretty good application for taking screenshots and editing them.

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AZip is a basic, lightweight and portable archiving tool

7-Zip is the king of archiving tools, the only competition to it in my opinion is WinRAR.  Wanting to try something different, I gave AZip a try to see how it stacks up.

AZip is a basic, lightweight and portable archiving tool

It is a portable software, the executable is about 2.3MB in size. The program’s interface has the usual stuff, a two pane view, a toolbar and a menubar at the top, and a status bar at the bottom. The left pane is the tree view used for browsing the archive, while the other is used to view the archive’s contents. The file list pane has the following columns at the top: Name, Type, Modified, Attributes, Size, Packed, Ratio, Format, CRC 32, Name encoding and Result. You can disable the columns from the View menu, though you cannot rearrange them.

Click the open archive button to load a compressed file. AZip only supports two types of archive formats: ZIP and JAR. You may drag and drop files onto AZip’s interface to open an archive or to create a new one. The application prompts you to save the file when you create it, after which you can add files and folders using the + button (or drag and drop).

AZip compression statistics

Once you create an archive, click the “properties” option from the file menu to view the compression statistics, this also tells you which compression format was used for the archive and the compression ratio. I tried compressing a bunch of PDFs (91.5MB), and AZip’s outpt file size was about 74.4MB with a compression ratio of 81%. It’s acceptable, but maybe it can do better. You can do what I did, and use the “Recompress Archive” option from the Tools menu (Ctrl + R) or the toolbar. Wait for a few seconds and it should finish recompressing the files. Check the result column to see whether it made a difference.

AZip test 3
AZip test 4

The properties window said that the ratio is 77% and the file size dropped a further 3.5MB. It also says that AZip used the LZMA compression method for the process. Small differences like this may not seem significant, but add them up, and they can help you save storage space.

AZip supports Reduce, Shrink, Implode, Deflate, Deflate64, BZip2, LZMA compression methods. The resulting file size of the compression and recompression depends on the file types that you add to the archive.

Encrypt archives by using the + icon which has a key. AZip prompts you to set up a password for the ZIP. Archives that are encrypted by the program can be opened/extracted using any other file archiver including Windows Explorer’s Zip feature, 7Zip, etc.

AZip encrypt archive

To unzip an archive’s contents, select the folder or files that you wish to use and select the extract option from the toolbar. Alternatively, right-click on the selected files and choose the extract menu item. The output folder is opened when the extraction process is completed, this is the only feature that I wish 7-Zip had.

The Update Archive option is handy if you want to sync new or modified files to an existing archive. Another useful tool in AZip is the “Test Archive” option that checks ZIP files for errors. The application has a search utility that allows you to find content inside archives quickly, and the result column highlights items that matched the search term.

AZip search

You can open several archives at the same time using AZip. Each archive is loaded in its own window. To shift between open archives, either use the window’s minimize/maximize button, or click the Window menu and select the one you want to view. Minimized windows are placed at the bottom of the screen.

AZip tile view

The Window menu has some additional options that can cascade all windows or tile them horizontally or vertically. The tile options are pretty cool, because they load the archives in a multi-pane view. To use the dual-pane mode, open 2 archives and then select one of the tile options. When you have more than 3 windows in the cascade view and click on the tile options, they’ll be re-arranged in a multi-pane view.

The program is open source. You can use it from the command line. Since it’s a portable application, there is no context menu item to use in Windows Explorer.

AZip can’t hold a candle to 7-Zip, it doesn’t aim to be a replacement. But for a basic 2MB portable archiver application, it does what it’s supposed to without using a lot of resources. The main thing that is holding it back is its limited support for formats. If all you need is zip, it may be an option but most users probably encounter the odd format, e.g. RAR or TAR, every now and then as well and that is when another archiver needs to be used.

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DownZemAll is an open source download manager for Windows, Linux and macOS

Recently, while casually browsing GitHub, I came across a name that seemed familiar at first; it turned out to be a new download manager called DownZemAll.

DownZemAll is an open source download manager for Windows, Linux and macOS

The program’s name is very similar to the popular DownloadThemAll! extension for Firefox, which is what surprised me. The official page reveals that the developer of DownZemAll started the project during the time the legacy add-on stopped working with Firefox Quantum, and seems to have used it as the inspiration to rewrite this application.

But that’s where the similarities end, because DownZemAll is a desktop program. Let’s take a look at it to see how it stacks up. The interface is mostly what you’d expect in a download manager: a menu bar, toolbar, the main pane, but unlike others, DownZemAll has a sidebar too. The options in the side panel are also available from the right-click menu.

The download pane displays the filename of the content that you’re downloading, the server where it is being obtained from, a download progress bar and the percentage of completion, the file’s size, the estimated time for the download to be completed, and the current download speed. Click the plus button on the toolbar to add a new download and paste a file’s URL in the download field. Optionally enter a custom name to save it in. You can set the download folder from this dialog box. The program also supports batch downloading of files.

DownZemAll add new download

DownZemAll displays a pop-up notification near the system tray when a download has been completed (or failed). Right-click on an entry in the download list to view DownZemAll’s context menu. This menu (and the side-panel) lets you view the download information (URL, size, etc), open the file, rename it, delete it or open the folder where it’s saved.

You may copy the download URL, and manage the download (pause, resume, cancel, remove), move them up or down the queue. The program can also be used to download videos from streaming services. Click the video download button (next to the + icon), and paste the stream’s URL to download the media.

DownZemAll context menu

Down Right Now (companion extension for Firefox and Chrome)

While DownZemAll is a desktop program, it has an optional extension for Firefox and Chrome called Down Right Now. While the name sort of sounds like a website server status checker, this one is actually a tool that sends the download command from your browser to DownZemAll.

Down Right now new download

So, how does this work. Once you install the add-on, it is available on the toolbar as an icon, and as a context menu item. Mouse ever a file that you want to download, right-click on it, and select “Save link with Down Right Now”. This sends the download to DownZemAll which immediately starts the download process. I did have an issue with Down Right Now, and that’s because it didn’t recognize the portable version of the desktop client. So I ran the Install.bat in the portable folder, and it created the relevant registry entries. And bingo!, the add-on recognized it as an installed program.

Down Right now download all content

There’s one additional function that the extension is capable of. Click on the Down Right Now toolbar icon and it should display all links on the web page you’re currently on, and you can choose which ones of those you want to save. This does remind me of DownThemAll.

Portable versions of DownZemAll are available for 32-bit and 64-bit computers. The application is based on QT5 and written in C/C++. There are 2 different portable builds available, MSVC is the Microsoft Visual C++ version which uses Chromium’s engine and Google Gumbo. The MinGW GCC Compiler version does not use Chromium.

Note: It appears a newer version of the program has been released. This review is based on version 1.7.3. The application is also available for Linux and macOS, but I was unable to test those.

Though DownZemAll doesn’t have automatic browser monitoring, the extension bridges the gap pretty well. I didn’t find anything to complain about regarding the download speeds and the overall performance of the program. It is in my opinion, a good alternative to XDM and HTTP Downloader (which I have been using for the past few months).

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