Can you recommend a good TIF viewer?
June 16, 2011 9:56 AM   Subscribe

Tell me your favorite awesome TIF viewer!

I am on the lookout for a good TIF viewer to use at the office. We have a number of clients who scan multi-page documents to TIF format and e-mail the TIF's to us as attachments. While I would always prefer people to scan to PDF, some customers use TIF because of other internal requirements, and as their IT company, I feel kind of foolish telling them "Hey, I don't really have any software that can read this file."

Here are my requirements:

1. Free.
2. Can view multiple-page TIF files. All the image viewers I already have installed (Picasa, Windows Image Viewer, etc.) will show only the first page of the TIF and nothing more.
3. Ability to convert the file to PDF would be a huge bonus, since that's our standard format for scanned docs.

I am currently using something called Brava Reader. It works for viewing all pages of the file, but when I try to print to PDF, it for some reason converts it to a negative image (white text on black background), which is problematic.

If you've got an awesome TIF viewer that you're happy with, please let me know!
posted by stennieville to Computers & Internet (15 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I believe Irfanview will do multipage TIFFs.
posted by echo target at 10:00 AM on June 16, 2011 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Irfanview
posted by desjardins at 10:01 AM on June 16, 2011

Response by poster: I already use Irfanview at home for other image processing functions, but didn't realize it had the TIF capability for some reason. Just downloaded, installed and tested. It's super fast and works like a charm. Thanks!

Do feel free to offer other suggestions, though! Whatever I choose has to get by my management, so it's probably good if I have more than one option.
posted by stennieville at 10:08 AM on June 16, 2011

Ifranview is not free for commercial / at place of business use. Just saying...
posted by m1dra3 at 10:11 AM on June 16, 2011

Response by poster: Ooh. Good to know. Thanks m1dra3. In that case, definitely keep the suggestions coming.
posted by stennieville at 10:22 AM on June 16, 2011

If you have Acrobat, just open the TIF file in Acrobat. You can then save in PDF.
posted by yclipse at 10:30 AM on June 16, 2011

Prizm Viewer ($) browser plug-in. Its smart enough to associate TIFF files with IE when it installs though, so it becomes the default viewer.
posted by SirOmega at 10:36 AM on June 16, 2011

Windows office document imaging (aka MODI) is built into Office, though it's well hidden in recent releases. It handles most types of TIFF, especially the really annoying ones that some scanning systems insist on producing. It also has OCR.

Since PDF supports many of the same data structures as TIFF, tiff2pdf from LibTIFF does a great job of conversion.
posted by scruss at 10:37 AM on June 16, 2011

Are your TIFs saved with some kind of wacky format? The default Windows photo viewers at work can display all pages of multi-page TIFs.
posted by Vibrissa at 10:45 AM on June 16, 2011

Response by poster: Are your TIFs saved with some kind of wacky format? The default Windows photo viewers at work can display all pages of multi-page TIFs.

It looks like the only default Windows photo viewer on my office PC is "Windows Photo Gallery." (I'm on a Vista enterprise machine.) No option to just open one file, I have to add an entire folder to the Gallery. When I do, and find the TIF I'm trying to open, I can only see page 1 of a 3-page doc. No page 2 and no option to move on to the next page. Picasa treats the file the same way. If I go to print it, it does show the other two pages are available to print. Once I print it, I can scan it on our scanner and save it to PDF. Or I can print to PDF, but then it converts it to a much bigger file (1.46 MB vs. 316k in Irfanview) and displays it in landscape (regardless of how I choose to print it).

MS Paint only displays and prints page one. I don't think I have any other default image viewers on the computer.

So I have solutions that work, in the broadest sense of the word, but they only seem to work once I've gone through a series of extra steps. My thinking is that an application designed specifically to handle TIF's would get the job done more efficiently.

I will check out LibTIFF next. I only have the reader version of Adobe, not the full Acrobat. My Adobe Reader won't open a TIF.
posted by stennieville at 11:57 AM on June 16, 2011

Not an answer, but I'll add that Irfanview also has a pretty good library of plug-ins. I use it for casual browsing of my Olympus Raw files (when I'm too lazy to open Photoshop) which can't be opened by much else.

It's (almost) the VLC of image viewers.
posted by coolguymichael at 12:14 PM on June 16, 2011

Huh, okay. I think your TIFs might be in a nonstandard format; when I open a multi-page TIF with the Windows Photo Gallery (and you're right, it doesn't look like there's a convenient way to open a particular file from within the application, though you can select the file in Windows Explorer and open it from there), there's a "Page x of y" label at the bottom of the image, or I can navigate pages with the PageUp/PageDown keys.
posted by Vibrissa at 1:36 PM on June 16, 2011

From the What is InfranView page (deeplink, as the site is based on frames):
IrfanView is provided as freeware, but only for private, non-commercial use (that means at home).

IrfanView is free for educational use (schools, universities and libraries) and for use in charity or humanitarian organisations.

If you intend to use IrfanView at your place of business or for commercial purposes, please register and purchase it. I want to continue working on this program, therefore, your registration will be an incentive for me to add new functions and increase the program's quality.

Any suggestions, feedback and comments are welcome and won't be ignored.

If you are a commercial user and you like this program (or are a home user who wants to support/donate further development), please register/donate by sending US$ 12.00 or EUR 10,- (this is the price for one (single) licence) to the address [on the website]. Please send cash only. (I cannot accept high check cashing fees at the bank)

Commercial users: please contact me by E-Mail for prices and discounts. Note: If you want, you can buy the licenses using PayPal or credit card.
$12 isn't too steep for a single license, given what some other image viewers charge for personal use. It sounds like Irfan would like money for his work, but is willing to work out a deal.

Here's the NoNags page for image viewers. InfranView is one of the programs rated 6/6; the others are FuturixImager, P3dO Explorer (available in a Pro version, but that's more for Poser 3D software users), plus a couple more programs, but they are outdated (company/programmer websites down, or nag-free versions replaced by limited time share-ware/demos).
posted by filthy light thief at 1:49 PM on June 16, 2011

Faststone Image Viewer will do multiple page TIF files. I checked! And it's free.
posted by gilast at 4:28 PM on June 16, 2011

My standard MO for this is to open in Image Viewer, then print to PDF with CutePDF. Printing prints all pages, even if you cannot view them.
posted by effigy at 7:21 PM on June 16, 2011

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