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Opening Images

How To View Pictures On Your Computer

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XnView Freeware Screen Shot

XnView is a versatile multi-platform viewer that can open a large number of image file types.

© S. Chastain

You're on the web now... a whole new world has just opened up. Now you have instant access to information on just about anything you could imagine... games, music, software, and, yes... pictures! Your children, perhaps thousands of miles away, can now share pictures of their own children with you almost instantly. You've learned how to save those pictures off the web or from e-mail, and now you've got quite a collection safely tucked away on your hard disk or floppy.

  • Be Responsible
    Before you right-click to save those graphics, learn how to be a responsible netizen. If the pictures you're saving are snapshots from friends and family members, you probably have nothing to worry about, but keep in mind that not everything on the Web is free for the taking. Some of those pictures you're saving may have copyrights attached to them. Always check with the owner of a site before you take their pictures or anything else... it's the polite thing to do! More info...

Your neighbor Bob stops by and you jump at the chance to show off the latest pictures of little Johnny (not to mention your newly acquired cyber-skills). So you drag Bob over to the computer, double-click on a picture and... uh-oh... instead of seeing your newest grandkid, you get a box asking for a program to open it with, or worse, an error message! Bob mutters something under his breath about technology these days... now what do you do?

Chances are, you just don't have an image viewing program associated with your picture files. Every file type in your computer must be associated with a specific program before your computer knows what to do with it. Usually, these associations are set automatically when you install software, so your computer knows that a *.DOC file opens in Word or WordPerfect, a *.TXT file opens in Notepad, and so on. If you've download a file type that doesn't have a program associated with it, your computer has to ask you what to do. Similarly, if a file becomes associated with a program that is incapable of reading that file type, or if the associated program has been deleted, you'll get an error. The remedy is simple and I'll show you what you need to do.

If you're in a pinch and you don't have time to download any software, the quickest way to view GIF and JPEG images (the image types most commonly found on the web) is using your web browser.

In Internet Explorer or Firefox, or Chrome, go to the File Menu and select Open, then Browse. In the Browse dialog box, set Files of Type to the file you want to open (GIF, JPEG, etc.) and navigate the Look in box to the folder where the file is located. Double-click the filename and it should display in your browser. You may get a message saying that a program could not be found. If you do, just click OK, and the image will display in your browser window.

It's much easier, however, if you have a dedicated image viewer to open your pictures.

Next > Opening Graphics with a Viewer

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