Ever since I got a digital camera, I’ve been searching out efficient tools for managing and processing all of the pictures we take. Considering how poorly I’ve been doing at updating the kids gallery lately (or *not* updating it, if you want to look at it that way), you might think I’ve been doing a rather poor job of searching, but that’s beside the point. For quite a while now I’ve been using several small programs to do various tasks. I had one that had a nice interface for cropping, another that had a good tool for resizing, and several more for other small tweaks. That was working pretty well, but it was a bit of a hassle to have to move through several tools in order to get things done.

A few days ago, though, I found a single tool that does almost all of what I need to do, and that tool is the FastStone Image Viewer. It loads quickly and has a fairly straightforward user interface. Both the cropping tool and the resizing tool are nice, and it does lossless JPEG rotation, including automatic rotation based on the EXIF tag. I’ve been able to remove four separate tools and replace them all with this one. I still use Lightroom for my RAW images, but the FastStone Image Viewer is the only tool I need for basic operations on JPEG images. The program is free for personal use, but I went ahead and purchased a commercial license for it anyway because I appreciate what the author is doing.