How to install and use IrfanView in Linux - Tutorial

Updated: May 30, 2022

My Windows to Linux migration saga continues. We're still a long way off from finishing it, but it has begun, and I've also outlined a basic list of different programs I will need to try and test in Linux, to make sure when the final switch cometh that I have the required functionality. You can find a fresh bouquet of detailed tutorials on how to get SketchUp, Kerkythea, KompoZer, as well as Notepad++ running in Linux, all of them using WINE and successfully too, in my Linux category.

Today, my focus will be on IrfanView, a small, elegant image viewer for Windows, which I've been using with delight for decades now. It's got everything one needs, and often more than the competitors, hence this bold foray of using it in Linux despite the fact there are tons of native programs available. But let's proceed slowly and not get too far ahead of ourselves. After me.


Why IrfanView?

As I said, it's majestic. A tiny program that does everything. It's fast and extremely efficient. When I posted my software checklist article, a lot of Linux folks said, well, you should try XnView instead. And I did, honest, several times, including just recently, which we will talk about in a separate article, but the endeavor reminded me of why I'd chosen IrfanView all those years back. And those reasons remain.

Then, I did play with pretty much every Linux image viewer out there. None is as good as IrfanView. It comes down to small but important things. For instance, in IrfanView, S will save a file, O will trigger the open dialog. Esc quits the program. Very fast. Most other programs use Ctrl + or Shift + modifiers, and that simply means more actions. I did once try to make GwenView use the full range of Irfan's shortcuts, but then I hit a problem of an ambiguous shortcut, wut. I really don't like the fact that hitting Esc takes you to a thumbnail overview mode. But that's what most programs do.

Gwenview, ambiguous shortcut

WINE configuration

The first step is to have WINE installed on your system. I am going to use the exact same method outlined in the SketchUp Make 2017 tutorial. I have the WINE repositories added, and I installed the 6.X branch on my system (at the time of writing).

IrfanView installation

Download the desired 32/64-bit version of the program and then install it. The process should be fast and straightforward. You will be asked to make file type association. You can do this, or simply skip the step, because it doesn't make any difference. You need to associate IrfanView as the default image viewer, if this is your choice, through your distros' file type management utility, whatever it may be.


Select images

And the program now works! In Plasma, on top of that, you can also easily pin the icon to the task manager.

IrfanView working

Plugins and existing configuration(s)

Much like with Notepad++, you can import your existing workspace from a Windows machine. You can copy plugins into the plugins folder, and the IrfanView INI files into the AppData/Roaming folder. If you don't have any plugins, but you'd like to use some, then you will need to download the IrfanView plugins bundle, extract it, and then selectively, manually copy the plugins into the WINE installation folder. For instance, for the 64-bit version of the program, this is the path:

~/.wine/drive_c/Program Files/IrfanView/Plugins

As a crude example, you may want to make IrfanView be able to open WebP files. In that case, you will need to copy the WebP.dll file into the folder above, and relaunch the program. Or you can copy the entire set of IrfanView plugins. Your choice, of course.


And thus, IrfanView is now part of our growing awesome collection of dependable tools that will make the Windows to Linux migration easier. I am quite sure the Linux purists will be angry by this article, as well as the other tutorials. But the real solution is to develop programs with equivalent if not superior functionality, and then, there will be no reason for any WINE hacks.

If you're an IrfanView user, and you're pondering a move to Linux, then you should be happy with this guide. It shows how to get the program running, and even import old settings and plugins. I've been using IrfanView in Linux for many years, and there have been no problems. That doesn't say anything about the future, of course, but then, if you look at what Windows was 10 years ago, and what it is now, it doesn't really matter. Well, that's the end of our mini-project for today. See you around. More tutorials on the way!


You may also like: