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windows thumbnail tips

September 6th, 2008

if you’re like me, you have windows folder options set to view thumbnails. we deal in a graphic medium and are constantly working with LOTS of images, so it only makes sense. however, there’s some functionality that’s missing or cumbersome which forces us to double click on a file to open it in irfanView or ACDSee. here’s some tips to cut out that extra step…

displaying TGA’s

windows doesn’t natively support thumbnails for TGA files. due to their simplicity, alpha channel support & lossless quality, the games industry widely employs TGA’s. fortunately for us, someone has made a windows add-on to view TGA’s as thumbnails. you can find the installer here.

changing the thumbnail size

sometimes, when viewing LOTS of images you want to fit more thumbnails into the screenspace allowed. alternatively, you may wish to view larger thumbnails to see more detail if you’re looking at many reference photos at once. while it’s not a standard task in Windows, it is fairly easy to set up.

for reference, here is the standard thumbnails in an explorer window (click image to view full-size)…

you will have to create a new DWORD variable in windows registry editor. it sounds scary but it’s a breeze…

    • click “Start” then “run”
    • in the run dialog type “regedit” and click “OK”
    • locate the following directory (registry key) - HKEY_CURRENT_USER \ Software \ Microsoft \ Windows \ CurrentVersion \ Explorer
    • click “Edit” then “New” then “DWORD Value”
    • name the new value “ThumbnailSize” and click “Enter”

    • double click the new value and enter a number between 32 and 100 (ensure that hexadecimal is checked)

    • close the registry editor

Here’s the thumbnails with the value set to 32…

set to 75…

and set to 100…

viewing folder without filenames

when viewing copious amounts of reference images, sometimes you don’t really need to see the filenames. if only you could hide the names and open up more screen space for images. luckily, the trick for that is much easier than changing the thumbnail size.

    • hold down the shift key and right click on the folder you wish to view and select “Open” - the folder will open with no filenames…

this folder will remain like this until you restore the filenames. you do this by repeating the process - shift + right click on the folder and select “open”.

viewing the folder fullscreen

and lastly, in these modern times with double monitors, we can throw as many images as we can on the second monitor as we work on the primary one. to maximize this real estate just hit F11. this will open the folder full-screen. At this point you can right click on the toolbar at the top and select “Auto Hide” to hide the toolbar as well. to restore, just hit F11 again.

here’s a fullscreen window with a hidden toolbar and no file names…

to get the absolute maximum screen space you can nuke the blue/gray task bar on the left as well.

    • in the folder window, click “Tools” then “Options”
    • under the “General” tab select “Use windows classic folders” instead of “Show common tasks in folders”

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