I don’t know if a piece of software can have a less descriptive name than Xee. Other than the fact that its name rhymes with Glee, which is the emotion that is evoked when I actually use it, I haven’t been able to figure out what the connection is.

But regardless this little OpenSource application has increased my productivity in a major way. If’ you are a graphic designer or web developer like myself I am sure you have found yourself going through bucket loads of stock photography hunting for just the right image for your project. Although the typical use of viewing preview thumbnails or quick look in the finder is utilitarian enough for most, when you have a large library to look through that process can be extremely tedious. This is where Xee helps me out in a major way. I tell it what directory I want to look through and then it pulls up each image in succession, with lightning speed each click of the command and (right or left arrows) sends me rocketing to the next or previous image. If there is a massive image that will take a whole .3 seconds to load I can see it loading from top to bottom, make a determination of wether it might fit my project and then click to the next image without having to wait for the entire image to load. You can even preview image animation, a feature which I have long desired in Preview.

As a bonus, its lightweight and unobtrusive interface helps you focus on what you are looking for rather than fussing with the application itself. Along the top bar are presented some simple image manipulation options, and the bottom bar has basic information about the image; file size, full resolution size, image type, zoom percentage, etc…

To sum up it’s abilities here is the list from the Xee homepage:

  • Display a large number of image formats – any format QuickTime or Preview can open, plus several more, including PCX, Maya IFF and Amiga IFF-ILBM.
  • Easy browse through folders of images – open any file in a folder and use the toolbar, keyboard shortcuts or mouse wheel to view the other images in the same folder.
  • Browse image inside archives, using the uncompression engine from The Unarchiver. It can read almost every format The Unarchiver can, which include Zip, Rar, 7-Zip, Lzh and StuffIt. It also supports the CBZ and CBR formats, which are just renamed Zip and Rar files, respectively.
  • Effortlessly copy, move, rename and delete of images while viewing.
  • Losslessy rotate and crop JPEG images. This lets you edit your digital photographs without losing quality by re-compressing them like most other editors do.
  • View more EXIF data for JPEG files than Preview, and also other kinds of metadata, like XMP or IPTC. It can even try to identify what program or camera created a JPEG file by analyzing its quantization tables.
  • Extract bitmap images from inside PDF and SWF files. Many PDF files contain scanned pages in bitmap form, and Xee can read these and show them as bitmap image, and even save them. The same goes for bitmap images inside SWF files.
  • View images in full-screen.

So check it out and see how useful it can be in your design workflow.

Xee Homepage