Friday, May 11, 2007

Xee, The best photo browser on Mac: with apropos to ACDSee

[update 4-Mar-2008. Xee v2.0 fixes this problem, as pointed out in the comments below. Get the update here]

[update 7-Jan-2007. Xee still has a bug in Leopard with full-screen mode, but works fine windowed. If you need something to tide you over until this is fixed, Sequential is a good, simple photo browser.]


I've been looking for an excellent, fast photo browser for Mac OS X that doesn't make you import your photos first. This is just a waste of disk space (especially if you're using a laptop). So the problem is to browse through thousands of photos on network, external or local volumes without any stuffing around. This is definitely the best I've found so far.

I really wanted something like ACDSee. Xee uses the Finder to choose the folder to browse. You can see thumbnails in that view if you set it (though it's not perfect). Once the first image has been selected Xee has all the features to quickly flick through a set of photos in a folder.

It's a universal binary and really, really fast probably because it uses OpenGL to render the images.

It also has customizable keyboard commands, which is an essential feature IMHO. It also has great full-screen and zoom support. The only feature it lacks (apart from thumbnails) is the ability to reassign the mouse scroll wheel to program functions but I'm sure they'll add it soon.

[Update, you can set the app to pan rather than progress through images in Preferences, General Tab, "Scroll wheel: {Browses images, Scrolls images}". Didn't see that! So that feature has been implemented. Now we just need mouse button allocation!]

It's incredible to me that Aperture doesn't allow a incremental zoom in their application - it's the most basic feature and the Loupe control and 100% zoom feature doesn't always cut it. They should really add that feature.

Download Xee here. There's a Google Code project on this as well and you can get the full source. You can then play with it in Xcode if you want.

It'd be nice to see a fast thumbnail generator so you don't have to rely on the Finder to browse but traditional implementations of this have been very, very slow and introduced high overheads with the database management. ACDSee has spent a lot of time making this aspect of their application fast but don't do a modern Mac version. The older version for Mac isn't worth trying - it's only for PPC and obviously very early code.

So from all the Mac users, thanks for this great application.


Anonymous said...

3rd Party fix for Leopard full screen bug:

Anonymous said...

Xee Leopard full screen fix:

from a 3rd party.

Narbs said...

Thanks heaps for adding this... I've been waiting for that full-screen fix since Leopard came out. Thanks to Dag Agren for his great work...

Anonymous said...


the Leopard 10.5.2 update fixes the original problem - so you can runt he official 2.0 release of Xee from

mike d said...

You can't zoom in with the thumbwheel. That's a dealbreaker :(