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Best Practices for Managing and Organizing Digital Images

Selection Criteria

  • Free
  • Non-Proprietary (retain ownership rights of one's images)
  • GUI preferred as opposed to command line driven programs


  digiKam jBrout IrfanView
License Free & open source Free Free for non-commercial use
Operating System(s) Linux, Windows, Mac  Linux, Windows  Linux under Wine, Windows,  Mac OS X using WineBottler
Formats Most major file formats (BMP, GIF, JPEG, PNG, etc.) + possibility to batch convert files JPEG, JPG Most major file formats (BMP, GIF, JPEG, JP2 & JPM (JPEG2000), PNG, etc.)
Thumbnail View (multiple images/thumbnails on a single page) Yes, thumbnail view Yes, thumbnail view Yes, Thumbnail view
Organizing Images Yes (into albums, sub-albums, collections + possibility to color code pictures to improve workflow) Yes (into folders/files) Yes, into files
Rating System Yes No No
Tags/Keywords Yes (possibility to batch tag/keyword)

Yes (with IPTC keywords) + commenting photos (with jpeg comment) and albums (text file in folder)

Yes (keywords/categories)
Geotagging Yes No No
Metadata Yes (possibility to write metadata in a linked file) No No
Image Editing (Improving images (resizing, cropping, colors, etc.) Yes (adding different color effects, contrast tool, reducing noise, etc.) Very few tools (rotating pictures and resizing/cropping with the external tool Gimp) Yes (cropping, resizing, painting over pictures, adjusting brightness and more).
Searching Collections Yes (including Fuzzy Search where you can sketch an image to be searched) Yes, by tags and comments. Yes by file search.
De-Duplicate Images Yes, can filter and locate same and similar like images and manually delete.  No No
Batch Renaming Yes (suggests naming conventions to automate naming photos) No No
Exporting Yes Yes (in html format or to Flikr account) No
Comments Open Source install can be tricky.  Need some tech savvy.  User friendly interface. Handles over 2,000 images. Easy batch conversion.  Small program (won't take much room on your hard drive). User-friendly. Easy batch conversion. Slide show.