ACDSee: The professional image organizer for non-professionals

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When it comes to image organizing & editing software, ACDSee has been around before most of its competitors yet it managed to remain a reliable and highly appreciated product, designed to make image organizing tasks easy as a breeze and at the same time provide a rich set of intuitive, user-friendly editing tools that allow you to make the most out of your photo collections.

Installation & Requirements

ACDSee’s installer can run in complete or custom modes, the latter allowing you to specifically choose which components you want to be installed. The most significant setting that has to be done during the install process concerns the program’s file associations and at first run, ACDSee prompts the user to double-check their choice.

In order to actually use the program you’ll also have to create an ACDSee account to register your copy of the product but it’s a quick and straightforward process. In terms of system requirements, ACDSee needs at least an Intel Pentium III/ AMD Athlon CPU (or equivalent), 512 MB RAM, 250 MB free hard drive space and 1024 x 768 display resolution. ACDSee was designed to run on Windows XP SP2, Windows Vista and Windows 7.

Interface

ACDSee has a clean, well-organized interface that allows you to quickly find the basic organizing and editing tools. Even though learning ACDSee’s more advanced features is a process, its Help files are very comprehensive and will shorten the learning curve. You can switch between the four main categories of the GUI, Manage, View, Edit and Online from the top-right corner of the screen.

In Manage mode, the left sidebar displays your computer’s folders as a tree structure so you can easily navigate to find the photos you are looking for. The File List pane shows the results of your latest selection and the interface is fully customizable which means you can add and remove panes (from the View option of the top menu) as well as move, resize, hide and dock them.

The Organize pane comes with lots of criteria you can use to sort your photos, such as Categories, Ratings, Labels, Auto Categories, Saved Searches and others. Just on top of the File List pane, you have browsing buttons (home, back/forward, up) and menus for various actions such as Import, Batch, Create (slideshows, PDF documents, PowerPoint presentations, disk burning), Slideshow, Send (various publishing options) and External Editors.

The View mode allows you to view your photos in the way that you want. You can customize the zoom level or display the pictures at their actual dimensions from right under the main viewing area as well as access a set of frequently used tools such as Rotate Left/Right, Scroll, Select and Full Screen. In case your current selection includes more than one photo in it, a filmstrip will appear below the main viewing area, showing thumbnails of all of the images you selected in Manage mode.

The Edit mode retains the main viewing area and the filmstrip from the View mode but it also adds a sidebar menu on the left presenting you with all of the editing tools ACDSee has to offer, namely multiple selection tools (including the Magic Wand), repair tools (Red Eye reduction, healing, cloning), add text/borders/vignette/special effects, drawing tools, geometry tools, lighting and color adjustment tools and detail tools such as sharpen, noise and distort. The editing functions collection are fairly easy to use and contain everything an amateur would need to enhance personal photo collections.

The Online mode allows you to upload, store and share your images in ACDSee’s cloud that provides the users of ACDSee Free with 2 GB of online storage and the ones of ACDSee Standard (our software in question) and Pro with 10 GB of online storage. The upload process is very easy, as in Transfer mode the screen is split in two panes. The bottom one is showing the images stored on your computer and the upper one your online photo collection. The entire process is simplified to dragging and dropping photos from one pane to another.

Pros

– The four modes of ACDSee allow the user to easily switch to the set of needed tools based on the desired action.

– The Manage mode allows you to easily organize your image collections by multiple criteria such as ratings, labels, categories and others.

– The View mode is an improved image viewer that enables you to easily view, zoom in & out, enter fullscreen and view as slideshow.

– The Edit mode is equipped with a comprehensive set of tools for correcting, enhancing and adding artistic effects to your images.

– The Online mode is a simple way to store your favorite photos in the cloud and share them with anyone.

– Powerful slideshow creation tool.

Cons

– Learning how to use the program’s more advanced organizing and editing functions may take some time.

Alternatives

Since ACDSee was built as a nearly professional image editor and organizer if you’re looking for something that’s not “in between” here are a few popular alternatives that you might like: Adobe Photoshop Elements is an even more sophisticated application that provides its users with a bigger bundle of organizing, editing and sharing tools. On the other side, designed for novice users but equipped with plenty of features for photo organizing and editing we have a bunch of similar free programs worth taking a look at, specifically FastStone Image Viewer, Picasa, XnView and IrfanView.

Conclusion

ACDSee contains some of the most powerful organizing options available in image organizing software and it also includes a comprehensive set of editing and sharing tools that allow you to retouch and enhance your photos almost like a professional photographer.

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