FastStone Image Viewer has been updated to version 7.5. It brings a couple of interesting features to what is an already polished software. Our last review dates back to 2018 when FastStone Image Viewer 6.6 was released.
The dark theme trend seems to be influencing many Windows programs. Emsisoft recently added a dark theme to its portable antivirus, Emergency Kit, and now FastStone has jumped to the bandwagon.
You can enable the new dark mode in FastStone Image Viewer from the Settings Menu > Dark. Here's a side-by-side comparison of the Bright and Dark themes.
Technically, the program did have a slightly darker mode in the form of a Grey theme. The new Dark theme is a proper black one, and noticeably easier on the eyes. The toolbar, menu bar, status bar, the preview pane, and even the borders of each pane look visually better in the new theme.
That's not all that's new in FastStone Image Viewer 7.5. The application now supports audio tracks. Yes, the program did support videos (with audio playback) earlier, but it couldn't play audio files before this update.
The new feature isn't enabled by default, so you'll need to configure it manually. To do that, head to the Settings panel (press F12) and then click on the Video tab. There is a new option on the top of the list that is captioned "Support audio formats (mp3,wav,wma,midi..). Mark the checkbox next to it, and another option should appear at the bottom. This lets you set the visual effects for the audio, and you have five visualizations to choose from: Alchemy, Wave, Battery, Ocean and Fire.
Click the "Ok button", the program will refresh its interface and you'll see the thumbnails of all your music track's album art. Double-clicking on an audio file takes you to full screen mode and plays it. What you may want to do is select a song, and click on the large play button in the preview panel.
The preview pane displays the selected visualization during the playback and also the information about the song such as the bit-rate, file size, date, name, etc. You can also use it to pause, stop, rewind the playback or use it to jump to the previous or next track, and control the volume. While the release notes don't mention it, FastStone Image Viewer supports FLAC, M4A audio formats too.
It's impressive how the program has evolved from being an image viewer, to one that can play videos and audio. But it is very clear that FastStone Image Viewer is not intended to be used as a full-fledged audio player, because when you navigate to a different folder, or even select another file (image, video or audio), the current playback stops. If you select a different audio track while another one was playing, the application automatically plays the newer selection.
The Filter View drop-down menu in the top right corner of the interface, still only has options for Images, Videos, & Images and Videos. There is no way to filter audio tracks yet, and they are detected as "videos".
The new feature is quite useful as it makes the program an all-round Media Browser, that can help you organize your library.
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