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This page describes how to assemble slideshows using Irfanview. The simplest method is to follow the instructions in Irfanview - select a directory containing image files and select the Play option. There are alternatives. A list of all the slides (digital image files in JPG format can be maintained in a database such as MySQL or MS Access, which can be queried to select a subset of images for viewing. These can be passed to Irfanview to handle the viewing. A simpler system, again using a suitable computer program, but without a fancy database can be made which assembles a selection of images according to some simple criteria. A list of the selected images is then passed to Irfanview which handles the viewing. This last system is the main topic on this page.

Requirements for a slideshow

The main requirements are a convenient directory containing the digital image files ("slides") in JPG format, an associated list of the files and a display system.

Directory Structure

Directories containing more than (say) 150 to 200 slides are unwieldy and difficult to maintain. It is therefore convenient to divide the slide collection into subdirectories by subject or perhaps by a period of time, year, quarter or even month.

File lists

Windows versions 95 and later allow filenames up to 250 characters in length - long enough to contain a fair amount of detail about a slide file. However, if the files are to be stored on CD-Rom disks using the conventional recording standard, file names must not exceed 64 characters. Thus, if this is insufficient to describe a slide's content, a database is needed to hold the list of filenames as well as other details such as the ID number of the CD-ROM containing the slide, its date, lighting conditions and possibly additional notes.

File lists may conveniently be made using the MSDOS Dir command in the following manner. Run the MSDOS Command Prompt application (in Windows2000 or XP select Start then Run enter cmd.exe in the dialog box and hit OK). Next, navigate to the directory containing the slide files and type "Dir /B > C:\jpgs.txt" (without the quotes). This command places a list of the directory's files in C:\jpgs.txt. If you load this into Notepad, you will see the list like this:-

Here, we have a root directory, D:\Slides, which contains just subdirectories, in this example, Sub1 and Sub2 which each contain 2 files. The above list (the contents of C:\jpgs.txt) shows the Full Path Names of the files and is in the correct form for passing to Irfanview. The following Command Line Instruction (see Irfanview's Help) causes Irfanview to read the list of slide files from c:\jpgs.txt and show them one after the other:-

i_view32.exe /slideshow=c:\jpgs.txt

Selecting slide files to be viewed

As mentioned previously, Irfanview's slideshow facility provides an easy way to assemble a show-list from a directory-full of slide files. It is not so easy to assemble a selection of slides whose names match some criterion such as 'Malta last year' or 'dads 70th'. It could be done by removing individual files from the list and then clicking the Play button to view those which are left. But this is fiddly and time-consuming. However, it is highly desirable to be able to assemble a selection of slides whose names match a keyword or phrase. For this a separate computer program is needed.

A Slideshow Program

A suitable program called Slideshow can be downloaded by clicking this link. The downloaded file needs to be unzipped: thus produces a program file called slideshow.exe which should be saved in a convenient folder. If you execute the file (Start | Run | browse for slideshow.exe | click OK), the program's main window appears as follows.

Notes on using the Program

The program works in two stages. SETUP: a Full List of the filenames of all slides in a collection is made. All filenames are Full Path names as in the example above. In the second stage (SELECT SLIDES), a selection of slides is assembled from this list whose filenames contain a matching word or phrase. This selection is then passed to Irfanview which displays the retrieved files in a slideshow.

It is assumed that the directory structure consists of a root directory (eg D:\Slides) and sub directories (e.g. Sub1, Sub2 etc, as in the example above, their full paths being D:\Slides\Sub1, D:\Slides\Sub2 etc). The actual directory names will probably be more like like 'C:\Pics' instead of 'D:\Slides' and 'Xmas2001' & 'Hols03' instead of 'Sub1' & 'Sub2'. It is not necessary to have subdirectories, but it does help.


  1. Ensure Box C shows the file path to the IRFAN slide viewer (eg C:\IRFAN);

  2. Assemble a Directory structure along the same lines as D:\Slides and its subdirectories. In the example these are just Sub1 and Sub2, but in practice, you may have several dozen subdirectories. When the directory structure is installed, the slideshow program may be used (SETUP), to create the Full List and then to assemble a selection of slides from this list and display them. In the SETUP stage, the program creates a file to hold the Full List whose name is fixed as c:\jpgs.txt. Any existing file of that name is overwritten by the program. The program stores the selection in a file called 'c:\slout.txt'.

  3. To create the Full List file, proceed as follows:-
    (a) Enter the name of the root directory containing the picture (*.jpg) files ('D:\Slides') in the above example. Its easier to click on the V button on the right of the edit box to bring up a file dialog to select the directory and then click OK. The directory name then appears in the box;
    (b) Click the "Generate List" button. This creates the Full List in listfile in the c:\jpgs.txt file.
  4. [NOTE: It should be clear that, once the listfile, C:\jpgs.txt IS created, you won't need to repeat this procedure - that is, until you have added new picture files to your collection and stored them in your directory structure.]


  5. In Box E, Enter the name of a Sub-directory containing the slides to be included in the selection (in the example above, this might be either Sub1 or Sub2). Again, select the name by clicking on the V button to bring up a dialog box - see 3 (a) above - from which the directory can be chosen. The selection of slides to be included in the show will then be restricted to those in this Sub Directory. If an asterisk is entered, the program will assume that picture files from ALL Subdirectories are to be candidates for selection;

  6. In BOX D, enter a string fragment matching all the slides to be retrieved for the slideshow - this string is the "selection criterion" eg 'uncle fred' or 'lincoln cathedral'. If an asterisk is entered, ALL slides in the SubDirectory(s) specified in BOX E are to be included in the slide-show. E.G. placing 'cheda' in BOX D and with D:\Slides\Sub1 in Box E will retrieve all files from the D:\Slides\Sub2 directory containing the string: 'cheda' - 'Cheddar Gorge' ;

  7. Click the "Show ALL slides listed in the file in BOX A which match these criteria" button. The slide show then starts and the matched slides are displayed by Irfanview one by one. Note that you can set Irfanview to change from slide to slide automatically (eg after a specified delay) or when the mouse is clicked. From Irfanview's main window, select slideshow. The settings can be adjusted in this window and remain in effect (they are "sticky") after the window (and Irfanview) are closed down;

Links to other digital image pages : Digital Cameras Re-Numbering