GCN LAB REVIEW

Quick View shines light on shadowy files

I’m not a fan of spring cleaning, but I know I have to do it. Like many of us, I have that one overstuffed closet that fills me with dread. What’s in there? How old is it? Will it bite me? Quick View Plus 10 viewing software reminds me of spring cleaning. It lets you shine a clear light on those unread or forgotten files so you don’t have to be afraid of the dark closets of your computer.

GCN LAB SCORECARD

Quick View Plus 10

Pros: Lets you clearly view 300 different file formats almost instantly.
Cons: It can’t view absolutely everything; minimal editing capabilities.

Performance: A-
Features: B+
Ease of use: A
Value: A+
Price: $49

I went to the company Web site and plugged in the user name and code the company had e-mailed me. It took about a minute to load the software onto a Hewlett-Packard Pavilion ZD7000 laptop PC with a 2.8 GHz Pentium 4 processor running Microsoft Windows XP. Quick View Plus took up about 15.8M on my hard drive.

Quick View Plus puts a desktop icon of a magnifying glass on your desktop. Click on it, and it opens into a window view that you can make as big or as small as you like. It shows a little tree diagram of your computer, making it easy to navigate through your folders and files.

I had an old stash of about 1,000 files from 2001 through 2006, in all different formats: various incarnations of Word, PowerPoint, Adobe Portable Document Format and WordPad files, as well as a sprinkling of image files in JPEG, BMP and GIF formats. Also scattered into the mix were some Windows Media Video files and a few mapping software files from MapInfo.

With Quick View Plus, it was a breeze to view this wide array of files. Browsing through the thousand files was a bit of a trip down memory lane, as I reviewed old notes and stories. Most files took less than a second to appear in the Quick View Plus window. All forms of Microsoft Office — PowerPoint, Excel and Word — displayed almost instantly. Each page showed up as a separate image. Quick View Plus even showed the edits that my editor had made to my stories from 2002 when GCN used a customized version of Word that showed editor notes, additions and deletions.

It handled PDFs and image formats easily, except for one: a computer graphic metafile with a CGM extension, which came out as a series of colored streaks. A 4M PowerPoint presentation took a little more than a second to open, but that was the slowest speed I found. Everything showed up in sharp, crisp resolution. A full-color seal of the state of California, left over from when I covered state and local government information technology, was print quality. Quick View Plus even lets you rotate image files in 90-degree increments.

I was especially impressed at how well it handled Excel spreadsheets, keeping the same field delineation and not throwing the spacing off like many translation programs do. Quick View Plus also worked with some assorted whiteboard software I had left on the laptop from a roundup review of whiteboards last year.

Part of the beauty of Quick View Plus is that it isn’t translating anything; it just lets you view it, so nothing gets changed. Editing capabilities are minimal. You can perform some very basic cutting and pasting tasks, but that’s about it. By double clicking on the file, you can launch the application used to create it and do serious editing. It doesn’t strip out hyperlinked Web sites either, keeping them a familiar underlined blue.

It couldn’t handle video files or mapping-software files, but then again, Quick View Plus’ literature didn’t say it could. Quick View Plus did view some graphically intensive JPEG maps I had downloaded for a story about crime mapping though. It couldn’t open any .dll files or executable files, but it did show a page saying what they were.

You can also integrate Quick View Plus with Microsoft, Mozilla or Netscape browsers, so you can view files within those browser windows. It also offers a feature that lets you create Zip files from a viewed file and also automatically compresses attached files when sent or saved in Outlook and Lotus Notes clients.

It runs on Windows Vista, XP and 2000. Quick View Plus can transfer data between Windows, Macintosh and DOS word processing and presentation programs, so it gives a shout-out to anyone needing access to DOS.

For $49, you can view more than 300 Windows, Macintosh, Internet and DOS formats. Sometimes you just need to view information, say, that comes as an e-mail attachment. This is also a security benefit, because you can view an attachment before you click to download it, potentially sparing you a bad virus. You can save your money for the software you need for intensive work and use Quick View Plus to view the rest. I'm glad Avantstar gave me a Quick View Plus license with no expiration date because spring is in the air and I want to do a thorough sweep of my drives.

Avantstar, 877-829-7325, www.avantstar.com

Reader Comments

Tue, Mar 17, 2009 Mark Frautschi Rockville, MD

QuickView sounds like a nice way to extend the functionality of newer operating systems to Windows XP. (viz CoverFlow in Mac OS X Leopard) Several years ago the open source community that maintains the Netscape / Mozilla browser (http://browser.netscape.com/) mentioned in the article renamed that project SeaMonkey (http://www.seamonkey-project.org) and continue development under that name. Has QuickView been tested with SeaMonkey?

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