How To Preview Pictures with a Lightbox Effect in Windows

Don’t you think it’s high time now for the photo previewer in Windows to give you some flashy new looks? Well, if you have ever used the Quick Look Preview utility in Mac, you know what I am talking about. In Mac OS X, the preview is quite quick by simply selecting the image in the Finder and hitting the space bar after which the image appears in a bigger size along with the options of zooming in and out.

This is the Lightbox effect wherein you click an image, the focused window fades, and the image zooms in sharply. How about having this Lightbox effect in Windows?

lightbox effect with google picasa

Lightbox Images Now Direly Needed for Windows

At present, the latest versions of Windows offer you a full preview tool that needs several seconds to display a full visual frame. Comparing the impact of both the previews (Mac and Windows) on the user, the Windows one is more frustrating and time consuming. However, you can get rid of this irritation by using the Google Picasa utility that works well to give the Lightbox effect while previewing.

Digging Google Picasa In Detail For Enjoying Lightbox Images

Apart from enjoying the Lightbox effect, another cool benefit of using Google Picasa is that you obtain the Picasa Photo Viewer, a free utility for viewing images. If you are a Picasa user for managing your photos, this benefit is something that you will desperately need.

You will be very happy to view your remembered former settings and edit your Picasa images in another photo editor except Picasa. However, this does not mean that you have to be a Picasa user for using Google Picasa. Even if you are not a Picasa fan, the Photo Viewer is yet a fun-granting utility for previewing pictures. So, in this article, let’s use it for Windows 7.

Installing the Google Picasa Photo Viewer

First, you will have to download and install the standard Picasa app from the installation is over, run the application to configure its viewer. Now, you will have to specify from which places Picasa can get the pictures.

installing picasa

Next, the Photo Viewer Configuration dialog box appears so that you can select Picasa Viewer as the default one along with the file types for viewing.

photo viewer configuration

If you select the last option, the viewer would then not be used as the default viewer. In short, you can use this option for disabling it.

Using the Google Picasa Photo Viewer

To see an image with the Lightbox effect, double-click it or hit the Preview button in the Explorer. This will instantly dim your screen to zoom in the image for a full-screen preview that is quite catchy.

preview button in explorer

Now, scroll in and out with your mouse wheel or hit the left or right arrows to go through the remaining pictures in the folder. Overall, the Lightbox slideshow looks very beautiful!

picasa viewer

Did you notice some options at the preview’s bottom? Although they are grayed out, you can hover over to activate them.

thumbnails in picasa

Have fun by clicking the picture thumbnails for previewing, clicking the right arrow for opening an image in any installed editor, or by clicking the play button for a beautiful animated Lightbox slideshow.

Modifying The Settings

To change the viewer settings, run Picasa and select Tools --> Configure Photo Viewer. This will open the Photo Viewer Configuration dialog box with three tabs. You have already seen the first tab before.

Change Picasa Photo Viewer Settings

 So now, go to the User Interface tab to change the behavior of the utility.

user interface

Herein, you can turn off mouse wheel zoom, set a transparent background, or auto-hide the viewer action bar.

So, did you enjoy your Lightbox images in Windows? Well, share with us in your comments.