ACDSee 7.0 Powerpack

Reviewed by: Mario Georgiou, May 2005
Published by: ACD Systems
Requires: Pentium III processor or faster, Windows 98 or later, 128MB RAM, 100MB free hard disk space, 1,024 x 768 display
MSRP: US$79.99, UK£39.95

As an imaging professional, I have used many image management and viewing utilities. ACDSee is one of the best of the image and photo viewing tools around. In this incarnation is also one of the fastest and most flexible. I have used ACDSee since version 2.43 and it was only with the previous (v6) release that I found some disappointment as the program had slowed to a crawl. With the release of version 7 it has regained its speed and added some very useful utilities and capabilities.

I decided, when I received the review package, to spend some time using ACDSee while paying some serious attention to how it would deal over a period of several months with handling several hundred thousand images. One of the things I have noticed over the years is that while ACDSee can display images and photos very quickly, the program can also take quite a bit of time to initially read a directory.

The program has some great utility and organization features in that it allows you to select groups of images and then do batch resizing, rotation, time stamping, renaming and other useful actions. My concern with some of these functions is that they could do with some enhancement. Image resizing for instance lacks feedback in proportional resizing; you should be able to link the image dimensioning fields so that they update dynamically.

ACDSee 7 also allows you to do rudimentary image editing and corrections. The most useful output features are its slideshow and PDF generation capabilities. Also very useful (and very popular these days) are the image sharing functions which can be used in conjunction with your mobile smartphone. You can also directly acquire files from digital cameras, and the download functions allow you to select the location for these images as well as their import parameters. The Raw import capability is nice as well, but I prefer to use more dedicated and robust tools for this as I found ACDSee lacking in the range of functions I needed.


(Ed. Note: Mario is, among other things, a professional photographer and as such uses Canon's RAW import software, Photoshop CS and several other professional tools which have extremely powerful RAW image handling features. So beginner and intermediate digital photographers will still do very well to check out ACDSee's RAW image handling).

The image database engine has been substantially enhanced with the capability to sort images via a whole range of criteria including date, keyword, type, location and rating. The Image Well is especially useful as it allows you to view your entire collection, but it is also very CPU and RAM intensive if you have a huge database of images.

I use a couple of external drives and often move them around from machine to machine. I found that using ACDSee was fast for indexing the files on the drive but it required controlled handling of the drives to ensure the integrity of the database. A dynamic switch or identifier would be handy here as you could move the drive around and add new media storage and then dynamically switch the drive in the database without having to regenerate it. The thumbnails are a good size and can be modified on the fly as can the information that is displayed alongside them. I found ACDSee 7 very easy to use. It is fast in most situations, but I still found the odd occasion where it would choke on a particular image or file. I think that

When you register the product you can sign up to receive a regular newsletter from ACD Systems which includes some very useful tips for the home user. The focus of this newsletter is on home users and enthusiasts; none of the features were useful for professional imageers. Online support for ACDSee is also quite robust with online support forums and a Knowledge Base alongside the technical support FAQs.

As I registered the product, I received notification of an available program update, so I decided to try the update feature. The update was fairly easy to do but unfortunately it killed my installation of the product which refused to recognize my serial number. I was smart enough to download the latest build separately and then re-install over the failed update and, luckily, this fixed the problem once I entered my serial number. I felt a little annoyed that I had to do this as it should have been a painless process and I know that many users out there would have been unable to resolve the problem as easily.

Cons: Slow to start. Update is problematic. Some of the utilities in the suite require some improvements in the entry field handling. You should be able to select, by file type, how the media is displayed. It would save a lot of time when generating a database if there was a function to assign just an iconic display for video files as I find ACDSee 7 needs a lot of time to generate thumbnails for this media type.

Pros: Simple to use. Nice utilities and good basic photo editing capabilities. Powerful database engine capable of handling enormous image and photo collections. Terrific system image viewer. Cleanly handled every common, weird and strange media format I could find. The ACDSee 7 Powerpack is very powerful with lots of very useful features. Although I had several small issues with the program, I never found the problems serious enough for me to stop using the suite. I'm confidently recommending this product for anyone who has lots of images and photos. It's an excellent tool for home users, photo enthusiasts and professionals.

KSN Product Rating:





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