Did You Say Free?

Free Applications from Microsoft Make Your Workflow Easier and More Fun

by Jim Lewallen /


Microsoft is continually investing in big and small ways to create solutions for photographers through software and services. In this post, I want to point you to some free applications from around Microsoft that can make your photographic workflow easier and more fun. Some of these you have seen here in the pro photo blog before, others are making their first appearance. Without further ado, on to the applications.



Image Composite Editor from Microsoft Research

Microsoft Research has created an application to help you build panoramic images from a few or many photos, as well as tools that make it easy to view large panoramas on the web. This is an active research project as well, so they continue to add new features and tweak the tools.


The Image Composite Editor (ICE) can be found at:


There are links there also to the HD View, and Silverlight Deep Zoom tools.



Microsoft Photosynth

Photosynth has been mentioned here before, but for those who haven’t read the backlog, I’ll introduce it here again. Photosynth is a new way of looking at your photos. From the official page:

Photosynth allows you to take a bunch of photos of the same scene or object and automagically stitch them all together into one big interactive 3D viewing experience that you can share with anyone on the web.

In short, Photosynth proves true the adage that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. Even if you’re not really interested in creating one yourself, there are a number of other synths other users have created that can be interesting to look through. Did I mention it’s free?


Photosynth can be experienced at:




Windows Live Photo Gallery

Microsoft ships for free a great set of tools in Windows Live Photo Gallery; everything from organization tools to image editing, panoramic stitching, online printing, upload to sharing sites and even creating Photosynths. Windows Live Photo Gallery also supports the various RAW formats generated by cameras these days through downloadable plug-ins (called codecs). Windows Live Photo Gallery ships for free from:




Microsoft Synctoy

Synctoy is an easy to use application that will help you to make sure you have duplicate copies of your important files, including but not limited to all your photos, images, and music. It works really well, and has just enough configurability, without adding complexity. You can find Synctoy (currently version 2.0) here, or at http://www.microsoft.com/downloads.



Pro Photo Tools 2

It’s been mentioned here recently, but worth mentioning again. Microsoft’s Pro Photo Tools 2 helps photographers manage their photos; assign metadata, associate geo-location data with images, and view them on a map. There’s a lot of functionality here in a free download direct from the Microsoft download center.




That’s all for this time. Next time I’ll do an overview of some of the online services Microsoft offers for photographers.



Image Composite Editor (ICE)


Windows Live Photo Gallery


Pro Photo Tools 2


Microsoft Pro Photo Community and Icons of Imaging websites:


Comments (1)

  1. Quikboy says:

    It would be even neater if Microsoft could combine all this free photo software into one program. I’d actually pay to have all these features in one nice package.

    Nice stuff.

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