How to open PNG files on Windows 10 computers

Milan Stanojevic
by Milan Stanojevic
Deputy Editor
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  • A PNG file is one of the most popular bitmap image formats used today.
  • Make the best of your PNGs by using a powerful image viewer from our list below and enjoy all the additional perks while you're at it.
  • Explore or Photo Editors page for more useful software.
  • Check out our File Openers Hub to get the very best solutions to open any type of file extensions.
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A PNG file is one of the most popular bitmap image formats used today as it is a lossless data compression format created to replace the GIF image formats, though PNG files don’t support animations.

PNG, which is an abbreviation for Portable Graphics Format; it has no copyright limitations, and comes with great features like the ability to display transparent backgrounds, contains 24-bit RGB color palettes (plus grayscale images), and it contains high-quality graphics.

Besides sharing graphics content online, PNG images are also used a lot with image editors like CorelDraw and PaintShop Pro, among many others.

Looking for the best photo-editing software? Here are our top picks.

How can I open PNG files in Windows 10?

  1. Adobe Photoshop
  2. FileViewer Plus
  3. FastStone Image viewer
  4. XnView
  5. IrfanView
  6. Other tools

By default, the Windows 10 Photo Viewer program is sometimes used to open PNG files because it comes pre-installed with Windows.

However, there are multiple ways you can use to view and/or open PNG files.

Web browsers, including Internet Explorer and/or Microsoft Edge, among others, automatically view PNG files from the internet, but can also be used to open them by pressing CTRL+O to find the file.

You can also drag and drop the file to open it in your browser.

As mentioned, there are many other ways to open PNG files, especially using software and standalone file openers. Some of the most common ones include:

1. Adobe Photoshop (recommended)

Adobe Photoshop CC 2020

The world’s best imaging and graphic design software is the natural choice when it comes to photo editing and graphic design solutions.

Since graphics file formats differ in the way they render image data as pixels or vectors, Photoshop supports different compression formats:

  • Formats for 16-bit images (Large Document Format (PSB), Cineon, DICOM, IFF, JPEG, JPEG 2000, Photoshop PDF, Photoshop Raw, PNG, Portable Bit Map, and TIFF)
  • Formats for 32-bit images (Photoshop, Large Document Format (PSB), OpenEXR, Portable Bitmap, Radiance, and TIFF)

Let’s quickly look at its key features:

  • Crop, remove objects, retouch (color and effects), and combine photos
  • Unlimited layers, masks, paint brushes
  • Cross-platform functionality (iPad to desktop)
  • Lens Blur and Improved Content-Aware Fill
  • Object Selection tool
  • Enhanced Transform Warp
  • Improved Properties panel with convenient Quick Actions
  • Fresh gradients, patterns, swatches, layers, styles, and shapes

Download Adobe Photoshop free here

2. FileViewer Plus

open png files windows fileviewer

FileViewer Plus is an extremely powerful software that will open over 300 file formats including all the most popular image formats.

You will be able to open, convert and edit PNG, TIF, JPEG, ICO BMP, TIFF, RAW files directly in its interface.

The best thing so far about this tool is that it can be used not only on images.

You can also open and edit video and text formats without having to download various converters that may harm your PC.

Download now FileViewer Plus 3

3. FastStone Image viewer

This tool comes with a variety of features including image editing, viewing, and management. You can also use it to view PNG files. You also get great features such as slideshow and other transitional effects.

It is worth mentioning that this software also supports the following formats: PNG, JPEG, BMP, TIFF, ICO, GIF, TGA, and most RAW formats.

With this tool, you can also compare up to 4 images side by side at a go, so you can modify your photos for better viewing.

It is also free to download and use, plus you don’t get the silly ad popups, adware, or spyware that come with using free apps.

Get FastStone image viewer

An image viewer works best with an image optimization tool. Choose one from our list!

4. XnView


XnView is another great tool for opening PNG files. You can also use it to convert images as it supports over 500 image formats.

If you need an image editor, XnView is up to the task. You can also edit images, resize, rotate, and crop pictures or adjust brightness and contrast, among other things.

The tool lets you export 70 image formats,  create slideshows, webpages, and so much more.

Get XnView image viewer

5. IrfanView

Irfanview windows 7 photo viewer

This tool is built to create new, unique, and interesting features for your graphics. Besides viewing PNG photos, it also supports filters from Adobe Photoshop.

You can use it to open PNG files, do file searches, email and print options, batch conversions for advanced image processing, fast view through directories,  Paint option, blurring, and you can also capture screenshots, change cut/crop, and add watermarks plus much more.

Get IrfanView image viewer

Create the best photos with these photo management and editing tools for Windows 10!

6. Other tools

Other tools you can use to open PNG files include Google Drive and gThumb.

The best for editing, though, is the XnView software mentioned above, plus Paint (included with Windows), GIMP, and Adobe Photoshop.

You can set either of these programs to be your default one to open PNG files in Windows 10.

If you want to convert a PNG file, you can use different image file converters that can change it to JPG, PDF, GIF, BMP, or TIF, among other formats, and open the files.

Some of these image converter software include FileZigZag and Zamzar, which are online PNG converters.

You can also use any of the image viewers mentioned above, to convert your PNG file and open it for viewing or editing.

PNG files are not necessarily used in every type of scenario as some can be too large and take up much space on your disk or are too large to attach on email, while others can slow down web pages from opening.

Before you open or convert one, think about the image quality, and space or web page loading, but the beauty is that the quality of the image in PNG format doesn’t diminish because the file format doesn’t compress the image itself, unlike JPG format.

Do you have other ways not listed here on how to open PNG files in Windows 10? Share with us in the comments section below.

FAQ: Learn more about PNG files

  • What is PNG file used for?

Used to store digital graphics and images with transparent backgrounds, a PNG is a bitmap file saved in the Portable Network Graphic (PNG) format and compressed in a lossless manner. This means that image data is entirely restored when decompressing the file during viewing.

  • What is the difference between a PNG and a JPEG?

While both are formats used to store images, PNGs use lossless compression techniques. On the contrary, JPEGs use lossy compression algorithms which means that image data may not be restored when decompressing a file for viewing.

  • How do I view a PNG file?

You can use anything from the built-in Windows Photo Viewer to third-party apps that also offer additional photo viewing and editing features like Adobe Photoshop.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in April 2018 and has been since revamped and updated in April 2020 or freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

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