ACDSee 5.0 PowerPack Review


By default ACDSee maintains a database of images it has previously accessed, by this we mean any image which has had its thumbnail displayed in the file browser or has been viewed in full screen mode. The database file is stored in the current users 'Application Data' directory. The database contains a thumbnail of the image and an array of attributes which can be set by the user (listed below).

  • Description
  • Date
  • Author
  • Notes
  • Keywords
  • Categories

The database serves multiple purposes, first it improves browsing, ACDSee does not need to extract the thumbnail of any unchanged image that it has accessed before. The database can be used to categorize images using the categories field (categories can be changed using the Categories navigation pane). Images can be attributed to a particular photographer (Author field) and have a description attached. The database also improves search speed (if selected). Lastly the database maintains information about 'Photo Discs' - images on removable media such as CD-R discs.

The are various database functions including Catalog (used to import images into the Database by scanning a folder or disk), Import / Export database information and Database Maintenance (used to remove items which no longer exist).

Used to import information about images in a particular folder (including subfolders if required), when scanning folders certain attributes can be preset
Database Maintenance
Scans all images in the database and removes any 'stale' entries (images which have been deleted through any other program)


ACDSee itself is an interesting application in that large portions of the applications functionality is provided by Plug-ins. Plug-ins are divided into six categories of: Image Decode, Image Encode, Archive, Camera, Command and Pane Extension. They can be controlled from the Plug-In Settings dialog which allows you to manually disable certain plug-ins, set certain properties and change the order of plug-in operation. Additional plug-ins are available from the ACD website (click here) which can extend the functionality of ACDSee.

Plug-in Settings
Allows you to control the functionality of various plug-ins used for a large amount of ACDSee's functionality. Useful also for disabling unused plug-ins

User Interface Customization

As briefly mentioned earlier ACDSee provides a huge level of customization. When first installed it gives you the option to start with a 'Full' user interface layout (best for new users) or a 'Light' layout (best for previous users of ACDSee 3.1). After this you can customize just about every element of the application from the layout of toolbars, the visibility of pane tabs and the layout of the window.

User Interface Selection Wizard
Allows you to select between the defaults of Full and Light

Customize Layout
Allows you to remove certain tabs, toolbars and views from the current layout. Note that layouts can be saved for later retrieval.
Customize Toolbar (main toolbar)
Enable or disable toolbar icons
Customize Toolbar (file view toolbar)
Enable or disable toolbar icons


Finally we'll have a brief look through ACDSee's extensive options dialog. Like most modern applications options are categorised and are accessed by clicking on a heading on the left tree-like navigator.

A large range of options makes ACDSee very flexible

Conclusion (ACDSee 5.0)

ACDSee 5.0 is a superb example of a specialized application developed to the most advanced degree. Since day one of this site I have used one version or another of ACDSee (ignoring version 4) and today I continue to use 5.0 to organize my images and provide a very fast browsing platform. It offers a wide range of media support, is quick and easy to use and also offers some limited organization capability (the edge for this kind of work though must still go to Adobe Album). ACDSee can be as much or as little as you want it to be with an excellent range of customization features. At just $49.95 there's really nothing else which is as quick, to the point and customizable. I have no problems personally recommending ACDSee 5.0.

Highly Recommended

Click here to download a free trial or buy a copy of ACDSee 5.0