Programs to Manage Raw Files

Do you have a professional digital camera with which you often delight in taking pictures and would you like to understand which programs to use to manage the RAW files it generates? Your smartphone allows you to take pictures in RAW format and would you like to know if there is any software or, why not, some app through which you can make simple improvements? Then I would say that you have landed on the right guide, at the right time. Take five minutes (or a little more) of free time and you will discover, by reading what is reported below, which are the ones that in my opinion constitute the best resources in the category.

In the following lines, in fact, you will find a string of programs to handle RAW files, some free and some paid, some for Windows and some for macOS (and still others for both operating systems). In most cases they are simple to use solutions, in others, instead, more professional resources, but in any case nothing that with a minimum of commitment and application you will not be able to use.

For completeness of information, at the end of the guide I will also indicate some apps for Android and iOS thanks to which you can manage the images in the format in question directly from mobile, without necessarily having to go through the computer. But now just chat and let's take action. I wish you, as usual, happy reading and, of course, I wish you the best of luck for everything.

Adobe Lightroom (Windows/macOS)

The first among the programs to handle RAW files I want to tell you about is Adobe Lightroom: it is undoubtedly one of the best software for, in fact, managing and retouching photos taken with digital cameras currently on the square. It supports RAW format files allowing you to edit them in a profound but non-destructive way, which means that it is always possible to undo the retouching done by returning to the original image.

It is an integral part of the Creative Cloud suite and is paid but is available in a free trial version that allows you to test all its functions for a period of 30 days. It is compatible with both Windows and macOS.

To download it to your computer, connect to the section of the Adobe website dedicated to Lightroom and press the button Activate your free trial version.

When the download is complete, if you are using Windows open the file .exe obtained, click on the buttons Run e Si in the windows displayed on the screen, then indicate if you already have a account Adobe (and in this case, log in) or create one at the moment and press the button for proceed with the installation.

Stai is invented using MacOS, april il package .dmg ottenuto e fai doppio clic sull 'program icon attached to the window that opens. As in the case of Windows, log in to yours account Adobe or, if you don't already have one, create it right now and press the button for proceed with the installation.

When setup is complete, the main program window will open automatically. At this point, you can import the photos in RAW format in relation to which you are interested in going to act by clicking on the button Aggiungi photo in the center of the screen.

Once the import is complete, you will be able to view all the thumbnails of the photos by clicking on the drawer located on the left sidebar. Therefore, double-click on the photo of your interest to be able to view it in an enlarged way.

If you see fit, you can edit the photo using the tools located on the right sidebar. You can, for example, make adjustments to color, highlights and shadows, you can crop the image, rotate it, apply a gradient, etc.

To save a copy of the image with the changes made, select the item Salva in from the menu Fillet and indicates the destination location. If you want to cancel the changes, press the button [...] located on the right toolbar e Revert to original give the menu check if you press.

XnView NP (Windows / MacOS)

XnView NP is a very powerful digital photo viewer that allows you to efficiently view, retouch and organize all major graphic file formats, including the RAW formats of many digital cameras. Among its functions there are also the use of EXIF ​​data, the creation of galleries for the Web, the side by side comparison of images, screen capture and much more.

It can be integrated into the File Explorer shell and is also available in a portable version, which works from any USB key without the need for installation. It's free and works on both Windows and macOS.

To download it to your computer, connect to the program's website and click on the button Zip Win 64bit (if you're using 64-bit Windows), about that Zip Win 32bit (if you are using 32-bit Windows) or on OSX DMG 64bit (if you are using a Mac).

When the download is complete, if you are using Windows, extract theZIP archive obtained in any position, open the file xnviewmp.exe inside and click on the button Run in the window that is shown to you. If an error message appears while doing this, right-click on the program icon and select the item Run as administrator from the menu that opens, in order to start XnView NP with administrator privileges.

Stai is invented using macOS, apri il package .dmg obtained and move theXnView NP icon in the folder Applications, then right click on it and select apri twice in a row, in order to open the program, however, going around the limitations that Apple imposes on applications from non-certified developers (this is only necessary at the first start).

Nella finestra che si apre, fai clic sul pulsado OK and you will find yourself in front of the main screen of the software. To view your RAW files, select the reference location using theFile Explorer on the left and its thumbnails will be immediately visible on the right. In the lower left part of the program window, however, you will find the info relating to the photo.

If you then see a photo enlarged, double-click on its preview. Subsequently, through the new program tab that will open, you can also use the buttons located on the toolbar, through which you can crop the photo, rotate it, adjust its colors, etc. To save the changes made, click on the menu Fillet and select the item Save.

Photo (Windows)

Stai using Windows 8 / 8.x or Windows 10, I am happy to inform you that you do not necessarily have to turn to programs to manage RAW files from third-party developers. If you don't need to make any major changes to your photos, in fact, you might feel more than satisfied with just using Photos, the application already included in the most recent operating systems from Redmond and set as default for viewing, managing and editing images in various formats, including the one in question.

To use it for your purpose, first start the application by searching for it in Start menu, then import the images of your interest by going to the section Folders of the window that opened on the desktop and then selecting the reference folder.

You can then view the thumbnails of the important photos in the program by going to the section Collection of the same. To view a given photo in an enlarged way instead, double-click on it.

Through the screen that will be shown to you later, you can zoom the photo, rotate it, apply filters, adjust its colors, lights, etc. Of course, you can also save all changes made to the original file or to a copy of it.

And if you don't feel like importing your RAW files into Photos, you can alternatively view them "on the fly" by simply double-clicking on them. By doing so, within seconds the application window will be brought to the foreground and you will be able to view your image. Convenient!

If proceeding as I have just indicated the photo should open with another program or if you are pointed out that Photo is not the default application for viewing images, immediately remedy it by right clicking on the RAW file, choosing Open with from the menu that opens and selecting the option Photos. Then press on the button OK to confirm the choice made.

FastStone Image Viewer (Windows)

FastStone Image Viewer is one of the most popular image viewers for Windows, which bases much of its success on the wide range of supported files and ease of use. It is able to view, organize and edit even RAW images and has an interchangeable user interface thanks to skins.

It also allows you to view all the EXIF ​​data of digital photos and create stunning automatic slide shows with over 150 different transition effects. It is also available in a portable version, which works without installation from any USB key.

To use it on your PC, visit the program's website, click the button download for free placed next to the software name and then on the one under the heading portable, on the page that opens.

Once the download is complete, extract theZIP archive obtained in any Windows location, launch the file FSViewer.exe present in it and click the button Run in the window that is shown to you.

Now that you see the main screen of the program, use theFile Explorer located on the left to navigate to the location on your computer where the RAW photos of your interest are saved. You can then see the preview on the right. If you want to view a specific photo in a larger way, double-click on it.

Using the buttons on the toolbar, however, you can make simple corrections to the highlights and shadows of the photos, print the images, rotate them, crop them and so on. Further useful commands can then be found in the menu bar.

Preview (macOS)

Do you own a Mac and none of the resources I told you about in the previous lines have excited you? Then I am happy to let you know that for the management of RAW files you do not necessarily have to turn to third-party tools. In fact, you can also do it by making use of Preview, the application included in all Macs for viewing and quick editing of images, including those in the format object of this tutorial, as well as PDF documents.

To use it for your purpose, simply double-click the RAW file in your possession and the image will immediately open in the application window. If Preview is no longer the default program for images - and, therefore, by double-clicking on the RAW file macOS tries to start another program -, you can easily remedy this by right-clicking on the photo, selecting the item Open with from the menu that opens and then choosing Preview.

Once the image is displayed, you can optionally make quick color and size changes to it by accessing the menu Means and selecting the items respectively Adjust color e Adjust size. The same operations can be performed through the toolbar, by pressing the button with the first pencil and then on those with the triangle and square with arrows.

Photo (macOS)

Preview isn't the only tool included in macOS with which you can manage RAW files. There is also Photos, the application available on all Macs through which, similar to Photos for Windows, you can manage, edit and catalog photos taken with iPhone and iPad and, of course, all those imported to your computer taken with any digital camera.

It supports all major graphic formats, including the one in question, it's totally free and comes pre-installed on macOS. It should be noted that it is also available in a variant for iOS, presenting the same functioning for good or bad.

To be able to use it, first start the application by clicking on its icon (the one with the multicolored flower) that you find on Dock bar. Subsequently, if the RAW images in relation to which you are interested in going to act are not already in the program library, import them by selecting the item Fillet in the menu bar and then that Import. If the photos are on yours iPhone (or on your iPad), you can follow the instructions on what to do that I gave you in my tutorial on how to transfer photos from iPhone to Mac.

At this point you can, therefore, view the thumbnails of your photos by going to the section Photos of the application, present in the left sidebar, and then choosing the display mode between Photos, Moments, Collections or Anniby clicking on the relevant tabs at the top.

To view a specific photo in detail, double-click it. To make any changes, however, just press the button Modification top right. Through the menu that will open, you can adjust the light, color, sharpness, you can apply specific filters, crop the image etc. If, on the other hand, you want to automatically correct the main imperfections of the photo, press the button with the Magic wand top right.

Once the changes are complete, click on the button end (top right) to save them. If you want to undo all the changes made and restore the original features of the photo, click on the button Reset adjustments (bottom right).

App to Manage RAW Files

Programs to manage RAW files intended for the computer side separately, you would like to understand what are the solutions for smartphones and tablets through which you can open and maybe even edit photos in this format directly from Android e iOS? Then take a look at the following list of apps now, I'm sure they will satisfy you.

  • Adobe Lightroom CC (Android / iOS) - it is practically the counterpart for Android and iOS of the Adobe software that I told you about in the step at the beginning of the guide. In fact, it allows you to perform most of the operations that the latter allows you to perform from the desktop. You download for free, but then to use the app you have to subscribe to the special subscription (starting from 4,99 euros / month).
  • DCraw mobile (Android) - ideal free app when you don't need to make advanced adjustments on RAW files. It allows you to adjust some settings typical of RAW development such as, for example, white balance and saturation. It also allows you to choose the color profile in which to export the photo and the preferred export mode.
  • RAW Power (iOS) - free app through which it is possible to carry out a complete photo editing job on RAW shots (but it can also be used on any other type of photo in the device gallery). The changes are not invasive and can be canceled or resumed at any time. By making the in-app purchase (at the price of 2,29 uro) you can possibly add extra functions.