Organize your photo collection with Geeqie Art Sorted

Organize your photo collection with Geeqie Art Sorted

Article from Issue 231/2020

The image viewer Geeqie is used to view and sort image collections. The tool supports numerous formats, reads metadata, and – among other things – displays the location where you took the picture on a map.

Smartphones above all, lure holiday makers into taking huge numbers of spontaneous snapshots. At home, you then face the task of filtering out the unusable photos of the church with half a steeple and the unknown cyclist who photobombed your landscape. Geeqie [1] is a lean image viewer that can help you with this. It was created as an enhancement of the GQview [2] image viewer, which was discontinued in 2006, and is now found in the repositories of many distributions.

Unlike many competitors, Geeqie is extremely fast and is easy to use. When viewing the data, a zoom function and a preview with different modes are a big help. The application also starts a slide show at the touch of a button. The "File Formats" box shows which image types the software can handle in version 1.5 or newer. Actions such as deleting, moving, and renaming are carried out via the user interface, usually by drag and drop. Virtual photo albums let you collect topically related images.

File Formats

Geeqie 1.5 supports the following file formats [3]: 3FR, ANI, APM, ARW, BMP, CR2, CRW, CUR, DNG, ERF, GIF, ICNS, ICO, JPE/JPEG/JPG, KDC, MEF, MOS, MRW, NEF, ORF, PEF, PTX, PBM/PGM/PNM/PPM, PNG, QIF/QTIF (Quicktime Image Format), RAF, RAW, RW2, SR2, SRF, SVG/SVGZ, TGA/TARGA, TIF/TIFF, WMF, XBM, XPM, HEIF (primary image only), WEBP, DJVU, animated GIF, and the stereoscopic image formats JPS (side-by-side) and MPO.

Furthermore, Geeqie provides insights into the metadata of the images if they are in EXIF, IPTC, or XMP format. If necessary, you can add tags to the photos and rate them. If the metadata contain the snapshot location's GPS coordinates, the program visualizes them as a point on an OpenStreetMap map.

Geeqie has a deduplication feature that even compares the content of images when needed. In contrast to its competitors, however, the functions for post-processing the images are limited. They are essentially limited to rotating in 90-degree steps, mirroring, and flipping. You require external tools for all further changes.


Most distributions let you install Geeqie via the software manager. If you fail to find the program there, go to the project homepage and make your choice of distribution in the Download and Installation section below the Linux heading. Armed with this information, the server then sends you to a page with a corresponding package. However, in some cases, it will redirect to an older version or to a nonexistent page.

If there is no package for the distribution you are using, you can pick up the source code from GitHub [3]. How to build and install the program is explained in the "Build Helper" box. In this case, you are responsible for updates during manual installation.

Build Helper

To compile Geeqie from source code, first install the following tools and libraries, including the respective developer packages: GTK+3, LCMS2 2.0, Exiv2 0.11, Lirc, Libchamplain-gtk 0.12, Libchamplain 0.12, Libclutter 1.0, Lua 5.1, Librsvg2-common, Libwmf0.2-7-gtk, Awk, Markdown, Libffmpegthumbnailer 2.1.0, Libpoppler-glib-dev 0.62, Libimage-exiftool-perl, Liblcms2-utils, ImageMagick, Exiftran, gphoto2, ufraw, exiv2, Libheif, Libwebp, Libdjvulibre, and ZoneDetect.

On Ubuntu, the command from Listing 1 imports everything you need. Download the archive with the source code of the current Geeqie version from GitHub [4]. Unpack it on your hard disk, change to the directory created in a terminal window, and call the commands from Listing 2 there. The first command prepares for the build and warns you if a dependency is missing. In this case, use the package manager to install the required software, and then call ./ again. Finally download the time zone data [5] and copy the data to the /usr/local/lib/geeqie/ directory.

Listing 1

Installation, Part One

$ sudo apt install libgtk-3-dev liblcms2-dev libexiv2-dev liblirc-dev lirc libchamplain-gtk-0.12-dev libchamplain-0.12-dev libclutter-1.0-dev liblua5.1-0-dev librsvg2-common libwmf0.2-7-gtk gawk markdown libffmpegthumbnailer-dev libpoppler-glib-dev libimage-exiftool-perl liblcms2-utils imagemagick exiftran gphoto2 ufraw exiv2 libheif-dev libwebp-dev libdjvulibre-dev intltool

Listing 2

Installation, Part Two

$ make
$ sudo make install


After launching, the three-panel main window appears (Figure 1). In the top left corner, navigate to the directory with the photos that Geeqie lists bottom left. As soon as you click on an image, it will appear on the right side. The directory tree in the upper left corner may be a little too small for your liking. To adjust the size of the three panels, mouse over the separator. As soon as it turns into a double arrow, drag and drop the separator.

Figure 1: If you launch Geeqie from a terminal window, the program automatically displays the photos from the current directory.

If you will be working in the same directory regularly in the future, it makes sense to bookmark it. Click on the plus sign and assign a name to the new shortcut at the top, for example, Cologne 2019. Navigate to the desired folder in the list and press OK. The shortcut appears in the top left corner of the list above the green plus sign; after clicking on it, the software takes you directly to the linked directory.

The list of photos in the lower left corner is sorted alphabetically by file name. To change this, click on Sort by Name in the status bar and select a new criterion. The options in the status bar include the memory space the photos occupy in the directory, the dimensions in pixels, and the file size of the currently displayed image. In another field Geeqie reveals the zoom level at which it is currently showing the photo.

Matter of Opinion

Geeqie rotates photos independently if the metadata contains alignment information. To disable this automation, select Edit | Orientation | Exif Rotate. The other menu items under Edit | Orientation let you rotate, flip, and mirror the photo manually.

Geeqie tries to display the colors correctly using the color profile contained in the photo. If this goes wrong, disable the View | Color Management | Enable Color Management item in the menu.

The fastest way to control Geeqie is to use keyboard shortcuts. You can also access almost all of the functions via the menu. To zoom in and out of the image, you can select View | Zoom, or press + and -. X fits the image to the window, while Z restores it to the original size. To go to the next image in the list, click on the image or press the space bar. In the image stock, you can navigate with the mouse scroll wheel, or simply press Up and Down. All other keyboard shortcuts are listed on the page that appears when you select Help | Keyboard Shortcuts.

However, this is a time-consuming way of perusing your image stock. You can do this more quickly with the small thumbnails that you can call up by pressing T. Ctrl+I shows you a small light table view (Figure 2); Ctrl+L returns you to the list. You can also press F to toggle to full-screen mode and back.

Figure 2: You can adjust the size of the thumbnails in the Edit | Preferences | General tab.

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