ACDSee is an image organizer, viewer, and image editor programs for Windows, macOS and iOS, developed by ACD Systems International Inc. ACDSee was originally distributed as a 16-bit application for Windows 3.0 and later supplanted by a 32-bit version for Windows 95. ACDSee Pro 6 adds native 64-bit support.
ACDSee's main features are speed, lossless RAW image editing, image batch processing, editing metadata (Exif and IPTC), rating, keywords, and categories, and geotagging. Judging the image quality of a picture is fast due to next/previous image caching, fast RAW image decoding and support for one-click toggling between 100% and fit screen zoom mode anywhere inside the image. Most of ACDSee's features can be accessed via keyboard.
ACDSee displays a tree view of the file structure for navigation with thumbnail images of the selected folder, and a preview of a selected image. ACDSee started as an image organizer/viewer, but over time had image editing and RAW development (Pro version) capabilities added. The thumbnails generated by ACDSee are cached so that they do not need to be regenerated.
Unlike programs such as Adobe Lightroom, ACDSee only stores image metadata in its database. Lightroom stores the changes made to images in its database also, not affecting the files on disk. ACDSee's database can be backed up, and exported/imported as XML or binary.
The photo manager is available as a consumer version, and a pro version which provides additional features, and additional image editing capabilities. In 2012, ACDSee Free was released, without advanced features.
ACDSee was first released in 1994 as a 16-bit application for Windows 3.1. In 1997 32-bit ACDsee 95 was released for Windows 95. 1999 saw the release of ACDSee 3.0. Version 5.0 was released in 2002, and 7.0 in 2005. Development of this line continues, with version 20.0 released in 2016.
This early version of ACDSee is sometimes known as ACDSee Classic of ACDSee 32.
ACDSee Pro was released on 9 January 2006 to provide a computer program for professional photographers. ACD Systems decided to separate its core release, ACDSee Photo Manager, into two separate products; ACDSee Photo Manager, aimed at amateur photography enthusiasts, and ACDSee Pro which would target Professionals by adding a new package of feature sets. ACDSee Pro’s development team is based out of Victoria, British Columbia and was originally led by Jon McEwan, and more recently by Nels Anvik, who oversaw ACDSee Pro 2.5 through to Pro 5. The original ACDSee software was created by David Hooper, who also added a number of features to ACDSee Pro, such as Lighting correction (formerly known as Shadows and Highlights) and Develop Mode (in version 2.0). ACDSee Pro is written in C++, with the interface built using MFC.
The first version was simply known as “ACDSee Pro”, without any version number. However, in the “About” box, it was identified as being “Version 8.0”, the same version number used in the ACDSee Photo Manager product released around the same time. Future versions of ACDSee Pro restarted the version numbers, beginning with 2.0. Its retail price was $139. The first version of ACDSee Pro included:Interactive and batch RAW processing (non-destructive RAW editing)
Patented Lighting and Contrast Enhancement (LCE) / single-exposure HDR (High Dynamic Range) technology, created by David Hooper (known as “Shadows and Highlights” in the product itself.)
Image comparison tool for comparing multiple images, including their histograms and metadata.
ACDSee Pro 2 was released on 11 September 2007. It included a new demosaicing algorithm, which significantly improved the quality of RAW processing. Its new features included:More advanced Lighting (LCE) technology, including the “Light EQ”, which was also built into the raw image processor
Highlight recovery for recovering blown highlight detail in RAW images
Improved RAW viewing performance through the use of RAW image previews
Selections, opacity and blending in Edit mode
Advanced red-eye correction in Edit mode
ACDSee Pro 2.5 was released on 10 September 2008. New features include:Ability to organise and catalog images while importing
Protecting and sharing custom metadata via XMP fields
Custom borders, drop shadows and edge effect
ACDSee Pro 3 was released on 29 September 2009. It made significant improvements in its handling of RAW files and enabled full non-destructive editing. It also improved the interface and added more online publishing tools. New Features included:ACDSee Online storage and sharing
Non destructive developing of RAW files in Process mode
Film strip in View mode
Released 5 April 2011, ACDSee Pro 4 increased in price to $239. Pro 4 saw a major improvement in its rendering of RAW images which were closer to the manufacturer's default settings. New features included:A new RAW image processing engine which significantly improved the color conversion and tone mapping of RAW images
Full IPTC Core 1.1 support
New metadata panel
Map view and geotagging
Chromatic aberration and defringe correction
Released on 27 September 2011. ACDSee Pro 5 was released just 6 months after ACDSee Pro 4. As a result, users of ACDSee Pro 4 could upgrade to ACDSee Pro 5 for $30. New features included:Dodge and Burn
New Special Effects: Orton, Lomography, Collage
Released on 25 September 2012. Price for new users is $99.99, but users who pre-ordered and/or were upgrading from a previous version only paid $29.99.
Notable new features:Native 64-bit support
Color management has been rebuilt from the ground up
Advanced black and white conversion tools
A new non-destructive adjustment brush, with which users can selectively apply an exposure adjustment (such as contrast, fill light, etc.) to a section of the image. Multiple brushes can be used at the same time, and activated or deactivated as needed.
Released on 27 September 2013. Price for new users is $199.99, but owners of Pro 5 or Pro 6 could upgrade for $59.99
Notable new features:Secondary monitor support
Add and switch between databases
Copy and paste metadata
ACDSee 365 integration
Released on 24 September 2014. Price for new users is $99.99, but owners of Pro 5 or Pro 6 could upgrade for $39.99
New features:Pixel Targeting
Edit Mode Fill Tool
Auto Lens View
Released on 16 September 2016.
In August 2012, ACD Systems released ACDSee Free, which retains all viewing features for the most common image formats (BMP, GIF, JPEG, PNG, TGA, TIFF, WBMP, PCX, PIC, WMF, EMF); it lacks a thumbnail browser, and support for RAW and ICO formats. A reviewer at BetaNews found it "fast, configurable and easy to use". The version runs on Windows XP or newer. Product was discontinued in August 2013.