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Corel SnapFire Plus review

Jasc Photo Album gets a Corel makeover

Our Verdict

Key limitations in dealing with folders, and some tagging foibles, mean SnapFire lags behind rival packages


  • Decent editing and slideshow features
  • Basic version is free


  • Tagging could work easier
  • Thumbnails slow in loading
  • Sub-folders not recognised

Corel inherited its Photo Album software when it bought Jasc, but now it's knocked the name on the head and made the move to SnapFire Plus version 1, seemingly in response to Google's Picasa.

You can download the basic 16MB version of SnapFire free of charge, which gives you a decent list of features, while the paid-for Plus version adds a number of extras that allow you to do more sophisticated work.

We didn't get off to a good start with the main interface as you can view photos in a specific folder, but you can't see the contents of sub-folders. The consequence is that anyone who simply chucks all their photos in a single, enormous folder will find that the system works well; however, they will suffer as the software loads up thumbnails slowly with lots of hard drive thrashing. If your archives are arranged in a series of folders, you'll find the lack of a pool to be a problem.

You can sort your view of the contents of a folder using a long list of parameters, such as date taken, date modified and file name, and there's a slider control to adjust the size of the thumbnails, so you can get a good look at the pictures in question.

Tagging photos is simple enough as you create the tags that you wish to use and then drag to the photos, just like the rival Adobe software. The problem is that you can't see the tags until you move your mouse over the pictures, whereas Abode adds tiny coloured marks to the thumbnails, so you can immediately see how the job is progressing. It's a small difference, but the effects are significant.

If you're organising a slideshow, complete with transition effects if you like, you can drag photos to a Photo Tray at the bottom of the screen which acts as a holding area. The Enhance button presents you with editing functions which are very similar to those offered by Microsoft Digital Image 2006.