Quickly look at all images in any folder. Sequential for Mac does what you wish Preview.app did out of the box: browse multiple images using the arrow keys.
It’s probably a habit I picked up in Windows, and continued with in Linux: opening a photo, then hitting the right arrow to see the next one. I expect to be able to jump from photo to photo, browsing my collection, but that’s simply not possible using Preview.app. Sure, I could import all my photos into iPhoto, but I want don’t want that: I like my folders, and want to browse them directly.
Do you feel the same way? Enter Sequential.
This keyboard-centric, folder-based image viewer is perfect if you don’t want to import your photos into an iPhoto library, but still want a simple way to show off a series of pictures. This is not a new piece of software – the most recent update is from 2010 – but it’s stable, fast and exactly what most of you are looking for. Here’s how it works.
Launch Sequential and you won’t see anything but the menubar. Open a folder with the software, however, and you’ll see the first image instantly:
From here you can easily browse you collection of images using the arrow keys. By default images are scaled to fit the windows, but you can change this using the menu, or the “ASDF” buttons:
You can also zoom in and out with the plus and minus keys. It’s simple, but it works – and generally loads faster than Preview.app. You can also view the EXIF data for each image, if you want:
Supported Files & Settings
Sequential can open any image formate you’re thinking of. JPG, PNG and GIF all worked for me, as did PSD files (meaning Sequential is another way to open PSD files without Photoshop). PDF files also work, and animated GIFs animate in the way you’d expect. This isn’t surprising: Preview.app can open all of these, after all.
But Sequential can also open ZIP and RAR files full of images, which might come in handy. The app also supports comic book files: CBZ and CBR (Comic Book ZIP and Comic Book RAR, respectively). This means you can use Sequential to read comic books on your Mac, or at least check them over before transfer to another device.
In case you’re curious about the format, you can create you own CBZ or CBR file easily enough. They’re basically archived files with images in them.
There’s not a lot in the way of settings here, but you can tweak the way navigation works.
You can also set which screen the app will full-screen to (the program pre-dates Lion’s fullscreen mode), how scaling works and what the Escape key does:
It’s not a lot to configure, but such a simple app really doesn’t need more. I like how Sequential keeps things simple and just lets you browse your images.
So, what will you use this for? I find it plays with workflows well, if looking at images is part of yours. For example, if you’re editing a document in one window and looking at the related images in other, it’s quick to Command-Tab to Sequential and check that all images are what you’d expect.
Beyond work, it’s a great general-purpose way to show off images and put your arrow keys to good use. Open your folder of choice, turn off thumbnails and switch to full screen. Done. And, of course, Sequential is perfect for reading comic books – something your Mac can’t do out of the box. But I’d love to know what you use Sequential for, so leave your comments below.
Not sure Sequential is for you, but still want an alternative to iPhoto and Preview? You could look into Lyn, which is a capable iPhoto repalcement. Alternatively, you could use Pixa to organize your Mac photos. They’re both more complex than Sequential, but might be just what you’re looking for.
Me, I’m sticking with the simple Sequential. Let us know what you decide on!