InstaView Guide

This guide explains the features of InstaView and how to use them.

Basic Usage

InstaView is made to show your images quickly, with minimal fuss. The easiest way is to use it is to put InstaView in the Dock and drag a folder of images on it. InstaView will then scan the folder and show the images.

Alternatively you can start InstaView and open a folder using the Open menu.

InstaView then hides the menu-bar and Dock to use the whole screen for viewing. When you move the mouse to the top of the screen, the menu re-appears. If you move the mouse to where your Dock is, the Dock will show.

While using InstaView you can control most functions from the keyboard. The most used ones are space for the next image, return for start and escape for closing. For more see the Keyboard section below.


You can view most shortcuts in the menu. But there are a couple of keyboard actions not visible in the menu.

Close the current slideshow.
Next slide, or pause/resume a movie.
Next slide
Previous slide
Zoom to fit
Shrink to fit

Zoom & Drag

By pressing the + key, the image is zoomed to 1:1. One pixel in the image is 1 pixel on the screen. When zoomed, you can drag around the image with the mouse by pressing the ⌘ key. Exit the zoomed state by pressing the - key.

Auto Updating

If you start a slideshow with a single folder of images, InstaView will automatically watch this folder for new images. As soon as a new image is detected, it will be shown at the next slide change. If you add multiple folders or individual images, this does not happen. This allows you to make a hot folder where you can drop in images that will be shown automatically. Useful for fares or parties. It also works great with a wifi enabled camera.

You can adjust the behavior of this autoupdating in the preferences. You can choose between showing newly found images as soon as possible, or to show them when they come up in the sort order chosen.

The auto updating or hot-folder function does not work when you use InstaView with multiple folders. You can open multiple folders in InstaView, but the auto update will be disabled.

Slide Time

When playing a slideshow you can adjust the time between slides. There are several ways to control the length of time each slide is shown. Normally you get the time set in the Preferences. But you can also change the time by pressing a number key on the keyboard. With the numbers 1 to 9 you can choose a time from 1 to 9 seconds and 0 pauses the slide-show.

Open Current Slide

With this option in the File menu, you can open the current image or movie in an external application. By default, the item is opened in the default application for that item. That would be the Preview app or the Quicktime Player in many cases.

You can change the default application for an item type in the Finder. But there is also an option in the InstaView preferences to tell InstaView to open the item in a different application. For example you could choose your favorite image or movie editing application. There is a separate preference setting for movies and images.

Movie Playback

InstaView can also play back movies. If you add a movie to a folder displayed by InstaView, the movie will play from beginning to end. When the end is reached the next item in the folder will be shown. You can mix as you wish. During movie playback you can skip to the next item with the right arrow key and pause/resume playback with the spacebar. InstaView only plays movies that macOS has build in support for, like .mov and .mp4 movies.

Screen Fit

Often the photo displayed does not match the dimensions of the screen exactly. You can choose how to fit the photo to the screen.

Shrink to fit
Scale down to fit the screen. You get black borders if the aspect ratio of the photo differs from the screen.
Zoom to fit
Scales up photos smaller than the screen.
Fill screen
This will scale the photo to fill the screen, clipping the photo if needed. You will not see black borders, but part of the photo may be hidden.
Stretch to fill
The photo is stretched to fit the screen, this will distort the photo. This option works only for still images, not for movies.


To show a big pointer, just hold down the mouse button on an image. While holding down the mouse, the big pointer remains visible. And while it is visible you can shrink it with the scroll-wheel of your mouse. Or by sliding on your trackpad. Select your favorite pointer in the preferences.

When you use the big pointer during automatic playback, the slideshow is automatically paused while you are using the big pointer. Once you release the mouse button, the pointer disappears and the countdown to the new slide starts from zero. So if you have a slide-time of 4 seconds, the next slide appears 4 seconds after you release the mouse button.

Switch Display

By default the photos are shown on the main screen. But you can change this. Open the menu Window: Choose Screen. This will open a small window that you can drag to any display you like to view the photos on.

Sort Order

You can choose how to sort the images. After scanning for images, the images are sorted. This can be done by filename, file-path or the date and time the image was created.

Sort by filename

The sorting by filename will take numbers into account and sort those as expected. That is, they are not sorted alphabetically, but numerically. For example image2.jpg will come before image10.jpg.

Sort by file-path

The sorting by file-path works the same way as sorting by filename, except that the names of the folders the files are in are also used in sorting. This way, photos that are in the same folder, will appear together in InstaView.

Filename and Path

You can view the filename and path. This is useful for identifying photos. For example, if your clients are browsing photos, they can make a note of photos they like. Pressing N will show the filename, while pressing P will show the file-path.

Ad Images

If you are showing a automatically updating slide-show, you may want to occasionally show your own ad-slide. Like a slide showing your company-name, or maybe some info about what is being shown. To do this in InstaView, create a separate folder with your ad-images and select it in the InstaView Preferences dialog. There you can also toggle this feature on or off and choose how often you want to show an ad-image.

Open Current Slide

If you want to edit the current photo or video, you can select the application to use the Preferences. To open the slide, choose "Open Current Slide" from the file menu. There is also a "Trash Current Slide" which moves the photo or video to the trashcan.

Startup Options

You can let InstaView automatically start showing photos when it is launched. Read more..