AlternaTIFF is free browser add-on which can display most of the
common types of TIFF image files. It is available in two versions:
an ActiveX control for Internet Explorer, and a Netscape-style browser
plug-in for most other browsers. The plug-in also works in some
versions of Internet Explorer.
It requires Windows 95/98/ME/NT/2000/XP/etc., and a 32-bit web browser.
It is intended to work with
Navigator/Communicator 3.0 and higher,
Explorer 3.0 and higher,
and Opera 3.51 and higher. It may
also work with other browsers.
Developed by Medical Informatics Engineering, Inc.
AlternaTIFF was designed primarily to be used for convenient viewing of
large (around 200 dpi) black-and-white scanned documents, using a minimum
of mouse clicks. However, it should be quite acceptable for other kinds of
AlternaTIFF is available in two forms: a Netscape-style
plug-in and an ActiveX control for Internet Explorer.
Installation of Netscape plug-in
The file alternatiff-1_x_x.exe is a self-extracting archive. Upon execution,
it displays a dialog with a Setup button. Press the Setup button run the
AlternaTIFF must be registered before it can be used to view images.
If you have never registered it before, you will be shown a form to fill out
for automatic registration over the internet. This feature requires an
active internet connection. (It will attempt to use Internet Explorer's proxy
settings, if available.) If your computer does not have a direct internet
connection, press the "Manual registration" button to allow you to enter an
activation key that can be generated at any time at a web site.
If you are not able to complete the registration at this time,
you can still continue with the installation by pressing Cancel.
However, the plug-in will
not display images until it is registered. Registration can be completed
later when the plug-in is in use, or by re-running the install program.
After registration (if necessary), you
will see a dialog box that allows you to choose where to install AlternaTIFF.
Use the checkboxes to the left of each section to
choose whether to install to that location.
In most cases, one or more of the Location fields will be filled
in automatically. In the unlikely event that the install program was unable
to find your browser's plug-ins folder, you can locate it manually by
pressing the corresponding "Browse" button. However,
that may be an indication of some other problem.
The Associate TIFF images with IE... checkbox tells the install
program to reset certain entries in the Windows registry that may be
necessary in order to
get Microsoft Internet Explorer to find and use this plug-in. It will
remove any current TIFF file assocations, and associate TIFF files
with Internet Explorer. That means
that if you have other applications on your computer that handle
TIFF files, they may behave differently until you reconfigure them.
The Add TIFF to IE's "Accept" list checkbox tells the install
program to modify an Internet Explorer setting to make it report to
web sites that it supports documents of type "image/tiff". This is useful
mostly on intranets. Most people should leave this turned off.
Check the Automatically check for new versions checkbox if you
would like the plug-in to periodically check to see if a new version of
AlternaTIFF is available. This requires an internet connection. This
setting can be changed later from the right-click menu.
Installation of ActiveX control
The AlternaTIFF web site may offer a way to automatically install
over the web.
Other than that, there is no friendly install procedure
available for the ActiveX control. To install, download the
alternatiffx-1_x_x.zip file; then create a folder and unzip the
contents of the ZIP file into it. Run the "install.bat" script.
You should see the message "DllRegisterServer in alttiff.ocx succeeded."
You will be instructed to register the first time you attempt to
view a TIFF file, if you have not previously registered either the
plug-in or the ActiveX control.
To uninstall AlternaTIFF, re-run the setup program (alternatiff-1_x_x.exe).
If it displays a registration form, press Cancel.
Then press the Uninstall button. (This is not available in very old versions
of AlternaTIFF.) Alternatively, you can follow the instructions below.
To disable AlternaTIFF, find the file npzzatif.dll in your
Plugins folder and delete it or rename it so it doesn't end with ".dll".
To remove it completely from your computer,
find your Plugins folder and delete the files "npzzatif.dll" and
Delete the keys
from the registry.
If you installed the ActiveX control automatically from the
AlternaTIFF web site, follow this procedure:
- If you've used AlternaTIFF since you last restarted Internet Explorer,
you will need to close all Internet Explorer sessions.
- Use My Computer or Windows Explorer to browse
to the Downloaded Program Files folder in your Windows folder.
(Often this is at C:\WINDOWS\Downloaded Program Files.)
- There should be an item in that folder named AlternaTIFF ActiveX Object.
Right-click on it, then select Remove from the menu.
Answer Yes when asked if you want to continue.
If you "manually" installed the ActiveX control from a ZIP file,
run the "uninstall.bat" script to uninstall it.
You should see the message "DllUnRegisterServer in alttiff.ocx succeeded."
Then, if desired, delete the files you unzipped and the folder you created.
Program features accessible from the tool bar:
- Zoom. When in Zooming mode (the magnifying glass on the toolbar),
left-click anywhere on the image to activate the full-screen zoom
(If the image is a "hot-link", or you are in Panning mode, you must hold down
Shift when you left-click.)
After zooming, you can pan around the full-size image using the mouse.
You do not need to hold down the mouse button.
Left-click again to close the window. (Advanced: While zoomed, click the
right mouse button to lock the image in place, and also allow the mouse to
move over the whole screen, switch to other programs, whatever. To resume
panning, click the right mouse button on the zoomed window again. This
doesn't work well with Zoom Window Size set to full-screen.)
If the zoomed image is too large, you can reduce the size using
the "Zoom Image Size" option on the right-click menu. Zooming will be
slower if you do that, because it takes time for the viewer to resize
- Pan. In Panning mode (the Hand button on the toolbar), you can click on
the image and drag it to scroll other parts of it into view. If the image
is a "hot-link", or you are in Zooming mode, you can must hold down the
Ctrl key when you click the mouse. If you are in Best Fit mode, you will
automatically go into Zooming mode, since panning would be useless.
You can access AlternaTIFF's menu from the toolbar button, or by
clicking the right mouse button anywhere on the image or toolbar.
You can use the menu to do everthing you can do from the toolbar, with
the following additions:
- Print. Attempts to print at the physical size specified in the TIFF file
(unless Always Print Full Page is turned on),
otherwise stretches or shrinks the image to fit as much as possible on
- Save to disk, as the original TIFF, or in BMP format. If the TIFF has
multiple pages, saving as BMP will only save the current page.
You can save as TIFF even if AlternaTIFF was not able to display that
particular file. A filename will usually be suggested, based on the URL.
- Copy image to clipboard.
After pressing this button, you will be able to Paste the image
into other graphics applications.
(There will be no direct indication that anything has happened.)
- Best fit. Shrinks or enlarges the image to the largest size that will
fit entirely within the window.
When you use your browser's Print function to print a page with embedded
TIFFs, the image will always be treated as if it were in "Best fit" mode.
- Fit to window width. Shrinks or enlarges the image so that it is the
same width as the window. (However, the image will only be enlarged if it
fits entirely within the window.) There is also a "Fit to window height" mode,
but since it is rarely useful, it is only available on the right-click menu.
- Fixed size. Sets the image size to some percentage of its natural size.
The percentage used is set by the arrow controls beside this button, or
from the right-click menu. Warning: the larger percentages, other than 100%,
can tend to require a lot of time and memory.
- Orientation. There are 4 orientation buttons, which allow you to
immediately rotate the image to any multiple of 90 degrees.
- Negative image. Swap black with white, etc.
- Page controls. If the current TIFF file contains multiple pages,
you can switch to other pages by using the arrows or the drop-down list.
If the page controls are grayed out, it means the TIFF file contains
only a single page.
- Menu. Displays AlternaTIFF's context menu (see below).
- Viewer information and image properties ("About"). Displays a window
listing AlternaTIFF version information, and technical information about the
image and your browser. This information can be useful if there is a
problem displaying a particular image.
Among the image types AlternaTIFF supports:
- Open Local File. Load a TIFF file from your computer into
AlternaTIFF. This is not really what AlternaTIFF is intended for, but you can
do it if you want.
- Copy Image Location. Copies the URL of the current file to the clipboard.
- Smooth image. This is normally turned on, and causes black and white
images to be "resampled" as a smaller grayscale image, to make them clearer.
This is slower than the ordinary resize
function that will be used if this option is turned off.
This does not work for color images,
or when the displayed image is larger than the original one.
- Size -> X%. Sets the size of the main image to a percentage of its
- Zoom Image Size -> X%. Sets the size of zoomed images to a percentage
of their full size.
- Toolbar can be turned on or off, and moved to the top or bottom of the
- More Settings -> Tool Tips. Turn the Tool Tips for the toolbar buttons
on or off. (Tool Tips are those little windows that appear when you hold
your mouse over a button for a while.)
- More Settings -> Always Assume Square Pixels. If this is off, images with
an aspect ratio other than 1.0 (that is, images whose horizontal resolution
is different from their vertical resolution)
will be stretched to their "correct" shape when being displayed on the screen.
For example, if an image is 200x100 pixels per inch, it will be doubled in
height so that it will look as its creator intended. This has a side-effect on
Copying to Clipboard and Saving as BMP, as the stretched image will now
be used. It may also cause printing to be slightly poorer quality.
It will also take slightly longer to display images. If you view
lots of images which have almost-but-not-quite square pixels (e.g. 202x198),
you may wish to turn this on to prevent them from being stretched.
- More Settings -> Always Print Full Page. Normally, AlternaTIFF tries
to print at the physical size indicated in the TIFF file. Turn on this setting
to force it to print as large as possible, ignoring the images resolution.
(It will still use the resolution to determine the height-to-width ratio of
the image, just not the size.)
- More Settings -> Show TIFF Warnings. Determines whether minor problems
that are found while decoding the TIFF image will be displayed on your screen.
We recommend you leave this OFF.
- More Settings -> Show TIFF Errors. Determines whether significant
problems that are found while decoding the TIFF image will be displayed on
your screen. We recommend you leave this ON. If you regularly view images
that can still be displayed despite such problems, you may wish to turn this
off, but note that AlternaTIFF may then fail to display some images and not
tell you why.
- More Settings -> Zoom Window Size. Choose the preferred size of the
Zoom window: 1 is smallest, 5 is largest.
- More Settings -> Panning Sensitivity. Controls how much the image
scrolls when you move the mouse in Panning mode. If you set it to "1", the
image will scroll by the same amount you move the mouse.
- More Settings -> Background Color. Select the color used for areas
of AlternaTIFF that are not covered up by the image, and while an image is
- More Settings -> Automatically check for new versions. If this is
turned on, every 10 days AlternaTIFF will attempt to check over the internet
to see if a new version of AlternaTIFF is available. If one is, you will
get a message asking if you would like to download it. You can find out when
the last check was made by choosing "About..." from the menu.
- Save All Settings. Saves image-specific settings such as Rotate,
Fit Width/Height, Negative, Smooth Image, Mouse Mode, etc.
Most other settings will be automatically saved
whenever you change them, without requiring you to select this.
- View Image. View the image on a web page by itself.
Usually the browser will still use AlternaTIFF to display the image, but
it's possible that your browser could choose to use some other viewer.
- Open in New Window. Open up a new browser window and view just the image
- Set As WallPaper. Sets your Windows desktop wallpaper to the current image.
You can set it to be Centered or Tiled.
- AlternaTIFF Home Page. Go to the AlternaTIFF web site on the Internet.
This will only work if you have an active Internet connection.
Among the types of images AlternaTIFF does NOT support:
- Multi-image files
- 1-bit Black and White images
- 4-bit Grayscale images
- 4-bit (16-color) RGB-paletted images
- 8-bit Grayscale images
- 8-bit (256-color) RGB-paletted images
- 24-bit Truecolor RGB images (extra samples are ignored if present)
- 32-bit CMYK images (sort of; these are non-portable by definition)
- Uncompressed images
- CCITT modified Huffman RLE compression
- CCITT Group 3 fax encoding compression
- CCITT Group 4 fax encoding compression
- Macintosh Packbits compression
- ThunderScan RLE compression
- NeXT 2-bit RLE compression
- Deflate (Zip) compression
Among the TIFF features AlternaTIFF does NOT recognize:
- LZW compressed images
- JPEG compressed images
- Unusual color models, such as CIE Lab
- Certain unusual combinations of samples, bits/sample, separated color
- Gamma correction and colorimetry
- Image orientation
- Pretty much anything not listed as supported
Please see the
for troubleshooting tips.
The following applies only to the "free" version of AlternaTIFF, and not
to any specially licensed versions that you may have purchased from
Copyright © 1998-2002 Medical Informatics Engineering, Inc.
AlternaTIFF is provided free of charge. You may use it however you like,
for whatever you like (personal or commercial use), for as long as you like,
at no cost. AlternaTIFF must be registered on each computer on which it
is used. You are allowed to redistribute AlternaTIFF, but you may only
distribute it in unmodified form.
DISCLAIMER OF WARRANTY|
The software is provided "AS IS" and
without warranty of any kind and Medical Informatics Engineering
expressly disclaims all other warranties, express or implied,
including, but not limited
to, the implied warranties of merchantability and fitness for a
particular purpose. Under no circumstances shall Medical Informatics
liable for any incidental, special or consequential damages that
result from the use or inability to use the software or related
documentation, even if Medical Informatics Engineering
has been advised of the possibility of such damages.
AlternaTIFF uses code from LIBTIFF, which
carries the following license and copyright:
Please direct comments, questions, bug reports and other feedback to
AlternaTIFF web site for
Copyright © 1988-1997 Sam Leffler
Copyright © 1991-1997 Silicon Graphics, Inc.
Permission to use, copy, modify, distribute, and sell this software and
its documentation for any purpose is hereby granted without fee, provided
that (i) the above copyright notices and this permission notice appear in
all copies of the software and related documentation, and (ii) the names of
Sam Leffler and Silicon Graphics may not be used in any advertising or
publicity relating to the software without the specific, prior written
permission of Sam Leffler and Silicon Graphics.
THE SOFTWARE IS PROVIDED "AS-IS" AND WITHOUT WARRANTY OF ANY KIND,
EXPRESS, IMPLIED OR OTHERWISE, INCLUDING WITHOUT LIMITATION, ANY
WARRANTY OF MERCHANTABILITY OR FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE.
IN NO EVENT SHALL SAM LEFFLER OR SILICON GRAPHICS BE LIABLE FOR
ANY SPECIAL, INCIDENTAL, INDIRECT OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES OF ANY KIND,
OR ANY DAMAGES WHATSOEVER RESULTING FROM LOSS OF USE, DATA OR PROFITS,
WHETHER OR NOT ADVISED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF DAMAGE, AND ON ANY THEORY OF
LIABILITY, ARISING OUT OF OR IN CONNECTION WITH THE USE OR PERFORMANCE
OF THIS SOFTWARE.
When reporting a possible bug relating to a particular image or images,
please include a copy of the text from the About box. To do that, right-click
on the image, choose "About...", press the "Copy Text" button, then switch
to your mail program and paste the text into your message (you can usually do
that by pressing Ctrl+V).
This program is not intended to encourage the use of the TIFF
file format as a standard for image exchange. We wrote AlternaTIFF out
of necessity, not because we like TIFF.
TIFF is not very portable, and it defeats the purpose of exporting
your images if you use a format that is not portable.
If you decide to use TIFF, it is your responsibility to ensure that the
programs that you wish to use to view TIFF files can read the TIFF files
that you create. Don't just expect that because two programs claim to "support
TIFF", that they will be able to read each other's images. That is a reasonable
thing to expect with most image formats, but not with TIFF.