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 web browsers. The plug-in also works in some
versions of Internet Explorer.
It requires Windows 2000/XP/Vista/7/etc., and a supported
It is intended to work with 32- and 64-bit versions of Microsoft
and 32-bit versions of most other browsers (Firefox, Opera, Chrome,
Developed by Medical Informatics Engineering, Inc.
AlternaTIFF is available in two forms: a ActiveX control for Internet
Explorer, and a Netscape-style plug-in for most other web browsers.
The AlternaTIFF web site may offer a way to automatically install
over the web.
The ActiveX version is also available in a ZIP file that can be
downloaded and installed manually. To install, download the
alternatiff-ax-wXX-2.x.x.zip file; then create a folder
(for example, "C:\Program Files\AlternaTIFF") and unzip the
contents of the ZIP file into it. Run the "install.bat" script
to register the ActiveX control with Windows.
You should see the message "DllRegisterServer in alttiff.ocx succeeded."
Note that the alttiff.ocx file must remain at that location in
order for it to work.
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.
Download and open the alternatiff-pl-w32-2.x.x.exe file.
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 the registration step (if necessary), you
will see a dialog box that allows you to choose where to install AlternaTIFF.
In most cases, an appropriate location will be suggested, and
there's no need to change it. Press the Install button to complete
Try one or more of the methods below, depending on how you installed
AlternaTIFF, and the versions of Internet Explorer and Windows you're
If you've used AlternaTIFF since you last restarted Internet Explorer,
it's best to first close all IE sessions, and restart IE.
Uninstallation of the ActiveX version - auto-installed, IE 8+
- Select Tools from IE's menu or command bar, then Manage
- In the "Show:" list, select "Downloaded controls".
- Select "AlternaTIFF ActiveX" from the main list.
- To disable AlternaTIFF, click the Disable button, and
you're done. If you want to try to completely remove AlternaTIFF, follow the
rest of these steps instead.
- Click the More information link near the bottom of the window.
- Click the Remove button.
Uninstallation of the ActiveX version - auto-installed, IE 7
- Select Tools from IE's menu or command bar, then Manage
Add-ons -> Enable or Disable Add-ons.
- Click the "Show:" list, and select "Downloaded ActiveX Controls".
- Select "AlternaTIFF ActiveX" from the list, the press the Delete
button at the lower right. Confirm the action, if asked.
Uninstallation of the ActiveX version - auto-installed, Windows XP or earlier versions of Windows
- Open up Internet Options, either from Internet Explorer's
Tools menu, or via the Control Panel.
- In the General tab, Temporary Internet files or
Browsing history section, click the Settings button.
- Click the View Objects button.
- This will open up a folder, which should contain an item
named AlternaTIFF ActiveX or similar.
Right-click on it, then select Remove from the menu.
(If there is no Remove item on the menu, then this method of
uninstallation will not work for you.)
Answer Yes when asked if you want to continue.
- Cancel your way out of Internet Options.
Uninstallation of the ActiveX version - if you manually installed from the
- Run the "uninstall.bat" script. You should a message similar to
"DllUnRegisterServer in alttiff.ocx succeeded."
- If desired, delete the files you unzipped and the folder you created.
To uninstall AlternaTIFF, re-run the setup program (alternatiff-pl-w32-2_x_x.exe).
If it displays a registration form, press Cancel.
Then press the Uninstall button.
Program features accessible from the tool bar:
Zoom (magnify). 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.)
You can change the size of the zoomed image by using the
"Zoom Image Size" option on the right-click menu, or when the zoom window
is open by using the mouse wheel or the plus (+ or =) and minus (-) keys.
With the zoom window open, you can switch pages
by pressing the PageUp, PageDown, Home, and End keys
(if the TIFF file contains multiple pages).
Pan (drag). 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.
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. When in this mode, you may also be able to
change size by holding the Ctrl key and turning the mouse wheel -- this
requires that AlternaTIFF have keyboard focus.
- 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 an "about box" 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.
- Note: It is possible to customize the toolbar, and there are other,
generally less-useful, buttons available that can be added. Unfortunately, at
this time there is no user-friendly interface for doing this. For more
information, follow the "Technical documentation" link at the top of
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.
- Send Image. Attempt to send the current TIFF file as an email attachment.
This requires that you have a MAPI-compatible email application installed and
enabled. Be aware that this uses your system-default email application, and
may not behave the same as your web browser would when sending a document.
- 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 when the displayed image is larger than the original one.
- Zoom Image Size -> X%. Sets the size of zoomed images to a percentage
of their full size.
- More Settings -> Default Toolbar Position.
The toolbar can be turned on or off, and moved to the top or bottom
of the image.
- 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 -> Mouse wheel direction.
When the mouse wheel is used to resize the image, this controls which
direction increases the size.
- More Settings -> Toolbar button size. Sets the height of the toolbar
buttons, in pixels.
- More Settings -> Default 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 -> 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.
- More Settings -> Center printed images.
If enabled, images will be printed centered on the paper. Otherwise, they
will be aligned with the upper-left corner of the printable region of
- More Settings -> Auto-rotate printed images.
If enabled, printed images will be rotated 90 degrees if they can be
printed larger in that orientation.
- 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.
- More Settings -> Advanced -> Show 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 -> Advanced -> Correct for Non-square Pixels.
If this is on, 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.
- More Settings -> Advanced -> Ignore reduced-size images.
A few TIFF files contain images that are intended for use as thumbnails.
Turn on this option to tell AlternaTIFF to skip over those images.
- More Settings -> Advanced -> Ignore sub-IFD images.
A few TIFF files contain auxiliary images that are not part of the main
sequence of images.
Turn on this option to tell AlternaTIFF to ignore those images.
- More Settings -> Advanced -> Stretch to Fill Print Region.
When printing using
your web browser's Print feature, turn on this setting to print as large
as possible in both dimensions, ignoring the image's true shape. This
should usually be turned off, as it will often result in printed images
that are stretched to the wrong shape. This has no effect when using
AlternaTIFF's Print feature to print -- it only affects your browser's
- More Settings -> Advanced -> Support multiple copies....
When printing, allow AlternaTIFF to handle multiple copies and collation,
so that these features will work even if your printer does not have native
support for them.
- More Settings -> Advanced -> Put zoom window on....
This setting has no effect unless you have more than one monitor.
You can choose to display the zoomed image on the nearest monitor
(recommended), or to force it to a specific monitor.
- More Settings -> Advanced -> Allow Scripting.
has a "scripting" feature that allows web pages to interact with it to a
limited extent. For example, a web page could tell AlternaTIFF to switch
pages or load new image files. You can disable this feature by unchecking
"Allow Scripting". The scripting feature is not compatible with all web
browsers. The ActiveX version is scriptable by IE 4.0 and higher, and the
plug-in version is scriptable by Netscape 6.1 and compatible web browsers.
For more information about scripting, follow the "Technical documentation"
link at the top of this document.
- More Settings -> Advanced -> Allow Web Pages to Print Without Confirmation.
Using scripting or special parameters, a web page can request that AlternaTIFF
print the current document to your default printer with no confirmation at
all from you. Normally, AlternaTIFF ignores such requests, since it would
be a security violation for it to give web pages complete control over your
printer. However, it is a relatively minor security violation, and it may be
worth the risk in some circumstances, so you have the option of giving web sites
permission to do this. Be aware that this setting applies to all
web sites. We recommend that you leave this turned off, and we cannot
be responsible for anything that your printer may happen to print if you turn
- More Settings -> Advanced -> Allow scripts to
open local files.
If scripting is turned on, remote web sites may be able to test for the
existence of specific files on your local computer or network,
by attempting to download
a file and then asking AlternaTIFF whether the download succeeded.
This may allow web sites to determine whether or not you have a
particular application installed on your computer, for example.
This setting can make it more difficult for web sites to do that.
Note that some web browsers may block remote access to local files
regardless of this setting.
"No" = Do not allow scripts to download local files.
"TIFF files only" = Only allow access to files with a ".tif" or
"Yes" = Allow access to all local files.
A few intranet applications may require this.
- 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.
- Tools -> Show TIFF Tags.
Displays the internal structure of the TIFF file. Most people will have
no use for this, but it may help to troubleshoot certain problems.
Items that are colored blue appear literally in the file; everything else
is an interpretation of the data in the file.
- Tools -> Show Error Log.
Displays a list of potential problems found in the current TIFF file or image.
If no problems were found, this menu item will not be available.
- Tools -> Check for New Version.
Attempts to contact the AlternaTIFF web server to
find out if a new version of AlternaTIFF is available.
- Tools -> Set As Desktop Background.
Sets your Windows desktop background to the current image.
You can request it to be Centered or Tiled or Stretched.
This feature is not supported when using Internet Explorer in
"protected mode" (the default mode for Windows Vista).
Some old versions of Windows do not support Stretched background images.
- 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
- AlternaTIFF Home Page. Go to the AlternaTIFF web site on the Internet.
Among the types of images and TIFF features that AlternaTIFF does not
- Multi-image files (up to 32000 pages)
- Grayscale images: 1, 2, 4, 8, 16 bits/sample
- Palette color images: 1, 2, 4, 8, 16 bits/pixel
- RGB, CMYK, CIELAB color images: 8, 16 bits/sample
- YCbCr images: 8 bits/sample
- LogLuv and LogL images: 16 bits/sample
- 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
- LZW compression
- New style JPEG compression (TIFF compression type 7)
- Most varieties of Old style JPEG compression (TIFF compression type 6).
Old style JPEG compression is obsolete, and has many problems.
AlternaTIFF's support for it is not intended to encourage its
use. Please don't create new TIFF files that use Old style
- Certain unusual combinations of samples, bits/sample, separated color
planes, tiles, etc.
- Sample formats other than unsigned integers (e.g. floating point)
- Gamma correction and colorimetry
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 © 1998-2015 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:
You may send 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.
Please read the FAQ
before asking a question.