How to Find Duplicate Images using XnView

XnView is quite a versatile image organizer which supports hundreds of file formats. As such, photo management is what it’s best known for. However, one of its least known features is that of a duplicate image finder, or more accurately, Find/Search Similar Files as the developer puts it.

Unlike some other free duplicate finders that rely on just file names and file attributes (extension/format, creation/modification dates etc.) on finding duplicates, XnView goes a step further by looking in the file data and picture content.

I presume the former compares image metadata, dimensions, CRC32 checksum etc. while picture content compares the actual visual data (i.e. visual similarity as one does with eyes).
 
While the software is quite good at finding duplicates, it comes with one major downside: the deletion process is entirely manual in that you’ve to delete the duplicates one by one.

This is a small issue for those working with small collection of images however for large collections this may prove daunting.

To find duplicates using XnView or XnViewMP do the following.

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Search Similar Files with XnView

1. If you haven’t yet installed XnView, you can get if from the official page here.

It’s available on Windows, Linux and Mac OS X and comes in two flavors XnView (Classic) and XnView MP (Multi-platform) which are almost identical in features though the latter supposedly has better performance. A portable version is also available for those on Windows.

I’ll be using XnViewMP for the purpose of this tutorial – it’s image compare implementation is more intuitive than the one in the classic version.

2. Run the software and in the toolbar select Tools then Search similar files… or Find similar files… in the classic version.

search similar files
Open Search Similar Files

3. That should open a small window to add the files to compare. You can add images using the Add files… button or folders containing the images using the Add folder… button.

4. Below it select the method/algorithm to use to find the duplicates then select OK.

add files
Add Files to Search and Method to Use

Use Same filename if you’re comparing images that use a similar file pattern or that are contained in different folders. For better accuracy however, use Same file data which is more accurate and relatively fast.

If that doesn’t yield results you can try the last option Similar picture content which is more accurate but slower.

5. Give it some time and that should open a results Window with the duplicates it has found along with a summary of the similar data. You can also visually inspect the two images here (e.g. by zooming) should you want.

duplicates
Duplicate Results

6. To delete the duplicate, you can click on the delete icon beneath the two preview pictures. If you’ve more than one duplicate, you can also right-click the duplicates in the results and select Delete file.

deleting duplicate
Deleting Duplicate Image

Note:

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  • To change the picture that is used as the original (reference), right-click it and select Use as Reference. You can then select the duplicate and delete it.

On the other hand, if you don’t want to delete the file, you’ve the option to copy or move the file to another folder using the icons beside the delete icon or from the right-click menu shown above.


Author

Kelvin Muriuki is a web content developer that's passionate about keeping the internet a useful place. He is the founder and editor of Journey Bytes, a tech blog and web design agency. Feel free to connect with him regarding the content appearing on this page or on web and content development.

10 Comments

  1. Vojtěch Semecký

    I have about 3.000 duplicate images. Is there a way to delete it without clicking 3.000 times? Delete all with one click?

  2. hi, after having searches for duplicates, which I know I have in this file, I see only two black fields instead of the duplicate pictures. no matter which method. i use XnView MP Windows 32bit
    Version 0.98.3 32bits (May 6 2021)

      1. Thank you for your quick reply. I changed from xnview clsssic to xnview mp only some months ago. xnview classic always had worked fine with duplicates. but xnview mp has some features, which I would not like fo miss.

        1. I totally understand. I meant giving it a try just for elimination purposes. This way we can have an idea on whether its XnView MP thats the problem or the pictures / duplicate detection.

          1. any idea, why my duplicates do not show up on xnview mp but very well in classic? is there an setting on mp for it ? or is it a known issue in mp?

            thank you

              1. Thank you for your answers. They helped me to decide how to handle this issue. As soon as I find time, I shall  open a post at the official forum. Until then I go back to classic. Aaryy

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