TGA Thumbnails for Windows

If you are looking for a solution for TGA on Vista and Windows7 both 32 and 64 bit check out FastPictureViewer WIC RAW Codec Pack.

Can you figure out what’s different about this picture?

Look close…..The difference is you are seeing thumbnails for TGA files inside Windows Explorer!!!  That also means you can see them inside pretty much any file open / file save dialog.  Hooray!

Windows 2000 and XP provide thumbnails for .JPG, .GIF, .BMP, .AVI, .MPG and a few other formats.  What’s cool though is Windows 2000 and XP also provide an API for adding support for more formats.  So, I found an example, whipped out some old TGA code and threw this together.

Not too many *normal* people use the TGA format but in the video and computer game industry it’s pretty popular.  Probably because it’s supported by most graphics software and because it’s very simple to use.  You can read or write a basic TGA file in just a few lines of code.

Just in case you are not aware, the same function is available inside the normal Windows standard file open/save window so for example if you are in Maya selecting a texture file you can select by clicking on a thumbnail instead of having to remember the name of the file.

To do this, in the file open/save window you click the last icon on the right and pick "thumbnails" (1)

Also, just incase you didn’t notice you can resize the standard file open/save window (2) so that you can see more files at once.


You can download the installer by clicking the link below.

[ for TGA (Targa) files ]

There is also a version for Softimage PIC files.

[ for PIC (Softimage) files ]

And for Maya IFF files.

[ for IFF (Maya) files ]



The TGA(Targa) format supports many formats but most of them are pretty rare.  For example, TGA files can have their images stored in any direction, right to left, bottom to top, top to bottom, left to right.  They can also support 15 and 16 bit pixels.  But, in my personal experience, I’ve never seen a TGA file stored any way other than bottom to top + left to right.  I’ve also never personally used a 16 bit TGA file nor have I used or seen any of the other options.  Therefore, there is no support for those other formats in this plug in.  If you need support, see below

The PIC format also supports many formats.  This plugin currently only supports 24bit and 32bit files.

Version History:

v1.09 2003-02-02
  • first public release
v1.10 2004-08-15
  • attempted to fix issues with vertically flipped files
v1.11 2003-02-02
  • first public release
v1.09 2003-02-02
  • first public release

Source Code:

The source is provided under a FreeBSD style license.  If you do find a bug or add a feature I’d be happy to hear about it for if you find it really useful it would be nice to hear.

You can download the source code here
[ for TGA (Targa) files ]
[ for PIC (Softimage) files ]

If you download the source be sure to read the readme.  It’s important that you make a new CLSID or there will be conflicts.

  • video guy

    Can you add support for transparancy in the .TGA file. While I can now see the thumbnail image in Windows Explorer, it is not a true representation of the image.

  • Morbane

    Super cool – thumbnailed TGAs!! woot – didn’t even need to restart. Now all those icons for NWN2 are at my fingertips! Custom Content is easier now.

  • Jimmy Barnett

    I can view the .tga file with universal viewer, but I cannot change the properties to a jpeg,or bitmap image.

  • hi

    I agree with video guy

  • Not really simple to use. I have found an exe file instead which does the same and very easy to install.

  • oh. I made a damn mistake. please remove my comment. it’s a superb tool.

  • great tutorial normaly i just use .obj

  • Cloud, Master of Materia

    Thank you for you help, TGA visor is working well.

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  • Sapphy Rotaru

    WOW, thank you so much for this. I am a complete idiot when it comes to messing around with the workings of a PC & having no thumbnails of my TGA files that I use for Second Life was driving me nutz. I downloaded this then just clicked on the installer & voilà, no technical knowledge required, no confusing instructions & within seconds I have my thumbnails! I didn’t even have to restart the PC or do anything, they are just there. Truly grateful to your genius TVM :o)

  • DOn’t Get FOOLED buying the one for WINDOWS 7, Just install tga viewer in Win 7 using xp 2 compatiblity mode run as admin and it will work.

  • Joey

    This hasn’t worked for me…Any other details, please?

  • SapphyRotaru

    Ummm how is that free when you have to pay $25 for the licence after the trial expires???

  • Notelodigo
  • In December, he had published on its website Philipos Sakellaropoulos “They hadproblems with the right snack thumbnails, using the code manual. Can you later,these problems? I am about to start development of a miniature fan controller user interface extensions to the property relations of the file format, and thought that I had found something that goes beyond such as Philippi,” to solve this problem .

  • 日本語で失礼します。


  • Raúl Andrés Del Canto

    Norton thinks is malware…. false positive I guess…