Enhanced Image Viewer on Archives.com

by Julie Hill

Posted on November 3, 2011

Recently, we made a several notable enhancements to the image viewer on Archives.com. Though our original image viewer was a solid beginning, we've vastly improved the functionality to provide users with an extended frame view, easier controls and navigation, and ability to invert colors.

Images of historical records are invaluable to genealogy research, as they help bring our ancestors and their stories to life. They often hold more information than is available in an indexed record, and may even reveal an ancestor's handwriting.

Here we'll give you a quick tour of the enhancements made to the Archives.com image viewer. But don't take our word for it! Start a search now to find images of historical records available on Archives.com.

Extended Frame
Now, when you view an image, you can zoom to stretch it all the way to the edge of your browser window. This extended frame allows you see more of the image at once, which is especially valuable as you zoom in closer.


Easier to Use Controls
We made the controls taller and easier to slide, so it is simpler to zoom and adjust the brightness and contrast. Next to these slide controls, you'll also notice an option to invert the colors of an image. Changing the brightness or contrast, or inverting an image, are essential tools that oftentimes make old historical documents easier to read. Reading old handwriting can be tricky, and adjusting the controls can help you to recognize details you may have missed originally.

Simple Navigation
A button at the top left of the viewer lets you navigate back to the record detail information. This button is now more prominent, allowing you to easily navigate back and forth from the record detail to the original image. You'll notice other navigation options above the image. There you can print, download, save to tree, or jump to the next or previous image in that collection. For census records, this is particularly important.


Viewing previous and next census pages is a great way to find out more about people who lived in the same area as your ancestor. This might also be helpful when a family is split across two pages, or in finding a name that was transcribed incorrectly. Let's say, for example, that your ancestor is listed in the 1850 Census but not the 1860 Census. You can find your ancestor's neighbors in 1850, and then search for those names in 1860. By locating a neighbor in a future census year, you may be able to find your ancestor by viewing nearby entries on the original image.

We're continually working to better facilitate your research on Archives.com. To try out the new-and-improved image viewer, try searching for a census record in the member area. We're continually adding more records and original images, so stay tuned. Please note that many image viewer controls are only available to those with Flash installed on their computer.

If you have any questions or feedback, please contact us at [email protected] - we'd love to hear from you!

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