Alternatives to Adobe Bridge if it Keeps Crashing

January 10, 2021

Alternatives to Adobe Bridge - app icons

Update March 2021: I got Bridge working again and it’s still the best app for my uses, but I’ll keep this up in case it helps others.

I’ve used Adobe Bridge in my workflow for many years but I have been forced to switch. Despite trying different recent versions and trying various ‘fixes’, Bridge keeps crashing, one way or another. This has led me on a short search for alternatives to Adobe Bridge, so an invaluable part of my macOS workflow is not lost.

My main reasons for using bridge are:

  • Organising reference images and files
  • Rating and editing photoshoots as I scan and retouch
  • Exporting batches of images for web or other use (I’m sad to lose Dr Brown’s Services plugin – although I do still run it on a CS6 install on an older machine)

I switch between views and jump between image slideshows and thumbnails constantly. I also tend to dump images into my main Dropbox folder from any computer, then catalogue them every few days or weeks.

For post-production of photoshoots and assembling zines, this functionality has become a vital to my productivity.

After discovering several potential options, I decided to download trials for each and post my feedback. There are only two real contenders for my usage, although I also tried (and dismissed) Eagle, Pixave and Xee.

XnView MP

This is great and free.

Where it doesn’t work for me is with its favourites pane. I need to be able to drag folders to this pane, drag files onto favourites to move them and re-arrange the list of favourites. It seems insignificant, but after trialling XnView for a few hours, I found it untenable without these abilities.

ACDSee Photo Studio 7

I believe this is going to be the app I stick with, despite the $100 (when full-price) cost.

While ACDSee PS7 solves the favourites issues XnView has, it omits some (minor) features that I would have liked.

The first is more customisability when it comes to the browser / favourites, especially the ability to remove some of these or separate into tabs or similar.

The other thing is its lack of integration with Photoshop as I am accustomed to using Bridge and Photoshop hand-in-hand. It will only add fractions of a second and I’m not going to suggest these add up to anything significant, but I can’t stand impeding my workflow. Adding steps just feels clunky and wrong.

I’m going to keep both XnView MP and ACDSee PS7 installed, for now. I’ve raised my concerns with XnView and hope that they might change the favourites functionality, making it a top app for me (and fab for free software). Until then I will be using ACDSee as it’s the closest relation to my current system.

It’s a shame that I’ve had to look for alternatives to Adobe Bridge, because I was happy with it. I would have been delighted with minimal updates as it moved to CC, but it’s been unstable since and multiples crashes can derail me for hours.

Do you have any recommendations or tips for me for alternatives to Adobe Bridge that I may have overlooked?