It’s taken a long time but slowly gqview is being recognized as one of the best open source image displaying programs. It’s fast, it’s easy to use, it’s been steadily evolving over the years, it can do a lot but it gets out of your way.

One thing that can not yet be done directly in gqview is rotating images (especially photos) by setting the relevant EXIF flag. However there’s a way to do it by using an underestimated feature of gqview: its configurable editors.

So how can you rotate photos in gqview without needing to rewrite them by ‘physically’ rotating them? You modify its ‘Orientation’ EXIF flag. Here’s how:

  • install renrot (in Debian-like systems: ‘apt-get install renrot’)
  • in gqview go to Edit->Preferences->Editors, choose a “Menu Entry”, set “Menu Name” to “Rotate 90C” and “Command Line” to “%Vchmod +w %p; renrot –no-rename –tag Orientation: 1 -r 90 –only-orientation %p”
  • and you’re done

Now you can select a photo and then Edit->Rotate 90C. Voilà, the ‘Orientation’ EXIF flag is modified by “applying” a 90C rotation, and since gqview understands that flag you’ll see your photo displayed as you want it.