ImageViewer Plug-In
for Graphic Converter


This is a plug-in for GraphicConverter, a great shareware graphics utility for MacOS. This plug-in enables GraphicConverter to read and write Image Viewer files, a common image file format on the PalmPilot. (Self-promoting plug: I highly recommend Spec, my freeware image viewer, for viewing these files!)

IMPORTANT UPDATE: This plug-in is no longer needed; the latest version of GraphicConverter has a "PDB" file format built in which does the same thing.


ImageViewer Plug-In is freeware; it may be distibuted freely, but not sold or included in for-profit collections without permission from the author. This page is the Spec home page, and will always have the most up-to-date information. It may be downloaded from

Current Version 1.3 (Mar. 24, 1998) -- See the Release Notes.


To install the plug-in, create a folder called "Plug-Ins" (or whatever you prefer) inside the Graphic Converter folder, if there isn't one already. Drop the ImageViewer Plug-In into this folder. Then launch Graphic Converter, find the "Plug-Ins" panel within Preferences, and select the plug-ins folder you created. Finally, quit Graphic Converter and start it again.

Once the plug-in is installed, you can simply open ImageViewer (.pdb) files like any other graphics file.

To create an ImageViewer file, open or create any graphic in Graphic Converter. Change it to grayscale, resize it as desired (keeping in mind that the Pilot screen is 160 by 160 pixels), and finally convert it to 2-bit color. This last step will "dither" the picture if necessary to approximate the original shades of gray. Then simply save the picture, and in the format pop-up menu, select "ImageViewer" format.

To avoid confusing the installer, you should always end your file name with ".pdb". The image name will be the same as the file name, minus any extension. For example, if you save the file as "My Car.pdb", then the image name as seen on the Pilot will be "My Car".

Graphic Converter always saves a resource fork containing a custom icon, a preview of the picture, and a few other things. This is often convenient, and doesn't hurt anything; the Pilot will simply discard this extra data when the picture is installed.

Known Bugs & Limitations

  • Compression is not currently supported, in reading or writing.

  • Attached notes are not saved.

  • The original image name (when loading an ImageViewer file) is ignored.

  • When saving, the image must already be 2-bit grayscale. Other pixel depths or colors will produce a garbled image.

  • Images must be less than 64K even in theory, and in reality, probably less than about 60K; this is due to a constraint inherent to the ImageViewer format. Larger images can be saved, but they will not display properly on your Pilot.

  • Versions of the plug-in before 1.3 did not work on 68K Macs. This has now been fixed, and tested successfully on several 68K Macs.

About the Author

I got my Pilot in December of 1997 and immediately fell in love with it. But as a Mac user, I was disappointed with the Mac support, both from 3Com and from third-party authors. I'll be doing what I can to change that situation, and make the Mac+Pilot marriage a happy one.

See for links to other apps I've written, handy C and C++ classes, my research tools, and other Pilot goodies.

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Last Updated: 7/19/98 . . . . . .