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History and Versions

PTViewer is the equirectangular and cylindrical panorama viewer originally distributed with the Panorama tools package. It currently is available in some different flavours:

  • The last version of PTViewer from Helmut Dersch before he closed his page is 2.5 and can be found on some Mirrors of this page.
  • At that time Helmut Dersch was working at version 2.6 that has only been available as a beta version. Its main feature was support for partial panoramic images (less than 360°).
  • PTViewer development moved to Sourceforge in 2003 but didn't yield reasonable results til now (?)
  • Fulvio Senore presented the first beta of his PTViewer version on 18 Jan 2004 which used a far better interpolator (Lanczos2, hence the version line was called 'L2') which is constantly developed since then now having reached Version 2.8 final on 7 Sept. 2006: See for details.
    This line currently is the most sophisticated version of PTViewer for non-HDR panoramas, featuring very good image quality, dynamic slice loading, large viewer windows (up to fullscreen) and many other enhancements.
  • Around christmas 2003 Helmut Dersch introduced PTViewer 3 which as major new feature had HDR (high dynamic range) capabilites with a floating point extension to the JPEG format (called FJPG) and adaptive dynamic range in the viewer. This version has grown to 3.1.2 until now. See for details.
  • 20 May 2004 he came out with PTViewerME, a version for PDAs and Mobile Devices running on J2ME, Sun's microedition runtime for the Java language. Details again on


Since there are so many versions it's difficult to maintain a comprehensive list of features of PTViewer. I start with the slightly edited feature list found in the PTViewer 2.4 documentation (please correct and add):

  • Equirectangular and Cylindrical Panorama Playback: Horizontal field of view: 360°, Vertical field of view 0-180°.
  • Playback of Quicktime QTVR panoramas (Cylinders and Cubes) and Object movies (eventually using PTMViewer extension).
  • Display of rectilinear Images using optional PTZoom extension (not all versions)
  • Panning, tilting and zooming. Full navigation using either mouse or keyboard.
  • High Quality bilinear rendering as found in better plug-in viewers, even better Lanczos2 interpolation in the L2 version line.
  • Antialiasing for display of high resolution images.
  • Image and window size only limited by Java system memory.
  • Link any document to any point in the image using hotspots.
  • Configurable Controls in Appletwindow.
  • Complete VR-Tours in Browsers and Appletviewer.
  • Scriptable via html/javascript and internal scripting system
  • Tiny file size (25-70kByte) for fast download.
  • Package all files into one self-displaying tour using the JAR utility, see create a custom ptviewer jar file.
  • Display 3D-objects, Panorama Movies and animations using auxiliary helper applets included in the distribution.
  • Supports fast downloading low resolution preview panoramas and high resolution zoomable features (ROI).
  • Optional protection of panoramas and images by encryption.


On the panotools Mirrors or on Helmut Dersch's site you find a basic PTViewer documentation.

There are lots of PTViewer tutorials on the web. As a good starting point see the PTViewer section of Big Ben's Panorama Tutorials

The most comprehensive site on PTViewer (version 2.7L2 from Fulvio Senore) parameters, scripting and features is


There are some tutorials on the Wiki as well:

created by Erik Krause 16:39, 14 Apr 2005 (EDT)