Demonstration Page for Lightbox Systems

Last update: Septermber 20, 2020

The Lightbox systems (viewers) shown here all support display of a broad array of content types including images, Flash movies, HTML (inline, external, iframe), QuickTime, and Windows Media. Ajax is usually supported. The exception is LightBox 2, which beautifully handles images only.

Click the Demo Gallery links to see each viewer in action. Key points are mentioned below each demo and a brief comparison table follows at the end.

Demo Gallery - fancyBox 3

  • Author: Jānis Skarnelis
  • Web Site:
  • Version 3 - completely overhauled, new look, optimized for touch and mobile.
  • Version 2 no longer developed, considerably advanced, includes slideshow, HTML5 markup.
  • Version 1 no longer developed, incompatible with newer versions of IE. and jQuery.
  • Will's Opinion: Exceptional component. Totally customizable.
  • Will's Preferred Solution!

Demo Gallery - Shadowbox

  • Author: Michael J.I. Jackson
  • Web Site: (v3), Github (v4)
  • Recognizes various installed frameworks (v4 independent of frameworks).
  • Version 3 does not work properly in iOS for videos.
  • Version 4 dropped the HTML player, a disappointing omission.
  • Will's Opinion: A superior technical solution - reliable, robust and fast, but v4 omits HTML.
  • Will has discontinued use, reluctantly.

Demo Gallery - Colorbox

  • Author: Jack Moore
  • Web Site:
  • Appearance can be styled with CSS - one of the five default styles shown here
  • Will's Opinion: Excellent component, great customization potential.
x x x

Demo Gallery - LightBox 2

x x
  • Author: Lokesh Dhakar, the guy who started it all.
  • Web Site:
  • jQuery version, ported from Prototype to jQuery in 2012.
  • Will's Opinion: Beautiful for images.

Brief Comparison

Criteria fancyBox 3 Shadowbox-js Colorbox Lightbox 2
Automatic Play Yes Yes Yes No
Transitions Smooth Jerky sometimes Smooth Very Smooth
Controls Excellent Very Good Very Good Fair
Direct Access Yes, Thumbnails Yes No No
Captions Long Short Short Long
Wrap Around Yes Yes Yes No
Customization JavaScript/CSS JavaScript/CSS CSS JavaScript/CSS
Content Types Many Many Many Images
Requires jQuery Yes, v3 No Yes Yes
Actively Developed Yes No No Yes
Last Release v3.5.7, 2019 v3.0.3, 2010
v4, 2014
v1.6.4, 2016 v2.11.2, 2017
License Free Personal
$29 Single Commercial
$119 Developer
$20 Developer MIT CC BY 2.5
  • Direct Access means there is a control feature that allows selection of a specific, individual slide.
  • Wrap Around means one can navigate from last slide to first or vice versa.
  • The Last Release is as of the date this page was updated.


The demonstration for fancyBox 1 has been removed. It is no longer actively developed and has compatibility problems with newer browsers.

The demonstration for Fancybox 2 has been removed and replaced with Fancybox 3. v2 is no longer actively developed but works fine with most browsers.

Leandro Vieira Pinho's jQuery Lightbox, previously listed here, has been removed. It still works and can be found in many Web sites around the world, but no changes or updates have been made to it since 2007. Pinho ported Dhakar's version from Prototype to jQuery. Because Dhakar now has a native jQuery version, Pinho's version has lost its advantage.

In 2014, after having used Shadowbox-js for over 5 years, I started converting to fancyBox 2 and paid for a developer's license (just as I owned a developer's license for Shadowbox-js). As of this update, uses only fancyBox3 except for this demo page. I have also standardized on fancyBox3 for SiteCommander. New Web sites that I build will thus be based on fancyBox3. fancyBox3's technical underpinnings have become extremely sophisticated.

I still consider Shadowbox-js a strong technical product, but I sense its developer is no longer as committed to the project as he once was.