Free Photoshop Alternatives

Adobe’s Photoshop may be one of the most well-known image editing tools on the market, but free Photoshop alternatives prove it’s far from the only option. These offer many of the same powerful editing features without those pesky Creative Cloud subscription fees. The good thing is many of these tools will seem familiar if you’ve used Photoshop before.

5 Free Photoshop Alternatives


Pixlr doesn’t require you to download anything except your finished image. You have two free options upon visiting the site – Editor and Express. For quick image editing, Express features simple tools for adding borders and overlays. It’s also a good place for beginners.

Creative teams will want to skip to the more advanced Editor option. It’s one of the more popular free Photoshop alternatives because it features some of the same beloved tools, such as layers and replacing color. The only downside to Pixlr is the tutorials aren’t great, but with a little playing around, it’s easy to figure out which tools do what.


If you love the idea of open source software, GIMP should top your list of free Photoshop alternatives to try. There is a learning curve, but the professional features make it well worth it. Luckily, the open source community is incredibly supportive and it’s easy to find tutorials and advice on making the most of GIMP’s features.

You’ll need to download GIMP to use it. The good thing is you can customize how it works if you know how to code. You’re free to create your own plugins. The friendly community will usually help you find an existing plugin if you need a feature that GIMP is missing.

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Think of Paint.NET as Paint’s much more mature sibling. While it’s not quite as powerful as Photoshop, it offers layering, special effects, color manipulation, and more. Unlike some of the other alternatives on this list, Paint.NET is much easier to learn. It has an intuitive interface and ample tutorials to take you from beginner to pro in no time.

The only con is it’s only compatible with Windows. Pinta if often described as the perfect alternative if you’re using Mac or Linux.


SumoPaint stands out among free Photoshop alternatives because it offers both web-based and desktop options, so you can use the version that works best for your creative team. It’s almost as powerful as Photoshop, but with a simpler design. If you ever felt overwhelmed by Photoshop, you might find SumoPaint to be more user-friendly, allowing you to get to the image editing quicker.

Tutorials and a helpful community are available to help you learn the basics. You can also get feedback on images if you want.


Canva is the most basic alternative on this list. Still, it’s not an option you should ignore. For more basic image editing, Canva has you covered. The web-based alternative includes professional templates (some aren’t free) to get you started, special effects, and a dedicated photo editor. For quick projects, it might be the best choice, especially until you learn how to use the other options on this list.

Not sure which one you want to use in the long run? Give each of these free Photoshop alternatives a try before your next project. You might just find something you love!

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