Photoshop Alternatives: Best Photo Editing Tools for Windows, Linux and Mac

Most of the time, when people think about photo editing Photoshop is among the first words that come to their minds. It has become a titan in photo editing and for very good reasons.

If you are aiming to do professional work, there is no other choice, you need the best; you need Photoshop. Adobe’s Creative suit is a golden standard in the industry and will continue to be.

There are some other alternatives to Photoshop though. In fact, there are a lot of image editor software out there that you can use. Most of them are for free and you can do a lot more with them then just adding filters. We will cover the best of them and we’ll also cover a few smaller programs in case you are new to photography and would like to start out with something simple.

Some of these programs vary in the platforms you can use them on, but we will make note of all of them. There are also some great web based photo editors that you can use in your browser, so we’ll mention some of those too.


Even in a professional context, GIMP is a reliable choice. This open source program has been around for many years and it is among the best photo editing software.

It’s free to use and available for Windows, Linux and Mac.

GIMP offers a lot of tools that are similar to Photoshop’s and it is a great alternative if you are looking for an image editor that has no cost. Its interface is a bit different from Photoshop’s but they have made a version of GIMP that mimics Adobe’s design in many ways. It looks and feels like Photoshop, making it easy to make the switch.

Most of the tools that you are accustomed to are available here. You can use color correction, cloning, enhancement, selection and painting tools seamlessly.

GIMP’s developer team worked pretty hard on the program’s compatibility, so you are able to save in all of the popular file formats.

If you’re looking for a no-cost solution to edit your photos, then GIMP is probably the best choice you can make.


If you have some quick photo editing to do, like cropping or resizing pictures, adding some text or anything else that comes to your mind, Paint.Net is an awesome solution. It’s a Windows based program and it is a great alternative to the most popular image editing software like GIMP, Corel or Photoshop and it also has a straight forward interface that makes it easy to use.

In Paint.NET’s interface, there are a great number of fantastic features that you can use on your pictures. It comes with the features we have all come to expect from an editing software and even more.

  • Support for layers
  • Special Effects
  • A lot of powerful tools
  • Automatic updates
  • Solid performance
  • Unlimited Action History
  • Great Online Community, offering tutorials and plugins.
  • IT’S FREE!

The layer function is one of the most impressive and most important features when it comes to photo editing. Separating elements in an image into individual parts is a feature that typically only paid programs have.

Paint.NET has a wide array of special effects that would be way too long to list. The program does an amazing job at enhancing images, red-eye removal and color adjustments like setting the right contrast and color tone for your images.

Special effects aren’t the only thing that Paint.NET does a fantastic job at. It also features a Gradient tool, Recolor tool and many other tools that have been introduced in the new 3.0 version. There are many tutorials to help you learn how to use all of the powerful tools that the program has.

Each action you perform on the image is saved in an endless action history, which means you can do as many “undos” or “redos” as you’d like. This way, there is no frustration with making some mistakes.

Thanks to the program, having keyboard shortcuts for everything, you can get your work done pretty quickly once you get used to it.

There are users all around the world who use this program and a lot of them are active in the online community where you can watch great tutorials and understand everything there is to know about working with Paint.NET. Updating to new versions also happens automatically, so once you install this software you are all set!


Pixlr is a quality program that is provided by Autodesk, the same company that made AutoCAD, 3DS Max and Maya. Pixlr is a side project that isn’t exactly an industry standard program, but it is good for any casual user who aims to do some photo retouching.

It is a great cloud based program, so you can access it through your browser with just a few clicks or even download it to your desktop or mobile! You can use it on Windows, Mac, Linux and even phone operating systems.

The Mobile and web based versions are free but you have to pay $15 a year for the full version. Windows and Mac have feature limited editions available for them, so it depends on how many times you intend to use it.


Inkscape is an alternative to Adobe Illustrator. It is high quality illustrator software that can pretty much do the same things as Illustrator can, missing out only the refinement and polish that made Illustrator into such a beloved program among professionals.

It runs on all major operating systems such as Windows, Linux and Mac.

# The Best Image Editors for Mac only

Affinity Photo

Serif has released Affinity Photo not too long ago, and it is the most serious alternative to Photoshop right now.

It is fully compatible with all of Photoshop’s file formats and many more. It is strongly aimed at professionals and it is much cheaper than Photoshop. Their creators would even argue that it is better because of higher speeds, unlimited undos and much fewer crashes.

Affinity Photo can only be used on Mac and it comes with the price tag of $49.99, which is a decent price, considering that it offers the same value as Photoshop. So, if you’re a Mac user and you’re looking for a photo editing software that can be used professionally at a low cost, Affinity Photo might be the best choice.


Sketch is a program that is gaining a lot of popularity in the designer community. A lot of people are using Sketch instead of Photoshop. It has many features that are similar to Adobe’s software, like gradients, layers, a color picker and various style presets.

It is great for handling vectors and images of all types. Sketch also supports infinite zooming, enabling you as much precision as you could demand.

Sketch comes with a $99 price tag and can only be used on Mac.


By using the Mac OS X libraries, Pixelmator creates some incredibly fast and powerful tools for image editing. It is built for Mac and iOS platforms, so it can easily integrate with iPhoto, Aperture and iCloud.

Integrated export tools make it easy to post your images onto Facebook and Flickr. The tools in Pixelmator allow you to draw accurately and seamlessly retouch your images.

It’s an easy to use program that packs most of the features that Photoshop does, offering you an amazing workflow.

You can use Pixelmator on most of Apple products like the Mac, iPhone, iPad. The program costs $29.99 which is a pretty solid deal.

# The Best Web Based Photoshop Alternatives


PicMonkey hides some powerful tools behind an incredibly simple interface. This free to use, web based application is also awesome for enhancing your glamor shots and creating quality images for your blog at a fast pace.

You just have to drag an image into the application’s home page and you are ready to start working. From there on, creating content is a walk in the park.

Although it’s a free to use program, if you really like it, there is a small monthly fee you can pay, to upgrade it to premium, which offers a lot of extra features.


A new app, Canva, that makes it possible for you to quickly and seamless edit your images through your web browser. Its goal is to make design available and simple for anyone and it really comes through with that.

The program has thousands of great design elements, stock photos, fonts, layouts and many more. Most of these elements are free, although there are others that you have to pay for, but they still cost much less.

This program is currently in beta phase. So you have to have a user send you an invitation to be able to use it.


This was our list of the top photo editing software that could replace Photoshop on your computer. It isn’t easy to go head to head with the titan of photo editing, because thousands are working on its improvement even as you read these lines. But there are surely others who deliver some solid photo editing tools to your screen. We hope you have found the program that best suits your needs and gathered all the information you need. See you in our next article!

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