Top 4 free image editing software

For those of us who use images and photos for work or leisure, software that is easy to use for editing, organising, viewing, creation and even naming of files is essential in the home office. Software that is a notch (or notches) higher than that of your stock Microsoft Paint, for example, can vastly improve what you can create from scratch or otherwise.

Though the question is: ‘How much will it cost me?’ The answer is, from a few dollars to thousands of dollars. Or if you know what to look for, you can get it for free.

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Below is a list of free image editing software that may come in handy, depending on what you want to get out of your images. Note that although freeware doesn’t cost anything, you’re still bound by copyright laws as it’s only intended for private use.


Best for photo or image editing, features a bag full of goodies to get you started with easy-to-use controls, unlimited undos, layers and other tools. Although originally developed as a replacement for MS Paint, its performance has been likened to higher end, paid software such as Adobe Photoshop and Corel Paint Shop Pro. Note that it doesn’t have as many features as the paid software, but is great if you’re just starting out and want to play around without too much fuss.



medium_141583828Image credit: cubicgarden

This is short for GNU Image Manipulation Program and is a free software that can be used to retouch photos, tweak and author images. It’s similar to Paint.Net, but it has many more features and is comparable to Photoshop in terms of power. However, it’s also more complicated to use, and isn’t the best choice if you’re just starting out in the world of image editing.

GIMP is available in many other platforms besides Windows such as GNU/Linux (i386, PPC), Mac OS X, Sun OpenSolaris and FreeBSD. It also reads a wide range of supported file formats and has a customisable interface.



medium_5851145784Image credit: j_baer

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This is a professional and versatile tool for creating or editing vector graphics, which allow for high quality images. With extensive drawing, shaping, text and path editing tools, Inkscape is widely used for projects that require high scalability like business logos or cartooning. Inkscape is ideal for designers of any expertise. However, greener users may experience some difficulty at first, but its user friendly interface will win you over in no time at all.



As the name suggests, this software can be used to view your collection of photos or pictures, but that’s not all. Irfanview can also be used to convert your files, automate repetitive tasks with a batch process, limited photo editing, creating slideshows and playing multimedia, just to name a few. It also supports a huge range of file formats.

As with many things technological, you will need to tinker around and play with what is available to you in order to familiarise yourself with where all the buttons are and what they do. If unsure about anything, help is just around the corner – or you can just click Undo!

Featured image: Buou

Edna Truong

Edna is a Melbourne-based aspiring fantasy writer. She dabbles in everything from playing games to jewellery making and watching anime.