How to edit images for free on Mac or PC

I’m a Photoshop user but sometimes when I’m working with a client, in a remote location or trying to help a friend figure out the best way to resize and edit images on THEIR setup these tools come in handy. Each one of them is free, easy to use and will get the job done most of the time.

Before I get into operating-specific image editing tools there is a free online tool called Picnik available at Picnik lets you import pictures locally from your computer, flash drive or camera or online from Picasa, Flickr, facebook, photobucket, myspace, webshots and webs. Some of the free Picnik features include the following but you can also upgrade for $24.95 a year and get even more… Compared to the $699 Adobe Photoshop CS5 will cost you that’s quite the bargain, and remember, you can use it anywhere that has an internet connection!

  • Fix your photos in just one click
  • Use advanced controls to fine-tune your results
  • Crop, resize, and rotate in real-time
  • Tons of special effects, from artsy to fun
  • Astoundingly fast, right in your browser
  • Awesome fonts and top-quality type tool
  • Basketfuls of shapes from hand-picked designers
  • Works on Mac, Windows, and Linux
  • No download required, nothing to install

The next best option (and the most popular free image editor alternative to Photoshop) is called GIMP which stands for GNU Image Manipulation Program. It comes with a GNU General Public License (meaning it is free and open source) and will work on almost any OS including Mac OSX, Windows XP, Vista, 7 etc. or Linux. It comes with many advanced features and is a great option to explore if you can’t afford Photoshop or just need a cheaper tool for your new netbook… check it out at Just below is a screenshot of GIMP running on Linux.

If you’re running windows and are not interested in Picnik or GIMP then check out Paint.NET at I’m not sure if this is any different than the Paint that comes preinstalled on most PC’s, it looks like it has a few extra features? The basic version of paint is bare bones but will do the job if you take your time with it.

On a semi-related note, here’s a quick tutorial I did recently that uses Paint on a Windows XP install through Bootcamp on my Mac Power PC… Paint really came in handy that one time (along with the onscreen keyboard)… but it was a pain in the butt for sure