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Best Free Software for Photo Editing in 2024

Best Free Software for Photo Editing in 2024

Photo editing has become an essential skill in the digital age, whether for professional photographers, social media enthusiasts, or hobbyists. With advancements in technology, there are now numerous free software options available that offer powerful features without the need for costly subscriptions. In 2024, the landscape of free photo editing software is more vibrant and competitive than ever. Here, we explore the best free photo editing software available, highlighting their features, strengths, and limitations.

1. GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program)

GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program)


GIMP is one of the most popular free photo editing programs available. It’s an open-source software that offers a wide range of features comparable to Adobe Photoshop. GIMP is highly customizable, allowing users to add plugins and extensions to enhance its functionality.


  • Advanced Editing Tools: Layers, masks, filters, and brushes.
  • Customizable Interface: Users can modify the layout and tool sets.
  • Plugin Support: A vast array of plugins for additional features.
  • Cross-Platform: Available on Windows, macOS, and Linux.


  • Extensive feature set comparable to paid software.
  • Large community and support.
  • Regular updates and improvements.


  • Steeper learning curve for beginners.
  • Interface can feel cluttered without customization.

2. PhotoScape X

PhotoScape X


PhotoScape X is a versatile photo editing software that caters to both beginners and advanced users. It offers a range of editing tools, filters, and effects, making it suitable for a variety of photo editing needs.


  • Basic and Advanced Tools: Crop, resize, color adjustment, and more.
  • Batch Editing: Edit multiple photos simultaneously.
  • Creative Filters: Numerous filters and effects for artistic editing.
  • Collage and GIF Maker: Create collages and animated GIFs.


  • User-friendly interface.
  • Comprehensive set of tools for various editing tasks.
  • Regular updates with new features.


  • Some advanced features require a premium upgrade.
  • Limited layer support compared to GIMP.

3. Darktable



Darktable is an open-source photography workflow application and raw developer. It is designed for photographers and offers a non-destructive editing process, which is crucial for professional photo editing.


  • Non-Destructive Editing: Edit photos without altering the original file.
  • RAW File Support: Extensive support for raw image formats.
  • Powerful Color Management: Tools for precise color correction and grading.
  • Tethered Shooting: Connect and control cameras directly.


  • Professional-grade editing tools.
  • Excellent raw file handling.
  • Active development and community support.


  • More suitable for professional photographers.
  • Interface can be complex for beginners.

4. Canva



Canva is a web-based design tool that has gained popularity for its simplicity and ease of use. While it’s primarily known for graphic design, Canva also offers a range of photo editing tools suitable for basic and intermediate editing tasks.


  • Intuitive Drag-and-Drop Interface: Easy to use for beginners.
  • Templates and Design Elements: Access to a vast library of templates and graphics.
  • Basic Photo Editing Tools: Crop, rotate, adjust brightness, and more.
  • Collaborative Features: Work on designs with team members.


  • Very user-friendly and accessible.
  • Ideal for quick edits and social media graphics.
  • Extensive library of resources.


  • Limited advanced editing features.
  • Requires an internet connection to use.

5. Paint.NET



Paint.NET is a free photo and graphics editing software for Windows. It offers a user-friendly interface with a range of powerful tools, making it a great choice for users who need more than basic editing capabilities.


  • Layers and Blending: Support for layers and various blending modes.
  • Special Effects: Numerous effects and filters for creative editing.
  • Plugin Support: Extend functionality with plugins.
  • History Tool: Unlimited undo history.


  • Simple and clean interface.
  • Powerful enough for intermediate editing tasks.
  • Lightweight and fast performance.


  • Only available for Windows.
  • Less feature-rich compared to GIMP and Darktable.

6. Pixlr X

Pixlr X


Pixlr X is a web-based photo editor that provides a good balance between simplicity and advanced features. It’s designed for users who need to perform quick edits without the hassle of downloading software.


  • Basic and Advanced Tools: Crop, resize, color correction, and more.
  • Filters and Effects: Apply a variety of filters and artistic effects.
  • Layer Support: Basic layer support for more complex editing.
  • Web-Based: Accessible from any device with an internet connection.


  • Easy to use and accessible.
  • No installation required.
  • Good range of features for web-based software.


  • Limited offline capabilities.
  • Some advanced features behind a paywall.

FAQs on Best Free Software for Photo Editing in 2024

1. What is the best free photo editing software for beginners?

Canva and PhotoScape X are highly recommended for beginners due to their user-friendly interfaces and intuitive tools.

2. Which free photo editing software offers the most advanced features?

GIMP and Darktable offer the most advanced features, suitable for professional photographers and advanced users.

3. Can I use these free photo editing software options for commercial purposes?

Most free photo editing software like GIMP, Darktable, and PhotoScape X can be used for commercial purposes, but it’s always good to check the specific license agreements to ensure compliance.

4. Are there any free photo editing software that supports RAW files?

Yes, Darktable is particularly well-known for its excellent support for RAW files, making it a great choice for professional photographers.

5. Can I use these photo editing software on multiple operating systems?

GIMP and Darktable are cross-platform and available on Windows, macOS, and Linux. PhotoScape X is available on Windows and macOS. Canva and Pixlr X are web-based and can be accessed from any device with an internet connection.

6. Do any of these free photo editing tools offer batch editing?

Yes, PhotoScape X provides batch editing capabilities, allowing you to apply edits to multiple photos simultaneously.

7. Are there any online photo editors that don’t require installation?

Canva and Pixlr X are web-based photo editors that do not require any installation. You can use them directly in your web browser.

8. Which software is best for creating collages and GIFs?

PhotoScape X is an excellent choice for creating collages and GIFs due to its built-in collage and GIF maker tools.

9. Is there free photo editing software available for mobile devices?

While the focus here is on desktop software, both Canva and Pixlr have mobile app versions that offer robust photo editing capabilities.

10. How often are these free photo editing software updated?

The update frequency varies by software. GIMP and Darktable receive regular updates due to their active open-source communities. PhotoScape X and Canva also frequently release updates to introduce new features and improvements.

11. Can I use plugins with free photo editing software?

Yes, GIMP and Paint.NET support plugins, allowing users to extend the functionality of the software with additional features and tools.

12. Do these free photo editing software options support layers and masks?

Yes, GIMP, Paint.NET, and Darktable support layers and masks, which are essential for more complex and precise photo editing.

13. What are the limitations of free photo editing software compared to paid options?

Free photo editing software may have fewer advanced features, limited support, or a more basic user interface compared to paid options like Adobe Photoshop. However, many free options offer robust tools that can meet the needs of most users.

14. Can I edit photos offline with these free software?

Yes, you can edit photos offline with GIMP, PhotoScape X, Darktable, and Paint.NET. Canva and Pixlr X require an internet connection as they are web-based tools.

15. Is there a significant learning curve for using free photo editing software?

The learning curve varies by software. GIMP and Darktable have a steeper learning curve due to their advanced features, while Canva and PhotoScape X are more beginner-friendly.

By choosing the right free photo editing software based on your needs and skill level, you can enhance your photos effectively without incurring any cost.


The best free photo editing software for 2024 offers a range of options to suit different needs and skill levels. Whether you’re a professional photographer looking for advanced tools, a beginner seeking a user-friendly interface, or someone who needs quick edits on the go, there’s a free solution available. GIMP and Darktable stand out for their professional-grade features, while PhotoScape X and Paint.NET offer a good balance for intermediate users. Canva and Pixlr X are excellent choices for quick, web-based editing. With these tools at your disposal, you can achieve high-quality photo edits without spending a dime.


shai hope

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