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Best Free Online Image Editors

Updated on August 18, 2010

As people move their lives online in more and more ways, the programs that we have come to rely on as full-featured desktop applications are being replaced with online alternatives. For example, Microsoft Word is slowly being moved online and companies such as Google are creating online alternatives. One area that has been slow to move online is that of image editing. Currently, there is no way to reproduce the power and flexibility of huge programs such as Photoshop. However, there are many online image editors that can replace simpler programs such as Microsoft Paint. These online versions are becoming more and more complex and full of new and helpful features.

Google Picasa Picnik

If you are already using Google's Picasa web albums to store your photo albums online, then you will be happy to know that image editing can actually be performed from directly within your web albums. This is thanks to a recent acquisition of Picnik, an online photo editor, by Google. All you have to do is open up your image, and then click "Edit" > "Edit in Picnik."

A big window will appear where you can make a number of changes to your photo. Picnik does have a few options that you have to pay for, but I have found that the free version works incredibly well.

Sumo Paint -

This relatively unknown web app for editing photos is incredibly full featured. It's almost like an online version of Photoshop. There are tons and tons of features for creating new photos, editing existing photos, etc. You can upload photos from your computer, or import an image from any URL, and then change layers, brightness, red eye, etc. You can also create new images with great results.

FotoFlexer -

FotoFlexer claims to be the "world's most advanced online image editor." After seeing Sumo Paint, I would argue that claim, but nonetheless, FotoFlexer has an incredible number of features. Where it really stands out is in its ability to import photos directly from Facebook, Myspace, and other online image sites. It has all the standard abilities to rotate, crop, etc., but it also introduces many new features as well. Check it out!

Pixlr Photo Editor

Pixlr's photo editor is similar to Sumo Paint in design. You'll see all the familiar transformations, corrections, and editing tools. It is easy to use, and also has a surprising number of features. 

Splashup -

Splashup is an interesting option for free online image editing because it feels "lighter" than some of the other options I suggested here. It is still full-featured, there isn't much you can't do in it, but the arrangement of the menus and style of the editing canvas make it less difficult to navigate if online image editing scares you. It's perfect for beginners as well as people who need a quick and easy solution for editing images online.

Phixr -

I am including Phixr in this list because it has some interesting effects and is really easy to use. While the other products I mentioned have tons of options, Phixr has less. However, they are really a great way to make some basic edits to photos when you don't need the full power and slower speed of a full-featured editor. You can also import from many favorite sites like Facebook.

Aviary -

Aviary is a great site that has lots and lots of web apps. Besides the image editor, Aviary has tons and tons of other editors for audio, video, etc. They really have some great stuff. Focusing on the image editor though, it is comprehensive and easy to use; sort of a blend between Phixr and Sumo Paint. Some people may find it a bit confusing at first, but it does combine a lot of power with simplicity.

As you can see, there are a lot of free image editors online that can do tons more than Paint. Some of them even rival Photoshop. It's impressive what you can do online. The best part about all of these applications is that you don't need to download anything to use them, and they are accessible anywhere that there is an internet connection.

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    • profile image

      Nisha Shah 7 years ago

      I found Photo Dekho's Free Online Photo Editor to be the best by far. It's free. Try it.

    • xnotion profile image

      xnotion 7 years ago

      Hi Frank,

      You're right in saying that Phixr does have as many features as, say, Picnik. However, just looking at the menu structure of sites like Sumo Paint, you can clearly see that there are tons of extra options, the most notable being layers. Serious photo editors use layers a lot, and I am simply pointing out that Phixr lacks this feature. It does have a lot of the same simpler features (crop, red eye, etc.) but it lacks more advanced edits. Nonetheless, it is still a great editor.

    • profile image

      Frank 7 years ago

      I have looked at Phixr and can't agree to your statement that it has less features than eg. picnik. Apart from some fancy special effects (whose usefulness I doubt) I don't see anything that Phixr lacks and picnik has. Can you elaborate?