Easy to use but powerful image editors with many special effects


Our rating: 

Get It: Android | iOS | Web App
License: Free (Limited features)
Review & Alternatives: Best Free Digital Image Editor - Basic

Pros & Cons:

High marks for being easy to use; A good selection of special effects; Consistent and simple interface; EXIF data; Share to email, Facebook, and Twitter.
No control over individual elements as transformations generally work on the whole image; Can't edit objects after they are inserted; A membership account - the user name is your email account - is required to unlock many free transformations; Tracks what you do by default until you turn it off by becoming a member.

Our Review:

Update: Autodesk has now retired the desktop version of Pixlr for Windows and MacOS according to Pixlr Support. Therefore, the following review relating to the desktop version is no longer applicable. Refer to these reviews based on Android and iOS instead.
Like its online equivalent, Autodesk's Pixlr for Desktop is part of the new wave of easy to use but powerful image editors with many special effects. It has two levels of features for free use. If you settle for the default Starter edition then you have access to a broad set of transformations. Once you sign-in you unlock the Essentials edition which has "HD border packs, 45 degree overlay rotation, and blending". These additions are indicated by a pink ribbon the first time you use them as illustrated in the example screenshot.

You will generally be working at the photo level because masking and the ability to select elements of the image are reserved for the paid Pro edition. Most of us will be more than satisfied with the free version because some of the transformations can be localised. While Pixlr is not a paint program - there are no drawing tools and no layers - it does have the usual basic visual controls and fixes. It also has clipart (called stickers), backgrounds (overlays), and many special effects.

The menu and toolbar are consistent and easy to use too. The on-line user guide is easy to follow but most of us will never need to refer to it. So it is a very good choice for any beginner.

Other than the desktop version, Pixlr is also available as a web app and mobile platforms.

Pixlr was reviewed by on


All the dl pages for Win, Mac etc pop 404's
Seems only the webapp is available

Thanks for your feedback James9bent. Pixlr for desktop has now been retired but the mobile app and the web version are still supported by the developer.