5 Free Online Photo Editing Tools



The first thing you’ll notice about Pixlr is its stylish vibe. Many people are modifying their self-shot pics to look vintage or retro, sticking them up on social network pages like Facebook and MySpace to make themselves look cool, groovy, and even mysterious. If this is what you’re looking for in a free online photo editor, look no further than pixlr. I suspect this website mostly appeals to the millions of teen users itching to make their profiles way more interesting.

The main page directs you to an online photo editor, much like what you’d expect from basic photo editing software, with regular features including layer, flip, adjust, rasterize, etc. This is your typical “get in, make a few changes, and get out” type of photo editor.

For the overly-creative types, pixlr’s editor lets you create images from scratch, which is a nice feature if you want to have complete creative control. You can open an image form your computer, an online URL, or form an image library like Facebook or other library, but you first have to sign up to pixlr to do so. The main interface reminds you of Adobe’s PhotoShop, very clean, easy to use, and well-laid out.

However the retro vintage effects section, called “pixlr-o-matic,” may bedazzle you with its ability to quickly make your picture or webcam image look old, crackly, “divine,” “hazy”, or “flowery.”

Pixlr-o-matic offers a quick-start practice area on the main page called “Try one of ours,” which gives you a choice of 5 images to choose from and practice on. Go ahead, give it a try, you’ll get addicted in no time! The first section in pixlr-o-matic offers a number of different hues to add to your photo, all named with familiar names including Karen, Fred, Greg, and Hagrid (not so familiar). The next section looks like a filmstrip going through a camera and lets you add different overlay effects to your pictures including (but not limited to) “kryptonite,” “metal,” and “morning.”

 Pixlr-o-matic is also available as a download on Facebook, as a Chrome Web app, and for iOS or Android devices. If you are under 13 years of age, you cannot use pixlr (with or without registering). Also, if you are under 18 years old, you can use pixlr only with the approval of a parent or guardian. This is a good thing, considering that Pixlr does not pre-screen content.

Pixlr also includes pixlr express--a faster, lighter photo editing option.

The website also offers a Pixlr Grabber extension for both Firefox and Chrome that lets you right click on any image in a webpage and load it into pixlr for editing, or edit, share or save direct in your browser. Both browser options let you capture the whole or parts of the browser content (using print screen). 

  • Thanks for the list. Much appreciated.

    With the pending demise of Picnik I was wondering what I was going to do in those instance where I need something but have no access to my own laptop or desktop and only need something quick and easy to use.

    Generally I use GIMP but naturally this is not 'online' :)