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What programs can I use to edit my digital photos?

There are several photo editing programs available, some of which are free of charge. All pay software vendors offer trial versions on their web sites. Here are some of those programs:

Adobe Photoshop

Among photo editing software, Adobe Photoshop is king. There simply is no other program that matches the features Photoshop offers. Professionals around the world swear by this program and each version gets better than ever.

All those features and great performance comes at a price - a very big one, too. Photoshop currently sells for around $600 for the full version and around $250 for an upgrade. While the program does provide value for all that money, it can be out of range for a lot of users.

If money is tight and you don't need all the pro features, check out Photoshop Elements. It's a leaner and less expensive version of its bigger brother. If all you want to do is crop photos, remove red eye and make minor color adjustments, Photoshop Elements may be a better option. Another option would be to try "The GIMP" listed below. It's a well rounded program and it's open source (in other words, free for anyone who wants it).

Microsoft Photo Editor

There may already be a photo editor right on you system. Some versions of Microsoft's Office suite actually contain a program call "Microsoft Photo Editor".

This program doesn't have a lot of the advanced features of other third party programs out there, but if it's on your system already, it's a good place to start.

Pros will find this program very short on features, but basic users may get all they need out of it. Those users that want a bit more power may want to look at Adobe's Photoshop Elements, a slimmed down version of Photoshop for home users. In addition, the GIMP (listed below) is a free open source alternative to try.


The GIMP (which stands for GNU Image Manipulation Program) is an open source image editor. It's free for anyone to download and use, though anyone with programming experience is encouraged to contribute their skills to improve the program.

While this program doesn't do everything Photoshop does, it comes quite close. In fact, it shares many similar functions and tools. If you've used Photoshop, The GIMP makes the transition easy.

The quality of this software is especially impressive when you consider it's completely free (in other words, don't buy it from anyone who may be requiring that you pay for it). You're welcome to make a monetary donation to help defray costs if you like the program enough to use it regularly. Even with a $5 or $10 donation, it's still an excellent value. Those gifts help ensure the open source community can afford to continue to offer great software like this.

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