Nobody wants to have to use alternatives to the beloved Adobe Suite. However, it becomes inevitable if you do not want to spend $2000 on a set of programs or you do want to download them illegally. So, below are some of the more popular programs that I have found throughout the web that make for okay alternatives to the expensive adobe programs.

Alternative for Photoshop: Gimp

I have been using Photoshop for years and would not want to imagine using anything else.  However, if you have to, it seems like Gimp is the best alternative.  I’ve never used Gimp myself, but it looks as if it can do all of the basic functions of Photoshop like cutting out backgrounds, laying text over images, adjusting the levels and such. There are also some okay online alternatives such as Picnik or Splashup.

Alternative to Dreamweaver:  Aptana

There are a whole bunch of web development programs available for free; Aptana studios seems to be simple to use, has good reviews and has over 6 million downloads!

Alternative to InDesign: Scribus

Scribus looks pretty basic, but it also looks like it can also get the job done. If you plan on doing some really intricate design layout this may not do the trick, but if you are just inserting text and pictures it looks fine. I would suggest using Scribus over Microsoft Publisher as it does seem more customizable (you are not putting images and text into a template.)

Alternative to Illustrator: Inkscape

Inkscape looks really cool (the screenshot above is of Inkscape.) The user interface does not resemble one of a free program and it has many of the same tools and features of Illustrator. This seems to be the most popular adobe alternative when it comes to creating vector graphics.


SketchUp is a 3D modeling program, a kind of program I do not think Adobe even makes, but I figured it would be worth mentioning. SketchUp is made by Google, so you know it was made well. You can create 3D models of houses, 3D invention mock ups, 3D cities and practically anything else. I messed around with it for a bit, and did not create anything worth showing, but it is a fun and probably practical for some, program. Get it.

Alternative to Audition or ProTools: Audacity

None of these programs I have mentioned are really meant for professional work and Audacity is not an exception. However, Audacity will work fine for you and your buddy’s rap song you want to record and then upload to Facebook. However, if you have a mac, then stick with Garage Band.

Alternatives to Premiere or Final Cut: Avidmux or  Light Works

Finding a good free alternative to a video editing program is very difficult and probably not worth it. If you are doing complicated work or large amounts of editing you will want a quality program. If you do not do much editing, Mac and Windows already come with okay movie editing programs (although calling Windows Movie Maker “okay” is a huge compliment.) So, if you kind of do a lot of editing and do not want to use WMM and do not want to buy premiere then Avidmuc and LightWorks are your best options.


OR, instead of all these alternatives, students can get the adobe suite at a discounted price of $900 instead of $2600. Still really expensive, but that is a $1700 discount. However, in my design class I remember the teacher telling us that if you buy the student version then you could not print your designs professionally because it is meant for educational use only, or something.  However, I could not find anything about that on the internet. So, if you plan on buying the student edition and getting things printed professionally you may want to look further into that.