Let’s talk about Adobe, citizens.
We’re thrilled to be part of the Adobe program - and even more exciting, they expanded their eligibility this year to nonprofits! However, there are still some organization types that don’t qualify for the Adobe donation program - and some organizations who have already ordered their allotment of these products for their cycle.
So, we’ve collected two lists of free programs and solutions for those of you who are in need of something now!
We’ve also included links to Adobe’s other channels for product to be sure you have access to all the options that we’re aware of. In the meantime, hopefully this will help you get the work done that you need right now (and please sign up for our Product Alert to be informed of when Adobe replenishes our stock!)
This post will cover our alternatives to Adobe’s image and document-related programs. If you're more interested in editing videos, check out our blog on free alternatives to Adobe's Production Suite. And if you're looking for simple, easy to use image editors, check out our blog on 5 Essential Graphic Editors in the Cloud.
If you’ve used GIMP before and don’t care for it, let me try to convince you: it’s been overhauled, beautifully, and works much more intuitively than it ever has. Check out all of these new features and bug fixes. There are options for different viewing modes, too, much like Photoshop’s tabbed view, and a skin that replicates Photoshop entirely!
Paint.net is a Windows-only photo manipulator and editor that is maintained by the creators and doesn’t have updates as frequently as GIMP does. It’s a little smaller, easier to pick up, and has less configuration involved.
Either are great solutions for most of your image editing needs.
Illustrator is one of those programs that we don’t get asked about a lot, but when people need it, they really need it. The best one we’ve seen is Inkscape, which is free.
Inkscape covers off almost all of Illustrator’s main vector art functions (except for live trace). If you’re not convinced, check out the Inkscape Tutorials Blog to see what people have managed to create with it so far!
Acrobat Pro is one of those programs you think you don’t need a full version of, until you really need a full version of it! Acrobat Pro’s cousin, Acrobat Reader, will let you open and read PDFs, but to fill out forms, create new documents, and edit existing PDFs, you’ll need a PDF editor as well as a Reader. Here are the ones I found, tested, and liked:
- PDF Escape (Edits & creates pdf’s)
- PDF Editor (Edits & creates pdf’s)
- Free PDF Editor (Please Note: this software can't open an existing pdf file, it’s for creating PDF files)
I also loved the Lifehacker article, The Best PDF Viewer/Editor for Windows, full of even more suggestions.
And speaking of editing documents...
Scribus is the best alternative to InDesign that I’ve found, and one of the only ones out there that’s open-source (and therefore free!).The learning curve is a little steep, so there’s a quick-start guide. For pamphlets, brochures, small projects, and other as-needed things, Scribus will do you just fine.
If, however, you’re looking for a bit more structure (say, an e-book, or a collection of PDFs) I can recommend Sigil. All together, you should be able to achieve what you’re trying to do.
I know what you’re asking: If these products are so great, why are they free? Most of these are open source projects. Here’s our blog post on what open source means.
Other Adobe Channels
Here are some other channels through which you can license Adobe software; these are, as far as we know, the only other channels for these products from Adobe directly:
- Adobe's Charity Licensing Program - available to Charities registered on CRA website
- Adobe Subscription Editions - monthly subscriptions to individual applications (approx $50/month)
- Adobe Creative Cloud
Well, I hope this was helpful! If you're looking for alternatives to Production Premium and other Adobe video tools, check out Yael's blog!