Free Alternatives to Photoshop, Illustrator, Acrobat, and Dreamweaver

As more and more businesses are supporting their own online needs, it has become imperative for businesses to own Creative Suite applications like Photoshop, Illustrator, Acrobat, and Dreamweaver. While all of these softwares are great and have very powerful features they can also break a small business owner’s budget. Seth Rosenblatt of CNET suggests some great alternatives:

Alternatives to Photoshop

First, Paint.NET utilises the Microsoft .NET Framework to create a stable, lightweight program with nearly every major function the average user could want, from a Lasso tool to Gaussian blur. The interface is completely familiar, with the added benefit of translucent panels that make it easy to see what’s going on when the windows get cluttered.

The second alternative is The GIMP, a freeware editor that started off in Linux and was eventually ported to Windows, boosting its audience and popularity. It seems to include almost everything that Photoshop does: channels, layers, masks, more than 100 filters and effects, tabbed palettes, RAW support, editable text tools and colour operations such as levels. And if the feature you’re looking for isn’t in the main program, the chances are very high that someone has created a plug-in for it, including digital printing. Although the GIMP may be more difficult to install and start using than Photoshop, it takes less time to get up and running once you’ve got it set up the way you like.

Alternative to Illustrator

Inkscape, where many of the now-essential tools found in its competition show up here, including paths, text, markers, clones, alpha blending, transforms, gradients, patterns and grouping. The program also supports Creative Commons metadata, node editing, layers, bitmap tracing and direct XML editing. It does all this, and more, without an enormous system footprint or any installation hassle.

Alternative to Acrobat

Foxit PDF Reader, opens PDFs from the Web quickly and without hanging our system, not even for a few seconds. Adobe Reader has improved recently, but it can still take some time to load.

PrimoPDF is a great PDF maker for similar reasons. It’s lightweight, with a small footprint, and is easy to use. Primo installs as a ‘Print’ option in every program you’ve got, so you can create a PDF using anything from HTML documents in Firefox to images in Paint.NET. Simple PDF publishing doesn’t need to be any more complicated than that.

Alternative to Dreamweaver

KompoZer, built on the NVU architecture, is a good free option that’s beginning to approach the functionality of Dreamweaver.

Also read alternatives to Flash, Soundbooth, InDesign, AfterEffects

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