7 Best Free Adobe Creative Suite Alternatives for Windows

The apps are powerful, but most of us don't need many of their features. So, is there a way to pay less for the features that we do use? Well, I'll do you one better, and introduce you to completely free to the most popular Adobe apps, offering all the basic features and some advanced ones.

1. GIMP Photo Editing Workflow

GIMP is the most popular free alternative to Photoshop. It's an open-source image manipulation program offering extensive photo editing and graphic designing features.

Here's how GIMP compares to Photoshop's most popular features:

Photoshop FeaturesDescriptionGIMP Compatibility
AI-powered Selection Tools Tools for automatically selecting objects using machine learning.Partially supported; lacks AI capabilities.
Content-Aware FillFills selected areas with seamlessly blending content.Partially supported; less sophisticated.
Adjustment LayersNon-destructive tools for color and tonal adjustments.Partially supported by GIMP 2.99.18.
LayersAllows stacking edits without altering the original image.Supported.
Healing BrushFixes imperfections by blending them with surrounding areas.Partially supported; less control.
MaskingHides or reveals image portions without deletion.Supported.

You can install GIMP from the Microsoft Store.

2.  Inkscape—The Best Free Alternative for Illustrator

2. Inkscape Vector Logo Design Workflow

Inkscape is a leading free alternative to Illustrator. This open-source vector graphics editor includes comprehensive tools for creating scalable vector artwork.

Here's how Inkscape compares to Illustrator's most popular features:

Adobe Illustrator FeaturesDescriptionInkscape Feature Compatibility
Generative RecolorAI tool for generating color variations for vector artwork.Not supported; manual recoloring only
Smooth SliderAdjusts line smoothness manually to refine drawings.Partially supported; limited control
Style PickerExtracts and applies styles and colors from images.Partially supported; clones colors only
Text to Vector GraphicConverts text into vector graphics using AI.Partially supported; manual vectors only
SVG Compatibility EnhancementsImproved SVG file support for better web standards compatibility.Supported
Perspective Drawing ToolsTools for creating accurate perspective drawings and 3D effects.Partially supported; basic tools

You can install Inkscape from the Microsoft Store.

3.  Scribus—The Best Free Alternative for InDesign

3 Scribus Newsletter Workflow

Scribus is a popular free and open-source alternative to InDesign. The interface might look a bit dated, but it supports multiple professional publishing features such as CMYK color, separations, ICC color management, and versatile PDF creation. Here's how Scribus compares to InDesign's most popular features:

InDesign FeaturesDescriptionScribus Feature Compatibility
Paragraph and Character StylesEssential for consistent text formatting across various personal projects.Partially supported; limited control
Object StylesUseful for applying consistent styles to objects like images and frames in creative projects.Partially supported; basic flexibility
Drop Caps and Nested StylesEnhances the visual appeal of documents, important for creative layouts.Partially supported; limited functionality
Table Creation and ManagementHelpful for organizing information neatly, applicable in many personal projects.Partially supported; basic styling
Color ManagementImportant for ensuring that the colors in personal projects appear as intended.Partially supported; less intuitive
Font ManagementEnables better choice and management of fonts, enhancing the aesthetic of documents.Partially supported; basic options

You can get the download link for Scribus from their official website.

4.  DaVinci Resolve—The Best Free Alternative for Premiere Pro

DaVinci Resolve's main interface.

DaVinci Resolve has a free version and a paid version. I'm talking about the free version here. However, the paid version is also worth considering as it's a one-time payment, making it more affordable in the long run since you're not locked into a subscription plan.

DaVinci Resolve (free version) is an outstanding alternative to Premiere Pro, especially known for its color grading and non-linear video editing capabilities. Here's how DaVinci Resolve compares to Premiere Pro's most popular features.

Premiere Pro FeaturesDescriptionDaVinci Resolve (Free Version) Compatibility
Auto ReframeAutomatically adjusts video for different aspect ratios.Partially Supported; manual setup necessary
Lumetri ColorSimple yet powerful color correction, essential for enhancing videos.Supported; using own tools
Essential GraphicsAllows easy creation and customization of graphics.Partially Supported; node-based
Proxy WorkflowsEnables editing on less powerful systems.Supported
Auto ColorQuick way to correct color, useful for novices.Partially Supported; needs manual input
Motion Graphics TemplatesPre-designed templates to enhance videos.Partially Supported; using Fusion tool
Multi-Camera EditingUseful for creating content with multiple camera angles.Supported

You can download the free version of DaVinci Resolve from their official website.

5.  Blender—The Best Free Alternative for After Effects

5. Blender Doodling Workflow

Blender is a powerful free alternative to After Effects for 3D animation and visual effects. It supports the entire 3D pipeline—modeling, rigging, animation, simulation, rendering, compositing, and motion tracking. Here's how Blender compares to After Effects' most popular features:

After Effects FeaturesDescriptionBlender Feature Compatibility
Content-Aware FillAutomatically fills in backgrounds when elements are removed from video clips.Partially supported; via clone, heal
Roto Brush 3Uses AI to quickly separate foregrounds from backgrounds, aiding compositing.Partially supported; masking
Puppet ToolTransforms static images into animated characters by defining movement points.Supported; Grease Pencil
GPU Accelerated EffectsLeverages GPU for faster processing and rendering of effects.Supported; Cycles, Eevee
3D Camera TrackerTracks 3D camera movement in 2D footage to integrate 3D elements.Supported; camera tracking

You can install Blender from the Microsoft Store.

6.  Audacity—The Best Free Alternative for Audition

6. Multitrack Audio Editing

Audacity is a highly capable free alternative to Audition. It is perfect for multitrack audio editing and recording.

Here's how Audacity compares to Audition's most popular features:

Audition FeaturesDescriptionAudacity Compatibility
Multitrack EditingSupports complex, simultaneous multitrack editing.Partially supported; less flexible
Waveform EditingVisual representation aids precise edits.Partially supported; less precise
Effects RackCustomizable panel for managing multiple effects.Partially supported; basic management
Spectral Frequency DisplayDetailed spectral view for precise noise reduction and sound isolation.Partially supported; less detailed
Audio RestorationAdvanced tools for restoring and repairing audio.Partially supported; less sophisticated
Batch ProcessingAutomates repetitive tasks for multiple files efficiently.Partially supported; limited scope
Loudness MeteringTools for monitoring and adjusting loudness to broadcast standards.Partially supported; basic levels

You can install Audacity from the Microsoft Store.

7.  Darktable—The Best Free Alternative for Lightroom

7. Darktable photo enhancement workflow

Darktable is an advanced free alternative to Lightroom, aimed at photographers working with raw images. Here's how Darktable compares to Lightroom's most popular features:

Lightroom FeaturesDescriptionDarktable Feature Compatibility
PresetsAllows hobbyists to quickly apply favorite settings and explore creative options.Supported; Styles
Local AdjustmentsEssential for fine-tuning specific parts of an image, greatly enhancing editing precision.Supported; via modules
HDR OutputImportant for hobbyists interested in landscape and high-dynamic range scenes.Supported; Filmic RGB
Tone CurveProvides control over tonal range, crucial for detailed image refinement.Supported; tone curve module
Lens BlurAdds artistic effects to images, simulating depth of field and bokeh.Partially Supported (limited by module capability)
Spot RemovalUseful for cleaning up images by removing unwanted elements.Supported
Detail EnhancementIncludes sharpening and noise reduction, important for image clarity.Supported

You can download Darktable from their official website.

Adobe offers a collection of powerful apps with incredible features, but the cost can be problematic for many users. Thankfully, these free alternatives offer almost all the basic and some advanced features to empower the creative within you. Also, depending on the scope, many of these tools can be used for professional workloads.

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