7 Best Affordable Alternatives to Adobe

Adobe is known across the globe and offers loads of incredible tools for digital file editing, but if you’re just starting out you may not have the funds to pay their pretty high subscription costs every month. There are hundreds of alternatives available on the internet that can offer you similar functionalities as Adobe, and depending on personal preferences, you may even prefer the cheaper options for more reasons than just saving on cost. This list includes just a small selection of more affordable Adobe alternatives that can also stand up in terms of functionality. 

Illustrator

Inkscape

Inkscape is extremely popular among illustrators, which makes it somewhat surprising to find out that you can download it completely free of charge. There are loads of fantastic features, including over 50 thousand shapes to choose from, which means you will never hit a roadblock when creating your digital art. Inkscape is also easy and straightforward to use, making it ideal not only for professional illustrators but anyone interested in having a go, regardless of whether they have any previous experience. 

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Price: Free

(Adobe Illustrator: $20.99 / month)

Free Trial: n/a

Platforms: Windows, MacOS

Acrobat

Smallpdf

Smallpdf is an online and downloadable software with 20 tools for your PDF files. The key features that make it a standout alternative to Adobe Acrobat are it’s PDF reader, PDF converter, editing tools and electronic signature capabilities. You can convert most file types into PDF (and vice versa) before heading to their editor tool, which includes functions such as drawing, adding text, shapes and images. As previously mentioned, their eSign tool is also fantastic, allowing you to save your created signature to speed up your workflow in the future, as well as invite additional signers via email. Smallpdf is extremely user friendly and has a blog and Youtube channel compiling tutorials on all of their tools. 

Price: Free, $9 / month for Pro, or $7 / month for Team

(Adobe Acrobat Pro: $14.99 / month)

Free Trial: Yes -7 days

Platforms: Windows, Linux, MacOS, iOS, Android, Online

Photoshop

Affinity Photo

Affinity Photo is a great and affordable alternative to Adobe Photoshop, due in part to its one time payment, as opposed to a monthly subscription. It offers powerful and detailed photo editing options, making it extremely popular among both amateurs and professionals alike. It has an array of features, from professional color modes to Undo History, which allows you to restore old versions should you make an unwanted change. It also helps to improve your workflow, as the workspace and tools are divided into stages: Photo, Liquify, Develop, Tone Mapping and Export, ensuring a smoother workflow and a less confusing or overwhelming photo editing process. 

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Price: $54.99 one off payment

(Adobe Photoshop: $20.99 / month)

Free Trial: Yes

Platforms: Windows, MacOS

Lightroom

Polarr

Polarr is said to be much more accessible than more complex programmes like Adobe’s Lightroom and Photoshop, but that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have a variety of tools and features that even professional photographers could benefit from. Such features include watermark implementation, before and after comparisons, as well as the ability to support large image files, namely JPEG up to 30MP. 

Price: Free, or $3.99 / month

(Adobe Lightroom (1TB): $9.99 / month

Free Trial: No

Platforms: Windows, MacOS, Online

Premiere

DaVinci Resolve

DaVinci Resolve is a favourite among professional video editors, but the ease of use they offer their users makes it a great tool for enthusiasts – although you may have to put some time aside to figure out everything you can do with this powerful and complex video editing software. Unlike Adobe Premiere, it combines video editing, color coding, audio production and motion graphics into one.  

Price: Free

(Adobe Premiere Pro: $20.99 / month)

Free Trial: n/a

Platforms: Windows, MacOS

InDesign

Affinity Publisher

Affinity Publisher was named Mac App of the Year in 2019, and has not disappointed since. It has mostly the same features as InDesign, allowing you to accomplish all of the same tasks. There is a large selection of shapes to integrate into your work, as well as a crop tool, which allows you to crop these shapes in any way you want. Similarly to Affinity Photo, there are distinguished stages, which are bound to help with improving your workflow. Affinity publisher has been receiving rave reviews since it’s release, and it’s clear to see why!

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Price: $54.99 one off payment

(Adobe InDesign: $20.99 / month

Free Trial: Yes

Platforms: Windows, MacOS

Audition

Audacity

Audacity is a great audio editing app alternative to Adobe Audition. It is user friendly and ideal for basic edits, such as tweaking podcasts or video audio, while also having functions required for more complex tasks like recording music. It is hard to go wrong with Audacity, and the fact that it is completely free is reason enough to go check it out and see what you think of it – what have you got to lose? 

Price: Free

(Adobe Audition: $20.99 / month)

Free Trial: n/a

Platforms: Windows, MacOS, Linux

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