Skip to main content

Alternatives to Adobe Creative Products

I have had a couple teachers inquiring about the Adobe Creative Suite and getting it on their, or their students', computers. Although it is a great suite, it is super powerful and super expensive. We do have a limited number of licenses in the district, but not enough for everyone. We are also hesitant to put it on to student devices due to the license issue at hand. So, I have compiled a list of alternatives for you to check out that are absolutely free! The nice thing about using these is that the kids can use them after your class is over or when they have graduated and they don't have to buy expensive software to do it.

I will also be posting this list to the "Guides & Tutorials" tab linked above for future reference and will add others there if I find them.


  • Acorn from Flying Meat: Available in self service or, if you are using one of the old MacBooks, you can download Acorn 3.0 here. Great alternative that has won many awards. I see this as being a good tool to use to generate art, but not as awesome for editing photos.
  • Gimp: The gold standard when it comes to open source image manipulation. It is a great tool to edit photos.
  • Seashore from Mark Pazolli: This is a very basic tool to edit photos. If Gimp is too intensive for you or your students then check this one out.


  • Formulate Pro: Great program to help you work with PDFs including signing.
  • Print to PDF: If you are simply trying to convert a document that you already have on your Mac in to a PDF, you can always print it as a PDF without needing to download any additional software.


  • Inkscape: Awesome vector illustrating alternative.
  • Open Office Draw: Built in to the gold standard open office alternative for Microsoft Word.


  • Scribus: Create professional quality page layouts.
  • Pages: I see pages as the child of InDesign and Microsoft Word. For the majority of desktop publishing we'd do in our schools, it's a great tool that already exists on our computers.


  • Synfig: Make 2D animations with vectors and bitmaps.


  • Audacity: Deemed to be the best solution for chopping up and merging audio files. Most commonly used for Podcasts.


  • iMovie: The most obvious alternative is the one that is already on your computer. iMovie is a fairly easy to use tool that many of our kids already have experience with.
  • Avidemux: Finding a good quality movie editor that is free is downright impossible. But if you are looking for an alternative to iMovie, give this one a shot.


  • Seamonkey: If you have used Dreamweaver before and you miss having the control it gave you without having to know how to code, Seamonkey is a great alternative. It comes with a couple other apps in addition to the html editor.


Most Popular Blog Posts

Hide Dropped Students in Infinite Campus

I had a teacher ask me if there was a way to hide or remove students who are no longer in your class. The answer is maybe. It depends on if they are officially dropped from your class and appearing as red in your roster and gradebook. If not, then no, you cannot remove them until they have been unenrolled from the class. If the student is showing up as red in your gradebook though, you can hide them so you don't have to worry about them. Here is a screenshot to help you do it:

Keynote Interactivity (and my 200th post)

When I talked with teachers about Nearpod last week, there was a teacher at the highschool who really wants to keep his animations within Keynote while having the interactivity like Nearpod . I told him that I'd look into it to see what was possible. Short story: I'm not having any luck at all.

Build with Chrome (Lego Building Time!)

If you are like me, you spent countless hours when you were young building with legos . If you were a parent of kids like me, you spent countless hours vacuuming up those little pieces or hunting for them with your bare feet in the middle of the night (ouch!). When I heard about Build with Chrome yesterday, you can understand why my eyes lit up. What is Build with Chrome? It's this: