For people who don't need the exact feature set of Adobe Creative Suite, is there an alternative? Not only is there an alternative, but the financial cost is zero.

Open Source Adobe Creative Suite Alternatives

For people who don't need the exact feature set of Adobe Creative Suite, is there an alternative? Not only is there an alternative, but the financial cost is zero.
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For people who don’t need the exact feature set of Adobe Creative Suite, is there an alternative? Not only is there an alternative, but the financial cost is zero. 

So, for people who don't need the exact feature set of Adobe Creative Suite, is there an alternative? Not only is there an alternative, but the financial cost is zero.

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If you work in any creative field, like design or print production, or video production, you probably use Adobe Creative Suite all the time. 

And at this point, there’s probably not a good alternative. And it could be that the $55 a month plan is getting to be a real drag on your finances as you go about your daily hustle.

Maybe you’re not a creative professional but still need the kinds of features you get from Adobe Creative Suite. 

The monthly fee might be a bit much if you’re working on something like a volunteer church newsletter or are in charge of the school newspaper. 

You may be forced to decide between teaching your kids how to use professional tools, albeit with an old version, or are trying to find a way to pay for it.

There’s a growing list of open-source software that could you get you through putting together that church program or flyer for your next fundraiser while not as powerful and integrated as Adobe Creative Suite. 

And the best news is that all this software is available for Mac and Windows.


The GIMP has a long history in the open-source world and often held up as a prime example of open source development power. 

The 2.10 release of The GIMP represents a major step forward for the 20-year-old image editor. 

Long-term Photoshop users will notice the lack of adjustment layers, print professionals will wish for color space support, and people taking large-scale photos will hope for better memory management.

 If you’re editing those action photos of your kids’ latest soccer match that you shot with your phone, The GIMP is more than adequate. 

And if you can’t find a feature already built into it, much like Photoshop, several third-party plugins are available. 

One of the best is G’MIC, a suite of image processing algorithms.


This app comes from the KDE project. It has many features in common with The GIMP but is more oriented toward painting and illustration, and a little more polish to boot.


Darktable is comparable to Lightroom Classic. Darktable has excellent support for several RAW camera formats, an extensive lens database, and several non-destructive photo editing tools. 

Its ability to do mass editing of several files at once is not quite as polished as Lightroom, but it’s close.


Inkscape is a vector art editor comparable to Illustrator. However, if you’re looking for an Illustrator replacement, be advised that it does not have as many features, and your Illustrator files probably won’t render correctly. 

However, if you’re looking for something to edit or create SVG files in, Inkscape will do in a pinch.


Scribus is roughly comparable to old-school Pagemaker. Unlike InDesign, this isn’t really a QuarkXPress replacement, and you’re not going to be able to use the app to get it to do the added layout as some design houses do with InDesign. 

Also, strangely, story editing takes place in a story editor rather than WYSIWYG. (What You See Is What You Get). 

However, if you’re looking for something to layout a small-town newspaper or a school newspaper, you can set up styles for different types of headlines and body copy, and so on. 

Scribus also has excellent PDF export support, supports several different open standards, and can embed color profiles, often lacking in open-source software.


This video editor area is part of the KDE project. If all you’re using Premiere Pro for is to cut clips together and maybe add title cards and music, Kdenlive is almost overpowered for the task. 

It has several plugins for everything, from cleaning up your audio to removing video noise from your video. 

If you want to do things like, say, slip edits, Kdenlive probably isn’t for you, but if you’re cutting together footage from your kid’s school play, Kdenlive is perfect. 

LibreOffice Draw

There’s no open-source alternative to full-blown Adobe Acrobat. If you need to pull assets off of a PDF, though, LibreOffice Draw can open PDFs and let you edit them. 

You won’t be able to edit scanned documents like you can and acrobat, though.


If you’re only subscribing to Creative Suite so you can use audition to edit your podcast, it’s somewhat surprising that you’re not using Audacity already. 

It’s already popular among podcasters. If you need something to edit your audio files, normalize your levels, and clean up noise, Audacity is perfect. 

If you need some of the more advanced tools in Audition, Ardour is aimed at professional recording.

So, is there an open-source replacement for Creative Suite? Unfortunately, no; however, if you need something for your amateur pursuits, this list is a good starting point. 

And of course, a Google search will help you find workarounds for the current limitations of the software.

About Lori Ballen

I teach bloggers how to grow their blog, and make money through multiple streams of income. From affiliate marketing, to building courses, I share 7 income stream strategies through blogging.


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