PhotoScape for Windows Free Photo Editor Review

PhotoScape - A fun, feature-filled, free photo editor for Windows

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At first glance, we thought PhotoScape was going to be a dud, but we dug deeper and realized why so many people recommend it as a favorite free photo editor. It is jam-packed with features while remaining very easy to use. PhotoScape includes several modules, which I'll briefly describe here.

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The Viewer

The viewer is nothing special, but it does the job. It gives you a standard thumbnail view, along with a folders list on the side, and a larger preview window, plus a few functions for rotating images, viewing EXIF data, and so on. The maximum thumbnail size is pretty small, and there does not seem to be any sorting options. Each of the other tabs in PhotoScape has its thumbnail browser as well, so you probably won't use this tab often.

The Editor

The editor is where most of the functions are. Here you can apply a multitude of adjustments and effects to your photos. There is everything from one-click auto-levels and contrast to advanced color curves, complete with the ability to load and save presets. There are many color and tone adjustments and several filter effects from the practical (noise reduction) to the fun (cartoon). You can also spruce up your photos with a variety of fun and funky frames.

Within the editor, there is an object tab where you can add text, shapes, and speech balloons on top of the photo you are working with. There is a wide variety of clip art objects that you can stamp onto your working file, and you can also add any other photo or an image from the clipboard. There is a rich text tool for adding formatted text as well as a symbol tool, which lets you browse all the symbol fonts on your computer and drop them onto your image. Once these objects are in your document, they can be resized, moved, and rotated.

The editor also offers a flexible crop tool with a circular crop option. And there are a few region editing tools--red-eye remover, mole remover, and mosaic. The red-eye and mole tools could be improved, but for quick touch-ups, they do an okay job.

Undo and Undo All buttons revert any changes you don't like. And when you save your edits, you have the option to back up the original photo before overwriting, save under a new file name, or save your file in a designated output folder.

PhotoScape X

Batch Processing

In the Batch Editor, you can apply almost all the functions available in the editor to multiple files at once. That includes frames, objects, text, color and tone adjustments, sharpening, resizing, and many of the effects. You can review the results before exporting one or all of the photos with your changes. You can also save your batch editor settings as a configuration file to re-use later.

Page Layouts

The page module is a multi-photo layout tool with over 100 choices of grid layouts to choose from. Simply drag and drop your photos into the boxes to create a quick collage. Individual images can be moved and scaled to fit the grid boxes, and you can adjust the size of the layout, add margins, round the corners, and apply frames or filter effects to all photos in the design. Once your layout is complete, it can be saved as a new file or passed to the editor.

Other Features

Other modules include:

  • Combine: join multiple photos into a horizontal or vertical strip or grid.
  • AniGif: create a frame-based animation from multiple photos.
  • Print: print picture package layouts or thumbnail contact sheets.
  • Splitter: cut your photo into multiple images based on a grid.
  • Screen Capture: take an image of your full desktop, a window, or a region of your screen.
  • Color Picker: sample colors from anywhere on your screen.
  • Raw Converter: a simple converter for saving camera RAW files as JPEGs.
  • Rename: batch edit file names with custom text, date, time, serial numbers.


We're very impressed overall at what this photo editor has packed into it without sacrificing ease of use. It does have a few shortcomings, however. In a few places, we noticed Korean characters in some dialog boxes, and sometimes the language was not very clear in describing the functions. The program is also limited to working with only one document at a time, so if you want to change the photo you are working on, you will need to save and close the current file. It also means you can't do more advanced editing, such as a photo montage of multiple images fading into each other. Although there are a few pixel-level editing tools here, they are relatively limited. That said, it will accommodate most of what the average person will want to do with photos, and offers quite a few fun extras as well.

PhotoScape is free for non-commercial use and runs on Windows 98/Me/NT/2000/XP/Vista/10 and Mac. The program did not trigger any adware or spyware warnings on my system, but the website and online help do display text ads. The online help contains several videos to demonstrate the program features. It is one of the better free photo editors out there, and it's well worth checking out.

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