Microsoft Photo Editor is a free piece of image editing software that comes bundled with some Microsoft Windows computers. It serves the purposes of making simple edits to pictures, such as resizing, adjusting gamma and other tasks. However, it is far from irreplaceable and there are many software programs, both free and at cost, that can do what Microsoft Photo Editor does and more. Once you install these programs, you’ll never go back to the basic Microsoft Photo Editor.
Free Image Editing Software
GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program) is an extremely powerful program that was originally developed by two college students. It includes advanced features, such as layers, paths and painting tools and even supports many different user created plug-ins for complete customization to your individual artistic needs. Additionally, it is not only supported in Windows, but on Mac and Linux systems as well.
Paint.NET is another open source program that was specifically designed to replace the limited Microsoft Paint utility. In doing so, it also added multiple highly advanced functions including layers, unlimited undo and many drawing tools that have earned it a reputation as a competitor to Photoshop (but without the cost). As an open source program, it also has many user created plug-ins to customize to your needs.
There are some other free open-source competitors as well, such as FastStone Image Viewer, IrfanView and XNView, which have simple features such as resizing, cropping and red eye removal but are ultimately much less powerful than GIMP or Paint.NET with their community plug-ins.
There are also many other specialized programs that offer specific functions, such as Autostitch, which can create huge panoramas from your pictures, or Fotomosaik, which can create a mosaic picture from many of your pictures. However, none of these offer the breadth of features that GIMP and Paint.NET have.
Adobe Photoshop is the leading paid image editing software. There are two full versions, regular Photoshop and Photoshop Extended. Both feature highly advanced features and plug-ins, with Photoshop Extended introducing 3D editing, motion graphics and image analysis capabilities. These advanced features have made it the favorite for industry professionals ranging from photographers to graphic designers to engineers. All this power comes at a hefty cost, however, and the program can also be bundled with the Adobe Professional Suite, which includes many more programs for other creative aspirations. For amateur photo editing, the free open-source software should be more than sufficient, but to move to a professional environment, you must possess a working knowledge of Photoshop.