Graphics Editors

What they do and some examples

We have all used text editors like Notepad, Wordpad or Word. Graphics Editors manipulate pictures like text editors manipulate words. A graphics editor give you control over your digital photographs just like a color darkroom did with film.

Graphics Editors can be costly software with a steep learning curve. Adobe Photoshop CS5, the professional standard product sells for nearly $900. Photoshop will do everything from fixing "red eye" in your digital photographs to inserting stone images of yourself on Mount Rushmore.  

Photoshop can be difficult to learn., offers over 200 courses on the various versions and specific functions in Photoshop.

Like all software, there are fee and free versions. See our help topic on Free Software.   We will discuss three free graphics editors editors in order of difficulty.


Irfanview is a basic graphics editor that is easy to learn and use.  With Irfanview you can resize pictures, change graphics types, adjust pictures, fix red eyes, add text and combine pictures into a panorama.

Irfanview is particularly good at opening nearly all of the image types, from basic bitmap graphics to sophisticated CAD and Radiological modalities.

If you want Irfanview to open all the various image types, be sure to get the extra Plugins.

See the Irfanview help topic for more information on exactly how to use.

Irfanview is written specifically for the Personal Computer.


Artweaver is a medium sophistication / difficulty graphics editor. It is in a category with products like Corel PaintShop Pro and Adobe Photoshop Elements, both of which sell for around $100.

In addition to all the functions of Irfanview, Artweaver adds things like layers, borders, textures, more effects, and basic extraction from one picture to another.

Artweaver is also written specifically for the Personal Computer.


GIMP stands for GNU Image Manipulation Tool. It is as sophisticated as Photoshop and is written in JAVA, so it will run on any computer - PC, Mac, Unix/Linux, Mainframe.

GIMP is on a difficulty level with Photoshop, but it is free and available HERE.  Numerous GIMP manuals are available from Amazon HERE. GIMP does everything that Irfanview and Artweaver does and much much more.

One really needs one of the many books to use GIMP effectively. If you are already familiar with Photoshop, give GIMP a try.