Review of Pixlr Editor

Pixlr gets high marks for most of its features

Photographer with camera uploading to laptop at table
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Pixlr is an online photo editing tool that's fast and simple, and has enough features to make it a good option for low- to moderate-level photo editing. You can create a new image with Pixlr, upload an image, or grab an image directly from a URL location. It's compatible with a variety of computers. Perhaps best of all, it's free.

Pixlr's Main Features

If you're already familiar with Photoshop, you'll find that the Pixlr Editor menu options are similar, both in terms of layout and in how the various options work. You'll need a basic understanding of how image edit tools work to use them, such as "fill," "crop," "blur," and "smudge."

Pixlr has an Express tool that offers a variety of one-click changes that are fun, fast, and a very good choice for beginning editors. Hewlett Packard dropped a few features from its editing tool when the company redesigned its image software and this made it harder to work with. Pixlr Express came to the rescue.

It's much easier to use and offers former HP image editing features plus more. It also has one-click manipulation for size, rotation, and inversion, as well as the ability to add instant photo effects, changing saturation, and different hues.

Added Features and Perks

Pixlr offers "Grabber for Firefox," a free download that enables you to right-click on any image in a web page and load it into Pixlr for editing. This Firefox add-on also lets you capture the whole—or parts—of browser content such as the print screen.

There's also a "Grabber" version that you can download if you're a Windows user. Perhaps the best part is that the Grabber feature is free.

Ease of Use / Pixlr User Interface

The Pixlr Express tool is so simple that just about anyone can master it in seconds, although the Pixlr Editor requires some knowledge of photo imaging software. It has some nice features but there's a good chance you'll get lost if you don't have some experience with this type of software.

Pixlr's user interface is extremely easy to navigate and user-friendly.

Unlike Photoshop, which can be intimidating for beginners because of the intense learning curve, Pixlr's tutorials show examples and present information and instructions in easy-to-understand lay terms. 

Unfortunately, there aren't enough Pixlr tutorials out there. You'll want to read their blog before diving in to get a better feel for Pixlr and to learn how you can get the most out of its features.

Norwegian publisher KT Forlaget / ICT Publish​ has produced video tutorials that should help you quickly master all the important basic features and tools that Pixlr offers. This can come in handy if you're new to image editing and you're not patient enough to just play around with the program. You can access all these videos online for free.

Drawbacks

The Pixlr "Help" section is not very helpful. For example, you won't find any answers if you have trouble downloading Pixlr's "Grabber" and you click on "Help."

Unfortunately, there are no support or user groups either, if you're the type who needs a lot of help. But you can read over the Pixlr blog. You'll find additional information there about how to get the most out of Pixlr.

And there's always a price to pay for any program that's "free." You'll be peppered with a fair number of ads while you're working in Pixlr.

Some users have complained that Pixlr's features are more limited than they're used to, and that it's a bit short on quickie tricks. Some of the features require that you set up an account before you can use them. It's still free, but...

Finally, Pixlr requires that you install Flash.

Other Options

Of course, you can always stick with Photoshop. It also offers an Express Editor option if you really don't need a full range of tools, and the full-deal version has just about any tool you could imagine or ever need. But if you're looking for a new editor, Pixlr might be it.

As for Fotor, the basic editor is free but you'll have to upgrade to Fotor Pro for all the bells and whistles. PiZap is also respectable and quite handy. But why look further? TechRadar ranks Pixlr Editor above them all.