Adobe is one of the oldest and biggest names in computer software. The company is synonymous with web technologies and design programs. You usually have to pay a pretty penny for them, but you’ll be surprised to know you can get some free Adobe apps these days.

The company has recently been releasing several apps and programs for free. For instance, lesser-known free Adobe software like Adobe Scan will automatically recognize documents, business cards, or whiteboards from your phone’s camera. While the big boy Creative Cloud isn’t free, you can still get most of its features through younger siblings of the software.

1. Adobe Photoshop Camera (Android, iOS): Live Filters and AI Suggestions for Photo Editing

Adobe Photoshop Camera introduces a whole new way of taking photos. Normally, you would snap a picture and then apply filters. But Photoshop Camera is smart enough to apply filters and show live previews before you press the shutter.

The whole thing works because of Adobe Sensei, a proprietary artificial intelligence (AI) software. Sensei can detect the scene from your camera and quickly adjust settings on the fly. You’ll need an active internet connection to see it happen though.

Sensei and Photoshop Camera also combine for another cool feature in the form of AI-suggested photo editing. The powerful AI can change backgrounds of photos, add objects seamlessly, create mirrors or clones of a person in the picture, and much more.

Play around with it and you’ll find it’s one of the most feature-packed photo editors, available for free. And there are other free Adobe app goodies like custom filters (called Lenses) from artists.

Download: Adobe Photoshop Camera for Android | iOS (Free)

2. Adobe Lightroom (Android, iOS): Minute Photo Editing With Great Free Tutorials

How do celebrities and social media influencers edit their photos to look so great? Adobe Lightroom is here to teach you how. It’s the best free Adobe program to play with lights, shadows, and the finer details that make a picture pop.

While the desktop version remains paid software for professionals, Lightroom on mobile is free and accessible for anyone. In fact, Adobe has packed it with free tutorials for you to learn how to touch up pictures. The ‘Learn’ section of Lightroom has step-by-step guides for beginner, intermediate, and advanced users.

These guides will teach you the basics of photo editing and take you all the way to an expertise level you wouldn’t have thought. Plus, the guides are interactive, so you are actually changing the photo while learning as per instructions. Try them out, you’ll unlock a whole new skill level.

All of this is covered in the free Adobe Lightroom app. You can pay for Lightroom Premium to access features like the magical Healing brush to remove any object from a photo, the ability to edit RAW images and selective adjustments on photos.

Download: Adobe Lightroom for Android | iOS (Free)

3. Photoshop Mix (Android, iOS): Work With Layers on Touchscreens

Forget about Photoshop Touch and even the powerful Photoshop Express. Adobe worked hard on another app that puts both of those to shame and is easier for beginners to use.

Photoshop Mix concentrates more on being able to play around with layers, an essential element of image editing. With Photoshop Mix, you can combine up to five layers to make complex images, control opacity with Blend Modes, and apply multiple filters on several layers.

These are the kinds of image editing tools that were normally found on desktops. But with the powerful hardware of new smartphones, Photoshop Mix is an absolutely delightful free Adobe app for anyone who loves taking photos.

Download: Photoshop Mix for Android | iOS (Free)

4. Adobe Acrobat Reader (All Platforms): Sign and Highlight PDFs for Free

Adobe Acrobat Reader is the granddaddy of PDF reader tools. We’ve gotten used to thinking of Adobe Acrobat as a bloated program that pesters us for subscriptions, but that’s not the case anymore. It has transformed into a sleek app for desktop as well as mobile and made essential PDF tools free.

These days, you often require to digitally sign a PDF document. Instead of searching for software that’ll let you do that, use good old Adobe Acrobat Reader. Yup, it’s completely free and makes it easy too. You can upload an image of your signature, draw with your mouse or finger on touchscreens, or type and choose a font that matches your sign.

Especially on phones, Adobe Acrobat Reader is seriously powerful. You can use it to highlight PDFs and add annotations for free, and it couldn’t be simpler. And try the Liquid Mode that makes reading PDFs easier, you’ll never want to browse PDFs in another format. It’s so good that I’d say Adobe Acrobat Reader is the best free PDF app on phones.

Download: Adobe Acrobat Reader for Android | iOS | Windows or macOS (Free)

5. Adobe Color (Web): Find Matching Color Schemes in an Instant

If you don't know color theory, Adobe Color will find matching colors for you in a jiffy

Color theory can be difficult. Even if you understand basic complementary colors, figuring out triads, shades, and analogous colors aren’t everyone’s cup of tea. Just offload all of that to Adobe Color instead.

The free Adobe web app promises to find the perfect color scheme every time. Either upload an image to figure out its main colors, or just pick a color yourself. Adobe Color will then find complementary, compound, analogous, monochromatic, or triad based schemes based on it.

Move the “hands” of the color wheel with your mouse (click-and-drag) and the entire color scheme updates on the fly. You have hex colors at the bottom, as well as RGB ratios. And if you’re stuck for inspiration, click “Explore” to check out some recent themes picked by other users.

Free Alternatives to Adobe Software

Adobe has a long history of making products that professionals swear by, and are willing to pay a good amount for. But you don’t have to always fork over hard-earned cash, especially if you’re not a professional.

There are excellent free alternatives to Photoshop, Lightroom, Illustrator, and other Adobe Creative Cloud programs. In fact, unless you’re working in the design or graphics industry, these free tools will be more than powerful enough.


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