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I’m no graphic artist, but I deal with light image editing every once in a while. No heavy stuff, really, maybe something like resizing large images to meet the maximum pixel limit for blog posts, converting from png to jpg to reduce the size, blocking the private information printed on the image, adding some text, merging two images (or more) together, etc.

That’s why I don’t need the expensive heavy-duty image editor with steep learning curve. On the other side, I can’t use the free but too-simple image editor alternatives 8 Simple Free Photoshop Alternatives that are under 2 MB 8 Simple Free Photoshop Alternatives that are under 2 MB Read More either. Unfortunately, the available choices out there mostly fall into one of that two categories.

The Free Image Editor For Humans

After the seemingly never-ending quest to find the perfect image editor for my usage (free and powerful enough but user friendly), I found Acorn, which I personally think is the closest to my requirements.

This app, which is dubbed as “the image editor for humans“, is actually a powerful, free image editor with enough bells and whistles to satisfy even the professionals. Acorn is available in the free feature-limited version, and pro version. The first installation will give you 14 days free trial of the pro version, then you can register it or the app will be downgraded to the free version. Nevertheless, everyday users will find the free version more than enough to cater to their needs.

01 Welcome to Acorn.jpg


There’s no better way to understand what Acorn is capable of than to take it for a spin. So let’s see how this cutie caters to my needs.

Light Edit The Images

Here are some examples on how I use Acorn.

1. Resizing and Cropping

Let’s say that I’ve just captured a screenshot of an app, but the size exceeds the maximum pixels allowed by my editor. To resize it, I open the image using Acorn and go to the Image –> Resize Image menu (or hit Command + Alt + I)

04a Resize Image Menu.jpg

Then I write down the required size, check the “Keep aspect ratio” box so that the image will stay in the correct proportion, and click OK.

04b Resize Image.jpg

Alternatively, I can use Crop to choose part of the image in the desired size. I go to the Image –> Crop menu (Command + Alt + K) and drag the edges. Cropping will not blur the image like resizing, but will not work if you need to show the complete picture.

05 Crop Image.jpg

2. Converting Images

I personally prefer PNG for my images because this format gives better quality, but sometimes the size will be too big for a blog post. In the blogging world, file size translates to traffic bandwidth and results in hosting costs.

So I compromise the quality to size by converting the PNG to JPG. I go to the File –> Save As menu (Command + Shift + S),

06a Convert File.jpg

Choose the format and quality (for JPG only), and click OK.

06b Image n Quality.jpg

3. Cover some secrets

Sometimes I have images that contains some personal information like an email address or user account. I could just place a solid rectangle above it to censor the information, but Acorn lets me do it elegantly.

First I choose “Flood Fill” from the drawing toolbox,

07a Flood fill-1.jpg

Then I would place the mouse cursor over the area that I want to cover while holding the “Alt” key. The “Bucket” will turn into “Droplet”.  If you click on that area, Acorn will adjust the “outline” color to match that area. Do the same for the “fill” color.

Next, I choose Shape –> Rectangular from the Drawing tools, and draw a rectangle over the area that I want to cover.

07b Rectangular tool-1.jpg

The result is as if there’s nothing written there. Compare the original image and the one that I’ve edited below.



Explore Away

The examples that I’ve given here are just a fraction of what Acorn can do. It’s impossible to discuss everything here. So I suggest that you explore the free image editor and use it according to your needs.

Have you used Acorn? Can you recommend other free alternative but powerful image editors?  Please share using the comments below.

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