Edit Photos Just Like In Photoshop: You CAN Do That On A Chromebook!

Dan Price 16-12-2014

Chromebooks are fantastic machines. As the quality of the apps in the Chrome Web Store improves they’re becoming increasingly capable of doing everything that your primary PC or Mac can do, but for a fraction of the cost. Their security, ease of use, and portability is rapidly making them a popular choice for schools, businesses, and university students – all of whom are taking note of their advantages.


In the previous piece in this series we looked at how, contrary to some people’s opinions, Chromebooks can play Google Play movies Watching Offline Movies From Google Play? You CAN Do That On A Chromebook! Today we take a look at one area where a lot of people still harbour many misconceptions about Chromebooks - offline movie playback. Read More and television shows when offline. The latest installment in our mini-series looks at the wide choice of high quality photo editors that are available to all Chrome users.

Sumo Paint

Sumo Paint is one of the most full-featured painting and image editing applications available to Chromebook users. It boasts an impressive repertoire of 570,000 registered members and over 2,000,000 images, meaning you’ll benefit from an exciting community which aims to “create, share, remix, explore, comment, and rate the artwork of its members“.

Sumo Paint is probably as close to Photoshop as you’ll be able to get on your Chromebook Sumo Paint Is As Close As You Can Get To Photoshop In Your Browser [Chrome] Photoshop is one insanely powerful program. It has so many features that it is honestly hard to wrap your head around it. Unfortunately, it also comes with a price tag and learning curve that reflect... Read More . It uses a menu bar that is similar to Photoshop’s, and offers typical editing features such as blur, smudge, gradient fill, line tools, clone and custom shapes. It comes with all the layering tools you need to create professional images, and has an array of cool filters.

If you’ve always found Photoshop a bit confusing, Sumo Paint once again proves to be a good choice. It offers an extensive community-curated help file, which provides in-depth information on what the tools are and how they work, and even includes simple graphics to illustrate points.

The only drawback? You’ll need to upgrade to the pro version to be able to work offline.


Pixlr Touch Up

Where Sumo Paint fails, Pixlr Touch Up succeeds – namely, it works offline.

This isn’t the full-featured, Photoshop-esque program that Sumo Paint is, but if you want to do some basic photo editing, it’s much better than the minimalist default editor that comes preinstalled on Chromebooks.


It underwent a major overhaul in early 2014, adding over 100 new features and effects 15 Free Alternatives to Adobe Lightroom, Illustrator, and Photoshop Would you like to get Adobe Photoshop, Lightroom, or Illustrator for free? Here are some of the best Creative Cloud alternatives. Read More , including much-requested tools such as sharpen and blur. These were added to existing editing tools such as resizing, adding effects, enhancing colour, adjusting brightness and contrast, and altering focus – thus making one of the most powerful offline editors for Chromebooks.



While Pixlr Touch Up and Sumo Paint are both for more seriously-minded people, PicMonkey takes a more light-hearted approach to photo editing.


There are three main functions to the program – edit, design, and collage. Editing will let you crop, resize, add text, and alter colours, as well as things like removing red-eye and whitening teeth. Design lets you start with a blank canvas and create a picture from scratch, while collage gives you the ability to stitch several photos together to make a single larger photo.

The collage feature is the most fun, and is extremely easy to use. There are lots of pre-made templates, meaning you don’t have to worry about spacing, and it works by using a simple drag-and-drop operation.


Its biggest let-down is its text options. It has no option for a stroke or any kind of gradient. It means if you want to create a drop shadow you’ll have to create a duplicate layer and offset it – it’s nowhere near as polished as Photoshop.

Pixlr Editor

Pixlr Editor is Sumo Paint’s biggest rival and is the only other app that comes close to replicating a true Photoshop experience on a Chromebook. Like Sumo Paint, it cannot be used offline, but its vast range of features mean either this or its rival should constitute a ‘must-have’ in your app tray.


All the basic functions for control of colour, tonality, sharpening and resizing are provided, plus a set of useful filters. Like Photoshop, you can also merge layers, add masks or tweak opacity and amount. Although photos are edited using an online program, finished products can be saved locally for easy distribution.


Its biggest criticism has always been its treatment of RAW files – they must first be opened in a stand-alone converter and the converted file then imported into Pixlr. Other supported formats include JPEG, GIF, PSD, PNG and BMP.

As of summer 2014 Pixlr has had a desktop version available Pixlr For Desktop Is A Powerful & Free Creative Editor For Your Photos Pixlr arrives on the desktop for both Windows & Mac. It has enough features in its kitty to whet the needs of the casual user who wants to get creative with photos. Read More for Windows and Mac – so you can use the same program across all your machines to simplify your experience.

Polarr Photo Editor

Polarr Photo Editor is probably the most complete offline photo editor available, possessing more options than the aforementioned Pixlr Touch Up.


Like the other professional-looking programs listed here, the app is feature-rich. It includes adjustments for colour temperature, exposure, contrast, highlights and shadows, clarity, and HSL channels, as well as the possibility to add watermarks and signatures.

The developers have also promised that RAW support will be available in the next version which gives a big advantage over Pixlr, especially when considered alongside its ability to read JPEG files up to 30 megapixels.

What Do You Use?

Which photo editors do you use on your Chromebook? Are you an advocate of one of our selections, or do they fail to meet your needs?

What about other things that you can do on a Chromebook? Do you always find yourself correcting people who mistakenly believe a certain task is not possible to undertake on Google’s devices?

Let us know in the comments below!

Related topics: Adobe Photoshop, Browser Extensions, Chromebook, Google Chrome.

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  1. leisa Holmes
    October 17, 2016 at 11:22 am

    Our studetns use a PC and Microsoft Word photo editing to adjust portraits using the "cut out" feature- similiar to photoshop. Is there a feature like this available using our school chrome books?

  2. Penny Murphy
    October 2, 2016 at 3:32 pm

    What photoshop program would I use to fix double chins and facial flaws. Thanks

  3. AGM
    December 13, 2015 at 8:42 pm

    I use Mac and PC and bought an Asus refurb Chromebook for $139 delivered. The Mac is great, but the Chromebook is light and does all common apps for short trips. Will check out these photo editors too.

  4. Kris
    April 22, 2015 at 2:58 pm

    I use Polarr. But not one app supports RAW, keeps all exif data the same, and keeps the resolution the same.

  5. Dan Price
    March 12, 2015 at 6:45 pm

    Indeed they do!!

  6. dan
    March 12, 2015 at 6:34 pm

    Do these work on Windows as well?

  7. no name
    December 20, 2014 at 7:28 am

    google gave me a chromebook for free.. i like it.. it definitly beats apple. true, there is alot its not able to do, but i have found an alternativr to all of them. mostly i use pixler & ipiccy for photo editing, so far they are the best sites I found..

    • Daniel Price
      February 10, 2015 at 6:15 pm

      You were lucky getting one for free! How do you find it for non-editing tasks?


    • Roopesh sinha
      February 23, 2015 at 12:09 pm

      I vant my fesbook a/c

  8. Randy Blake
    December 19, 2014 at 3:48 am

    I use all of them, depending on what I need to do. I didn't know about Sumo, but will try it now that I know. I'm still using a CR-48 that Google was kind enough to send me, and ya it still works great.

    @Appleguy: The only thing sad is people like you who feel it necessary to make inane comments !!!

    • Daniel Price
      February 10, 2015 at 6:15 pm

      Let me know how you find Sumo!


  9. Chris Skrzypchak
    December 17, 2014 at 7:49 am

    Are you aware that Adobe is in the process of releasing a full desktop version of Photoshop for the Chromebook? Google and Adobe made an announcement about a month ago. I love Pixlr and use it now, but once Photoshop is released, all other photo editors will take a backseat in my book.

    • np
      December 19, 2014 at 7:57 am

      That announcement was misleading. They are not porting the Adobe suite to Chrome. It turned out to be REMOTE access (ala VNC) to Adobe's Creative Cloud compute servers, but sync'd to Google services where you can save to Google cloud storage. Given that it's essentially a remote desktop app, you need a good low latency connection. I suppose it makes sense in some cases like schools....

    • Daniel Price
      February 10, 2015 at 6:14 pm

      No problem!


    • Daniel Price
      February 10, 2015 at 6:14 pm

      No I didn't know that. Interesting though, regardless of whether it's native or remote.


  10. connecticut472
    December 17, 2014 at 6:04 am

    Great News!
    I think All are very nice photo editor ...I am using PicMonkey for editing ...Thanks for sharing useful info....

  11. Appleguy
    December 17, 2014 at 1:31 am

    People still buy these useless devices? Sad...

    • IIdIot
      December 30, 2014 at 5:43 am

      What U would expect from Isheep...Sad

    • Daniel Price
      February 10, 2015 at 6:12 pm

      More people are buying them than ever.


  12. NielsBored
    December 16, 2014 at 11:53 pm

    Am I correct in assuming that Google gets a copy of everything you edit on a Chromebook -- like Android? The built-in editing capabilities of Android are unavailable offline - which is just awesome.....

    • Daniel Price
      February 10, 2015 at 6:12 pm

      No, as far as I know that is not the case.


  13. Elizabeth
    December 16, 2014 at 3:31 pm

    Thanks for the post with such a great list of options for Chromebook photo editors. My favorite is Pixlr Editor because of the layers and controls within the layer. But I also like using PicMonkey for its design elements...fonts and easy special effects.

    • Daniel Price
      February 10, 2015 at 6:12 pm

      No problem, glad you found it useful.