News and Event Info

Alternatives to Adobe Creative Cloud

January 10, 2014  by: Domenic J. Licata

Edited May 14, 2014

Last November we announced that Visual Studies will not be upgrading from Adobe CS6 to Creative Cloud, and we recommend that students DO NOT buy into the CC subscription model. We will continue to use CS6 as we research suitable alternatives.

We will use this post to compile our research into Mac-based Adobe alternatives. We do not necessarily endorse these products at this point. We will announce our recommendations in the future.

Feel free to leave comments and suggestions.






After Effects


Discussions and Alternatives from other sites


16 thoughts on “Alternatives to Adobe Creative Cloud

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  • Kadeem John says:

    Alternative to Dreamweaver

    Coda 2 (Mac Only)

  • Raul Gonzalez says:

    This form post lists additional alternatives.

    Microsoft no longer supports Expression Web 4.

    Replacements are WebMatrix 3 (free for Windows) and Visual Studio 2013 (Windows only)(Depts can get it and give to students via DreamSpark)

    Paint.NET (Windows only) is a good free alternative to Photoshop, especially with 3rd party plugins.

  • Michael Conroy says:





    Corel Painter (Mac/Windows)


    Corel Draw (Mac/Windows)

  • Eugene Colucci says:

    We too seek alternatives for Adobe products. For now, our most immediate concern is to find alternatives to Dreamweaver.

    ColdFusion Builder – This seems to be Adobe’s successor to Dreamweaver and currently is not part of the Creative Cloud program; it can be purchased as a stand-alone product – .

    CFEclipse ( – Eclipse IDE required) – free

    • atomaweapon says:

      ColdFusion is entirely different from dreamweaver and is not its replacement in any form or fashion

      • Eugene Colucci says:

        Atomaweapon, I wrote that ColdFusion Builder is an alternative to Dreamweaver, not ColdFusion. The two pieces of software are not the same. ColdFusion Builder uses the Eclipse IDE and is a good environment for writing code that includes and is optimized for CFML but is not restricted to it. That means you can construct fully functional Web pages (in Java, JavaScript, CSS, and HTML for example) without using any ColdFusion code.

  • […] Alternatives to Adobe Creative Cloud […]

  • Kyle Howard says:

    Another alternative to Premier Pro:

    Sony Vegas

    I am subscribing to Adobe Creative Cloud, however. There is a Academic rate when you give them your email address of about $22 / month.

  • What about QuarkXPress as a replacement for InDesign?

  • Eugene Colucci says:

    Add the Eclipse IDE as another good alternative to Dreamweaver (notice I wrote Eclipse, not CFEclipse). Eclipse does not permit a “design view” of your code, but it is easy enough to open a Web browser in which to view Web pages.

  • Ed Earle says:

    As another alternative to Photoshop CC, I suggest you consider Thorsten Lemke’s Graphic Converter. It has most of Photoshop’s features and can open and save in more file formats. It is a great small company that has been around for about 20 years.

  • Ian Bailey says:

    Swift Publisher (OS X) is an to alternative to InDesign.

    HitFilm Ultimate is an alternative to After Effects.

    PDFpen (OS X) is an alternative to Acrobat.

  • Lawrence Altomare says:

    If you are on a Mac and are looking for a Dreamweaver replacement, look at Flux

    Very dreamweaver like.

  • David Miller says:

    Like many others, I too am looking for alternatives to Adobe’s offerings. Their decision to go subscription-only is not acceptable. I do not like the idea of having to pay forever and, if I stop payment for some reason or another, I am then left with nothing application-wise (i.e. the software won’t run any longer) and I also have no access to any files I’ve created that are still in Adobe’s proprietary file formats.

    A new development has occurred from an English company called Serif which has the potential of making it a real player in the graphic design industry.

    Serif has decided to develop a professional-level line of applications, and they are aiming that effort directly at the Macintosh platform. They did not want to have any possibility of confusion between their hobbyist-level offering on the Windows platform and their new pro-level offerings on the Mac platform, so they decided to name their new line under the umbrella name of “Affinity”.

    They are intending to release 3 pro-level applications. One will be for vector drawing, one for photo raster editing, and one for page layout. They will be OS X native, and are not ports of their Windows products. The product names will be as follows:

    Affinity Designer — vector drawing program to compete with Adobe Illustrator. Designer is due to be released as a Version 1 product this coming October 2014.

    Affinity Photo — raster editing program to compete with Adobe Photoshop. Photo is due to be released late in 2014.

    Affinity Publisher — page layout program to compete with Adobe InDesign. Publisher is expected to be released sometime in 2015.

    Affinity Designer is now in Beta, and is currently being made available free to anyone who wants to test it out. You can go to their website at to download it.

    Here are two other write-ups about the upcoming Serif releases: 
(this is the article that first clued me in on the existence of this new application development)

    Keep in mind that they are starting from scratch with these programs, so their first offering, Designer, is very much a work in progress….it hasn’t even gotten to Version 1 yet. So, if you do decide to participate in their Beta testing, be aware that the program in its current form is lacking a lot of bells and whistles that might be expected from something like Illustrator. Never fear….these things will come in time I’m sure. You have to start somewhere, and so they are at the beginning of this great adventure.

    I am hopeful that they will be very successful in their efforts. Of all the Adobe products that I was worried about having to replace, Illustrator was the most bothersome. Hopefully Serif will be able to come through with their new Affinity line of products.

    PS: No, I do not work for Serif or have any connection with them other than being someone who hopes that they succeed in helping to break the Adobe hegemony.