A list of free, low-cost, and/or otherwise useful software for students.

Content Creation

Graphic Design & Publishing

  • Affinity Designer ($25*) – A superior Adobe Illustrator alternative for Windows, macOS, and iPadOS.
  • Affinity Photo ($25*) – A superior Adobe Photoshop alternative for Windows, macOS, and iPadOS.
  • Affinity Publisher ($25*) – A superior Adobe InDesign alternative for Windows, macOS, and iPadOS.
  • GIMP (Free) – Another Photoshop clone for Windows, macOS, and Linux.
  • PIXLR X (Free) – A minimalist Photoshop clone that runs in your browser.
  • (Free) – A website that removes backgrounds from images you upload.
  • (Free) – A website gallery that provides licensed images at no charge.

Video, Animation, and Screenwriting

  • DaVinci Resolve (Free) – A powerful video editor used in major Hollywood films.
  • Adobe Premiere Rush (Free) – A mobile video editor.
  • Lightworks
  • Shotcut
  • OpenShot (Free) – Open source video editor.
  • Handbrake – Open source video transcoder. Convert formats easily.
  • Blender (Free) – A professional industry-grade 3D animation editor and alternative to 3DS Max.
  • Trelby (Free) – An open source screenwriting app for Windows and Linux.
  • Highland 2 (Free/$50) – A powerful screenwriting app for macOS.

Audio Production

  • Audacity (Free) – An open source audio editor similar to Adobe Audition. Recording does not currently function in macOS Catalina.
  • CleanFeed (Free**) – An alternative to Source-Connect. Host and record live multi-party HD audio in your browser with unlimited guests and no time limit.
  • OcenAudio (Free) – A underrated multi-platform audio editor nearly as good as Audacity and much better looking.
  • WavePad
  • Ardour (Free) – A multi-platform open source digital audio workstation for Windows, macOS, and Linux.
  • Piezo ($19) – Simple audio recording on macOS.
  • Fission ($29) – Fast and lossless audio editing on macOS.
  • Wavosaur
  • AudioDope
  • Reaper (Free*/$60) – A multitrack digital audio workstation for Windows and macOS.


  • Ferdi (Free) – An indispensable open source fork of Franz (not free), Ferdi let’s you manage all your email, chat, and messaging web apps in one unified work browser. It will change your life.
  • Station (Free) – Another work browser for social media, messaging, and web apps with support for 670+ services but no dark mode or theming options.
  • LibreOffice (Free) – An open source MS Office clone for Windows, macOS, and Linux.
  • Vivaldi (Free) – A highly customizable version of the Chrome browser with additional features made by the former creators of the Opera Browser.
  • LastPass (Free) – A password manager requiring you to only know one extremely good password for all your other passwords. “One Ring To Rule Them All”.
  • Advanced SystemCare (Free/Paid) – Cleans and maintains your PC.
  • MacBooster
  • MalwareBytes (Free) – Prevent and remove malware and viruses instead of using the Norton/McAfee bloatware that came with your PC.
  • (Free) – An online password tester that can tell you how quickly your terrible passwords can be cracked.
  • (Free) – Find out how many data breaches no one bothered informing you about that have compromised your logins.


  • 7-Zip (Free) – A file compressor/archiver.
  • Ninite (Free) – A software installer/updater.
  • (Free) – A fast DNS resolver that encrypts more of your internet traffic to keep out snooping ISP’s looking to sell your data.

* Temporary Pandemic Price (Get it while it’s hot).
** A paid subscription offers multi-track recording and higher bitrates.