Wondering how to use Pixlr to edit photos?
There’s no shortage of photo editing apps.
Pixlr is actually two different photo editing apps that allow you to edit your photos in a professional way.
Let’s look at the difference between the apps, and how the free version can help you make your photos look perfect.
Disclosure: Some links below may be affiliate links, which means I may earn a commission, at no cost to you, if you choose to purchase.
What is Pixlr?
Pixlr has two apps which offer similar features. Each works a little differently, and has different ways to access them.
What is Pixlr X?
Pixlr X is a basic browser-based photo editor that can be used to edit photos and make them more creative. You just need a solid internet connection to get it working.
With it you can:
- Resize or rotate photos as well as flip them.
- Crop photos to cut away unnecessary areas.
- Use quick ‘auto-fix’ options to make simple edits to photos that are underexposed or too bright.
- Preview adding effects to photos before making any changes.
There are also elements such as stickers, shapes, and fonts that can be added to your photos.
What is Pixlr E?
Pixlr E is the more sophisticated option that includes photo editing tools that even a professional photographer could love.
Many bloggers and social media marketers use it to edit and retouch their photos.
It’s more sophisticated than Pixlr X, so it takes a little more learning to master.
- Classic tools like lasso, brush, and clone stamp features.
- Working with Layers in the same way as Photoshop.
- A variety of filters to quickly change the look of a photo.
There’s also a stock image database that you can use to enhance your photos, or to add to graphics you make.
Is Pixlr free?
You can access both versions of the software for free – but there are limits.
With the free versions, there are ads.
You only get basic editing tools, as well as a limited set of overlays and stickers.
There are two upgrade plans, Premium and Creative Pack, that can be paid monthly, or yearly for a discount.
Premium adds extensive editing tools, 3,000 overlays, 5,000 decorative texts and 18,000 assets.
The Creative Plan adds 10 million stock graphics, templates, fonts, photos, and video files.
You can also access Pixlr Premium FREE for 30 days.
Can you download Pixlr?
Both versions of the free software are browser-based, so you need to have an internet connection to access them.
This means there’s no need to download Pixlr, and you can use it from any device that has internet access.
However, if you do want the option to run the software on your computer without the internet, you can do that by downloading it from the main Pixlr website.
Why use Pixlr?
So why would you consider using Pixlr versus Photoshop or myriad other software options out there?
Browser based software
For starters, because it’s browser based, you don’t need to download anything to your computer. You can use it at any device with an internet connection.
Plus, it doesn’t take up a lot of room on your hard drive, which could potentially slow down your computer.
Mobile apps available
As well as the browser version and the ability to use it on your desktop, there’s also a mobile app. It’s available for Apple and Android devices through their app stores.
Use the free versions of the software on it to edit on the go.
Free basic editing
The software offers free basic editing that will often be more than enough for what you need.
The photos you take for social media marketing or your blog usually just need a little editing, cropping, or a filter added. So you don’t need all the sophisticated stuff that a professional photographer or graphic designer would.
Free overlays and stickers
The free versions also include some overlays and stickers that you can add to your photos.
It’s quick and easy to make them ready to use on social media by adding stickers.
Or, you might choose to create a cohesive Instagram feed by using the same filters or overlays on your pictures.
How to edit photos in Pixlr
The best way to see how an app works is to have a go.
So let’s look at a few of the basic features in action.
How to use Pixlr E to edit photos
You can go to Pixlr and open the advanced photo editor. Then upload the photo you wish to edit.
If the image is large, it will suggest pre-sizing it to save on space. Choose the option that suits your purpose best.
Now you can start your edits.
For instance, use the crop tool to remove some of the area of the photo that isn’t needed.
Hit Apply and the unwanted areas will be removed.
You can also hit the Adjustment menu to look at some of the easy-to-use auto-fix features to improve the photo.
Or you can use the manual sliders under each option to make the tweaks you want, such as adding a little brightness and contrast to the flower.
How to use layers in Pixlr
If you have a photo, it probably doesn’t contain any layers when you upload it. But you can use layers in Pixlr to test different effects.
Simply hit the ‘Duplicate’ option on the top menu to create another layer.
You can also use layer types to add specific effects from the Layer menu.
This example uses one of the dust effects to make it look like there are sparkles of rain falling on the flower.
To remove a layer, simply click the three dots at the side of it on the panel, and hit the delete icon at the bottom.
How to use the magic wand in Pixlr to remove background
Neither Pixlr E nor X has an automatic background remover in the way Canva does, so with these, you’ll need to do it manually.
Use the magic wand to highlight the area that you want to keep in the photo. Edit the brush size if you need more control.
Click the tool and click on the area with the color pattern.
You can either delete the area, or change the color. So if you want to change the color of sky for example, you can.
Or you can use the tool to remove the background entirely, and leave the checkered pattern that means it’s transparent.
Can you remove background in Pixlr easily?
Now you can! But it’s a separate tool that’s not inside the photo editing apps.
They’ve added an automatic and free image background removal that works fast.
State of the art AI tools from Pixlr let you remove backgrounds from selfies, product shots, and more without the cumbersome manual work.
You can even remove the bg on several images at the same time. Then fine tune the result with their detailed cutout tools.
To remove a background without the manual work, access Pixlr background remover here.
How to add fonts in Pixlr
To add text to your images, click the ‘T’ icon on the menu and a text box appears.
Then click the Font box from the top menu.
Either select a font that’s available (some are premium use only).
Or you can upload your own with the ‘Add Local Font’ option.
How to create graphics with text overlay in Pixlr E
Yes, you can add text to your photos, but like all apps, Pixlr has its own specific workflow.
Learn how it works right here!
Step 1: Open Your Background Image
To create a graphic in Pixlr, you’ll start with your own photo, or make a background.
Go to Pixlr.com on your browser. This tutorial is based on using Pixlr E and making a design from scratch (that is, without a template).
Click the Open Image button to browse your files and open the image you want from your hard drive.
Alternately, you can click the Images tab on the left to search for a free image, OR open one of your previous projects below.
Step 2: Crop and Size Your Image
Use the Crop tool to get the shape and cropping you want. Hit your Return key.
Then go to Image > Image Size in the top menu, and set your size.
You’ll find sizes for social media graphics in my Social Media Cheat Sheet. This link will open in a new window so you can pin the cheat sheet for future reference!
Pixlr gives you tons of Filter and Layer effects to edit your photo, which we’ve discussed above.
Step 3: Add, Style, and Color Your Text
Click the Text tool (large T icon) in the Tools palette at left. Then click the Add Text button at the top.
Now type your words into the text box that appears on your image.
The menu bar across the top of your image allows you to select the Font, Fill (color), Size, Alignment, and Style (like bold or italic).
Clicking in the Fill box will pop up the Color Selector.
There are many options to color your text! You can use the tint/shade bar, the slider, or type in your brand’s RGB values or hex code if you know it.
No brand colors yet? Learn how to choose business colors.
(Note: Pixlr’s pop-up boxes can be moved around wherever you like).
Step 4: Add More Text Boxes (Layers)
Deselect the text box you’ve been working on.
Click Add Text again to add new boxes for each font change. You can’t have multiple styles in one text box. Each font face, size, or color requires another text box.
Hover and drag a text box if you need to move it around. You’ll be moving the last one you made, unless you pick a different one in the Layers palette at right.
Each text box is on a separate Layer – just as in Photoshop. This might take some getting used to.
Step 5: Save Your Graphic
When you’re done, I suggest you save a .PXZ layered Pixlr file that you can edit later.
Also save a .JPEG if a small file size is needed, and a .PNG for best quality, especially with type and on Facebook.
.WEBP is perfect for website applications.
If you need some guidance, learn more about image file types.
Can Pixlr replace Photoshop?
Photoshop tends to dominate the photo editing world, alongside Adobe’s other software such as Lightroom.
But could Pixlr X or even Pixlr E replace Photoshop?
Pixlr does have a well-organized and easy-to-use app that’s also optimized for mobile devices.
There’s a good balance between the one-click easy features in the X version and the more complex tools in the E version. Plus, there’s more available in the upgraded versions.
It uses layers and masks as well as hotkeys, which are all big Photoshop features.
Perhaps the biggest downside with Pixlr versus Photoshop is that you can only work in basic file formats. This is less of an issue for a casual photographer, but anyone with a good digital camera knows editing in RAW format is best.
The other big criticism is that Pixlr doesn’t have the drag and drop features that Photoshop does.
But for many situations, Pixlr is a more than suitable replacement for Photoshop.
Plus, it’s free, and doesn’t take up a ton of hard drive space!
And the Premium version includes even more features. Try Pixlr Premium for 30 days FREE.
Great free photo editor
Pixlr has great selection tools, an easy-to-use design tool, and the kind of photo editing tools that that will work for most users.
You can use layers to avoid altering the original image, and build quite complex images with the built-in features.
Or you can just make a few simple edits and add some text!
And that’s the power of knowing how to use Pixlr.