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A Free Online Photo Editor | PicMonkey

Should I download software or use an online program?

It is a tough economy. I cannot afford Photoshop, nor would I know how to use it once I got it. For most of us, we just want a simple photo editing software that can crop, resize, and add some effects to our pictures.

Using an online photo editor is the way to go because you do not have to download any software! Wherever you are online, you can easily upload photos, edit them, and use them on your blogs and articles.

If you think your photos are fine just the way they are, think again. Engaging and dramatic photos drive traffic to your articles faster than almost any other medium. If the idea of learning a photo editor makes your cringe, keep reading. This article will take you through the basics of the easiest online photo editor there is- PicMonkey.



Whoever designed this website was a genius. The best part? You do not even need to register! Just go to the website and begin. It is free as well.

Open another Internet window with this article. Keep both open and follow along with the tutorial. By the end, you will have a basic understanding of how to work PicMonkey. First things first. Copy and paste this link into a new window:


Find a photo

On the front page of PicMonkey, there are three square buttons on the left side. We are going to use the second button which says, "edit a photo". This means you need a photo first. If you have one in your arsenal, great. If you do not, go to Microsoft Images or Wikimedia Commons and download a photo that you have legal rights to use. Once you are ready with your picture, click on the button, and find the photo file on your hard drive. This is what your screen should look like when you have uploaded your photo.


Let's go through all the tools on the lefthand side

As you can see, your photo is in the center and your menu bar on the left side contains all your tools. Let's go one by one through each tool. Do you see the symbols that are in gray? Those open up a different menu when you click on them. Here's what they stand for:

A zoomed-in photo of the little menu bar.

A zoomed-in photo of the little menu bar.

1. This is your basic edit tool. It will allow you to crop the photo, resize it, spin it around, and adjust the brightness and the colors.

2. The next tool is your effects tool. This allows you to change the photo to black and white, vintage, and a host of other variations. You can add frosty edges or blur the image to make it look ethereal.

3. The next tool is your touch up tool. If you have photos that include people, you can fix eyes, lips, mouths, and other blemishes.

4. This tool is for adding text. You can choose from a host of fonts, colors, and sizes to add quirky captions or phrases.

5. This tool is for overlays. In simpler terms, it gives you the option to add shapes, arrows, flowers, and other funny objects to dress up your photos.

6. Next, you have your frames tool. This will add a border or matte around your photo. You can round the edges or add a drop shadow too.

7. The last tool is called the texture tool. This will alter your photo to look like a cartoon, a drawing, a painting, and other artistic variations.

Now we can start playing around with the individual tools. You have your picture up on the screen. Let's do some basic editing first.

Basic Edits

1. Click on the basic edits button. You will see a menu.
2. Click on crop. A toolbar will open up. Here is where you have some options. If you want to make the photo a certain size, you can adjust the proportions in the box. However, most of us like to "eye" it.
3. Notice the grid on the photo? All you have to do is click and drag the edges around until it looks good to you. Hit apply on the toolbar and your crop is done.


Play around

Once you learn how one tool works, they all start to make sense. Most have a menu bar that opens up, giving you various options. You can apply the changes or discard if you decide you do not like them. Once you are comfortable with the basic edits, let's move on.

Examples of Effects

Different effects give the photo a different feel. You can go back in time, to a mystical land, or even high-definition detail.

Different effects give the photo a different feel. You can go back in time, to a mystical land, or even high-definition detail.

Touch ups

You want to be careful with this tool. As much as we all love to look perfect, it just isn't reality. Often times, an attempt at touching up doesn't go well. I took a headshot of me and touched it up using the eye color changer, hair highlighter, lip touch up, spray tan, and weight loss. Scary huh?


Adding text

Adding text to a picture can really add style. If you are trying to highlight a point, choose text that doesn't detract from the photo. Here is an article about the importance of using text to create an image that is ready for Pinterest.

A couple of things to keep in mind when adding text:

  1. You have to add the spaces and alignment in the text box in order to see the changes on the photo.
  2. Choose a color that makes the text easy to see. No crazy color combinations!
  3. Adjust the size manually (by clicking and dragging) or by using the sliding bar on the text toolbar.
  4. If you want to turn the text on its side, just hover over the little circular object that extends from the photo. It will turn all the way upside down!
  5. If you want multiple text boxes, just make sure you click away from one before adding another.
  6. If you want to copy and paste text that is identical, right click on the text and choose 'duplicate overlay'.
  7. Do you want your text in front of an object? Right click and choose send to front or send backward.

Object Overlays

These fun objects can look silly or professional. Here are two examples:

In this picture, I added a winking smile face, plus a flower. I then added the text, making sure it was in front of the flower.

In this picture, I added a winking smile face, plus a flower. I then added the text, making sure it was in front of the flower.

This post it is on the header of my personal blog at http://jdeneen.com

This post it is on the header of my personal blog at http://jdeneen.com

How to make a post it

1. First, choose the "paper scraps" option in the overlays menu.
2. Adjust the colors and angle.
3. Create a text and put it over the paper scrap. Make sure you have the "send forward" option on.
4. Add a pin in the overlays menu. Adjust the color and size to match your post it and make sure the "send forward" option is on.
5. Voila!


These tools make your photo look more professional. By adding a matte background, border, rounded edges, torn edges, or drop shadow, you can make the photo look like it is popping off the page.


I do not use this very often, but if you are wanting to make a photo look artsy, go ahead and try out a few options. Remember, you always have the option to discard the changes that you do not like.

How do you make collages?

As you can see from this tutorial, PicMonkey also gives you the option to make a collage. Once you have individually edited your photos and saved them, start back at the home screen of PicMonkey and choose, 'Create a Collage'.

You will then have to upload all the photos you want to use. Arrange them in virtually any order and style, and then save it. In order to add further effects and text, you will then have to upload the collage file in the traditional format (like we just did) and you continue adding effects.

I hope you enjoyed this introduction to PicMonkey! If you need a tutorial on how to create video montages, check out my hub called One True Media- A Free Site for Video Montages.

-Julie DeNeen


SP on January 14, 2014:

who want,s to make ur picx perfect then use this web sites

wamique prince on February 27, 2013:

nice photo shop :)

Melanie Chisnall from Cape Town, South Africa on February 02, 2013:

As you might know from the mail I just sent you, I am now spending most of my Saturday night on this thing! Wow...what a cool program. And here I thought I was being clever using free Paint.NET. Thank you so much! I can't wait to change my blogs and fanpages!! Awesome article!

psychicdog.net on January 20, 2013:

thanks Julie - this was interesting for me as I build websites but have only used Paint.NET which is excellent and free but which probably cannot produce pictures of the quality of PHOTOSHOP - that's the thing with a lot of free editors I believe (I could be wrong though and things are being updated continually). For example, if you want to produce some art for a client's biz cards you really need images that are extremely good quality otherwise they can look rather drab and tired. Thanks for the info - I will check it out.

Sophie Newsome from New York on January 14, 2013:

I've never heard of this before. Good to know! Thanks.

Md Ruhul Amin on December 21, 2012:

i love picmonkey

Triutari on November 18, 2012:

if in online , why can't on?

Melissa Propp from Minnesota on October 23, 2012:

Great hub Julie! Another hub suggested pic monkey for editing and I was able to try it out, but this is a very helpful tutorial. I'm flagging this for future reference. Thanks!

belinda andersen on October 10, 2012:

im using this site before it become pic monkey, its easy to use it but now the save botton is gone! Can't pic monkey site fix it !

Phil Plasma from Montreal, Quebec on September 05, 2012:

Great tip, I'll be sure to use PicMonkey the next time I get an image ready for a hub. Thanks for sharing, voted up and useful.

Jessee R from Gurgaon, India on August 29, 2012:

now that is a pretty handy tool ...

very useful hub

Sharon Smith from Northeast Ohio USA on August 22, 2012:

Thanks Julie! I have needed a new photo editing program since Picnik closed its doors back in April. I REALLY appreciate this info. Bookmarked!

Stephen Govoni from Coastal Massachusetts on August 18, 2012:

Good hub! Picmonkey is a great free resource for photo editing, been using it for quite some time! Nice to see such a thorough article on it.

Mary Hyatt from Florida on August 16, 2012:

Thanks, Julie. I'll give it another try!

Blurter of Indiscretions (author) from Clinton CT on August 15, 2012:

I use a geometric rectangle and turn it into a thin line. I line up the flowers along the line and then delete the rectangle. Voila!

Mary Hyatt from Florida on August 15, 2012:

Well, Julie, I came back and reread this Hub. I played around with PicMonkey for about an hour. I still don't understand how you do the little flowers and get them all the same distance apart. I could get the flower and others, but I can't figure out how to get them lined up evenly in a row. Does that question make any sense??? Thanks a bunch, Mary

Mandar Karandikar from Ratlam, India on August 13, 2012:

Julie DeNeen,

Great to read about what you can do to pics online. I recently read a hub of Shauna (Movie Master) about photoshop, and I wondered what all we could do. https://hubpages.com/art/How-To-Create-Your-World-... But doing something of the sort online, is great. Thanks a lot!

:) Mandar

Anil from Kerala on August 04, 2012:

It is very useful hub, thank you for sharing.

Anil from Kerala on August 04, 2012:

Hi dear , it is very useful hub thank you for haring your best knowledge

Madeleine Salin from Finland on August 04, 2012:

I think I'm going to spend the rest of the day on PicMonkey. I didn't finish reading this hub before I started to play with my photos. Really good and informative hub. Thank you so much for sharing this information. Your hubs are awesome!

Nathan Bernardo from California, United States of America on August 03, 2012:

This is really good and useful information, I've been looking for something like this. How awesome is this, that you can edit photos free on this site and you don't have to have photoshop. Loving it!

Mazlan from Malaysia on August 03, 2012:

This sounds similar to BeFunky and Pixl-O-matic, which I currently uses and write on HubPages about it. . Will look at PicMonkey soon. Thanks for sharing.

Venugopaal from India on August 03, 2012:

It is a great article about photo editing online. Thanks

mmsu from Pakistan on August 03, 2012:

good hub!!

Blurter of Indiscretions (author) from Clinton CT on August 03, 2012:

@docmo- feel free to take my ideas and run with them!! LOL :) Thanks for stopping by!

Mohan Kumar from UK on August 03, 2012:

Only yesterday I visited your blog and thought what a great cover picture with the tagline it was. Today I saw this hub and wanted to use a pic editing tool as I haven't got one on my laptop... realised you did your pic with pic-monkey. what a splendid, extremely useful, simple to follow hub this is, Julie. brilliant. voted up and shared.

Kelly Umphenour from St. Louis, MO on August 03, 2012:

Very cool! I missed this one and am so glad Jeannie shared it!

I am not very tech savvy - I would like to try it out though and wouldn't have wanted to pay for a service just to see if I could figure it out. I did learn a lot here - thank you!

Jeannie Marie from Baltimore, MD on August 03, 2012:

Wow, thanks so much for sharing this information. I really need to touch up some of my photos and this site sounds great. Thanks a lot! Voted up and shared!

Blurter of Indiscretions (author) from Clinton CT on August 03, 2012:

@Christy- your welcome, and thank you for sharing!

Christy Birmingham from British Columbia, Canada on August 03, 2012:

Julie! I had not heard of this one before. Thanks hon! Love free stuff and this is a great one. I vote up, awesome, interesting, and sharing here and on Twitter too.

MazioCreate from Brisbane Queensland Australia on August 02, 2012:

Great hub Julie and your step by step procedure was spot-on. Voted up and shared.

Robin Grosswirth from New York on August 02, 2012:

Julie, loved that you mastered something and wanted to pass it on to the community. You really were thorough and like the many who commented, I appreciate the fact that you wrote this well documented and informative hub.

Jools Hogg from North-East UK on August 02, 2012:

Julie, great hub. I will go onto Pic Monkey and have a play with it today- I use GIMP but it is not very intuitive so lately I have been using Picasa. Pic Monkey looks more like Picasa so should suit me. Many thanks.

Kathy from The beautiful Napa Valley, California on August 01, 2012:

WOW! Great information! And, yes, I learned something new. thank you!! UP Useful Interesting.

Angela Kane from Las Vegas, Nevada on August 01, 2012:

Thanks for letting me know about this site. I edit photos every week and this will make it a lot easier.

Blurter of Indiscretions (author) from Clinton CT on August 01, 2012:

@iamaudraleigh- thank you so much!

iamaudraleigh on August 01, 2012:

What a great tutoral! I have been dying to find a free software for my pc. I hardly use my tower on my computer where I have my microsoft pro-10 software for photo editing. Adobe light room does not allow me to manipulate pictures to allow me to add text. This software would allow me to a lot! I will save your hub as reference! Great job putting this together! I especially liked the quote from your blog!

klanguedoc on August 01, 2012:

What a great hub on a great tool. Thanks a lot. This will come in handy.

Blurter of Indiscretions (author) from Clinton CT on August 01, 2012:

@anamika- Glad to help!

Anamika S Jain from Mumbai - Maharashtra, India on August 01, 2012:

I never knew of the PicMonkey site. I have been looking for something like this for long. Thanks for sharing the information. Hub voted up!

Grace Whites from Manalapan, New Jersey, USA on August 01, 2012:

Wow, you are amazing in editing photos. All of the edited photos are looked good compared to the original one. Thanks for sharing.

Blurter of Indiscretions (author) from Clinton CT on July 31, 2012:

@penlady- thank you!

penlady from Sacramento, CA on July 31, 2012:

This hub is excellent for anyone dealing with photo editing. You make it sound so easy, and that’s a plus. Voted up and interesting.

Venugopaal from India on July 30, 2012:

Thanks... I was just looking for one like this.

Blurter of Indiscretions (author) from Clinton CT on July 30, 2012:

@mama- oh good! :)

Sasha Kim on July 30, 2012:

Thanks Julie! This is just what I needed ^_^

Blurter of Indiscretions (author) from Clinton CT on July 30, 2012:

@josh- yeah I have to stop though :( but it's okay, I've done a lot in the last couple of days!

Joshua Zerbini from Pennsylvania on July 30, 2012:


You are rocking with these Hub Tutorial! I am learning a lot from them! Thanks so much Julie, keep up the great work!

Blurter of Indiscretions (author) from Clinton CT on July 30, 2012:

@Ddraigcoch- glad you liked it!

Emma from UK on July 30, 2012:

I used this because of your hub and I LOVE it, thank you so much Julie.

Blurter of Indiscretions (author) from Clinton CT on July 30, 2012:

@keeley- glad to help a fellow CT resident! :)

Keeley Shea from Norwich, CT on July 30, 2012:

I had no idea about this website! Great tutorial too! Thank you for writing such an informative article. Voted up and useful.

Blurter of Indiscretions (author) from Clinton CT on July 30, 2012:

@Liz- I am so glad it was helpful for you. Can't wait to see your pretty photos!

Liz Walmoth on July 30, 2012:

I feel like you are writing your hubs just for me. I did your tutorial and am so amazed. Thank you Julie!

Blurter of Indiscretions (author) from Clinton CT on July 30, 2012:

@tilsontitan- thank you so much :)

Mary Craig from New York on July 30, 2012:

Since I retired I don't keep up with technology as much as I used to. Picasa was the big, free program everyone was using three years ago. I do have Adobe but don't know all the tricks. This is a great hub with clear, understandable directions. You've done a great service to all photographers and hubbers with this one!

Voted up, useful, awesome, and interesting.

Blurter of Indiscretions (author) from Clinton CT on July 30, 2012:

@ignugent- your welcome. I figure the more we all know, the better the articles get, the more we earn reputation with google!

Blurter of Indiscretions (author) from Clinton CT on July 30, 2012:

@crack- LOL...yes picmonkey is good for all sorts of stuff!

Blurter of Indiscretions (author) from Clinton CT on July 30, 2012:

@jade- Oh I didn't know that. Thanks for stopping by!

Blurter of Indiscretions (author) from Clinton CT on July 30, 2012:

@jainismus- thanks for sharing!

ignugent17 on July 30, 2012:

This is what I like in hubpages the members are very generous of the new things they discover and it is free. I will try to use it. Thank you very much Julie DeNeen for sharing.

Blurter of Indiscretions (author) from Clinton CT on July 30, 2012:

@mary- I use picasa too but I love PicMonkey's artsy stuff.

Cracknutcase from India,bangalore on July 30, 2012:

Informative hub.. U can do so much more with picmonkey (I usually use it to cover up that big fat pimple that emerges on a family photo day,lolz)

Voted up and useful

Jade0215 on July 30, 2012:

I love picmonkey. I used to use picnik but that site was shut down earlier this year. Pickmonkey was created by two former Picnik engineers so it's basically the same format, just a few added features!

Mahaveer Sanglikar from Pune, India on July 30, 2012:

Great information, thank you for sharing. Voted up and shared with followers.

Mary Hyatt from Florida on July 30, 2012:

Sure glad you gave us the link to Picmonkey. I use Picassa and I need something better.

I bookmarked this Hub. Voted it UP etc.etc. and shared.

Blurter of Indiscretions (author) from Clinton CT on July 30, 2012:

@howlermunkey- glad it gave you some helpful tips!

Jeff Boettner from Tampa, FL on July 30, 2012:

Great Tool! Love the name, somehow it fits. Will be using it, great examples as well.

Blurter of Indiscretions (author) from Clinton CT on July 30, 2012:

@Ttombs08- thanks! Glad to help :)

Terrye Toombs from Somewhere between Heaven and Hell without a road map. on July 30, 2012:

Wonderful information, Julie! Thank you for sharing this information. It will definitely come in handy with making hubs! VUM.

Susan Zutautas from Ontario, Canada on July 30, 2012:

Great tutorial on how to use picmonkey. Thanks for sharing your find with us. I'll have to go and check it out.

Blurter of Indiscretions (author) from Clinton CT on July 30, 2012:

@internpete- glad it was helpful for you. Thank you for sharing!

Peter V from At the Beach in Florida on July 30, 2012:

Great hub. I actually just found picmonkey a few weeks ago, but I did not know all the things it could do and have not used it much. This was very helpful info and the photos showing different effects were very helpful. Voted up and shared!

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