Adobe Alternatives

Hello, As an occasional user of Adobe Creative Suite 3 applications we could not, and still cannot, justify the cost of the monthly subscription to upgrade to Adobe Creative Cloud. Consequently, a couple of years ago we moved our occasional web design tasks from Dreamweaver to Rapidweaver and have had no regrets.

With the purchase of a new MAC running Big Sur we cannot install the CS3 suite (unless we run an old 32-bit MacOS virtual machine) and are now looking for replacements for other CS3 applications: Fireworks (for light picture editing/picture file format changes), Illustrator (graphic layout for third-party printing) and Acrobat Pro (for PDF file security and file size reduction).

I am reading good things about Affinity Designer and Affinity Photo - any other suggestions?


I have Affinity Designer, Photo and Publisher. I use Designer all the time but I only scratch the surface of what is possible with the app.

I used to have the cheapest Adobe subscription, but they just kept putting the price up and changing the package that was included. I’m just a hobby user, so I couldn’t justify the subscription.

When I struggle with Affinity Designer, I just Google and usually there is a video demo out there to help me.

  • 1 for the Affinity stuff. Excellent.

I give a thumbs up to the Affinity suite. One great thing about using it is the ability to move between profiles when working with it - I.e - if working in app, having the ability to edit a photo within the app itself.

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The Affinity suite is good and so is Pixelmator, I like Pixelmator a little better probably because I have been using it longer and also because it has the built in vector mode so I don’t have to switch programs. I also think that Pixelmator is a little more ingrained into the Mac OS.

As far as PDF’s you can’t go wrong with PDFPen Pro. I like that much more than anything that Adobe has ever offered.

In any case Pixelmator has a free trial and lots of tutorials to show you how to achieve certain results. Pixelmator Pro

PDFPen also has a free trial. There is a regular version and the Pro version. I have never used the regular version but anything to do with PDF’s it can handle.


Worked the same for me and I love RW!
And yes, I am also a former user of Fireworks, AI and Dreamweaver.
Affinity Design is a marvellous alternative for both FW and AI; much cheaper but equally useful. If you get the whole suite (Affinity Design, Photo and Publisher) you can quit Adobe.

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Without doubt Serif Affinity products (as mentioned). 50% off right now, a no-brainer.

Also, I use PDF Squeezer to reduce file size:

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Affinity Photo, Affinity Designer and Affinity Publisher won the vote and have been purchased (through Apple Store).

Not used them in anger yet, but they seem to be able to open all old files that were created/edited with Adobe Illustrator/Fireworks/Photoshop/InDesign and seem intuitive. And the cost for all three Affinity packages was less than two month’s subscription to Adobe Cloud Suite.

Still looking for an alternative PDF editor though.


The Affinity software is great, but I still miss Fireworks. Logoist 4 is pretty intuitive and similar to FW but Mac OS only. Inkscape is a great free alternative and works in most operating systems…

I use Pixelmator everything suits me


If you wish to have free product try Inkscape and Gimp
They are both open source one is vector and other raster editor

I have the Adobe CS5 suite on my 13 year old iMac, but I bought a new one last year and needed new software. I already had Pixelmator, but I added Pixelmator Pro and Affinity Photo.

I used to use Dreamweaver and RapidWeaver to code my pages. I started using Brackets to replace the code editor feature in Dreamweaver. I’ve read that Brackets will no longer be supported later this year. I wish that RapidWeaver had a more advanced code editor for when people want to fine tune their HTML.

You will not find better than Affinity Designer, Photo & Publisher. Their price is cheap. Originally, they were Serif - just for Windows.

Someone came up with the idea of challenging Adobe, so they first designed for Mac & then Windows. No subscriptions. You pay once for a version #number & then upgrade if you choose.