Pixlr Editor review

The closest thing to Photoshop in your browser

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Our Verdict

Pixlr Editor is more advanced than many desktop photo apps, and the fact that it runs in your browser means it wins in the convenience stakes too.


  • Supports layers and masks
  • Customizable interface
  • Opens photos from desktop or URLs


  • Requires Flash
  • May be superseded soon
  • Some ads

There are dozens of web apps for editing photos in your browser, but more are quite simple affairs that have more in common with Instagram than Photoshop. Pixlr Editor is different.

Pixlr Editor

Try it here: Pixlr Editor

Developer: 123RF

Version: 7

You can begin by uploading an image from your desktop, but Pixlr Editor also lets you open a picture from an URL or create a new project from scratch. There's also the option of importing photos straight from Facebook, which is a great time-saver.

Once your picture is loaded, you're presented with a full Photoshop-style editing interface. There's a generous selection of filters to experiment with – both fun and practical – plus support for layers and masks for advanced editing. All the brushes and other tools are customizable, and there are quick keyboard shortcuts for commonly used options like levels and curves.

The only cause for concern is the fact that Pixlr is currently working on an HTML5 version of the editor to replace the current Flash edition. The new version will be compatible with more browsers and devices, but there's a possibility that it'll lose some of its more sophisticated features.

User experience

As far as interface is concerned, Pixlr Editor has a great deal in common with our favorite free open source photo editor, GIMP. All your tools are initially arranged in a palette on the left-hand side, with further options along the top and layer previews on the right, though you can drag these panels around the browser window to suit your preferences.

Pixlr Editor's history tool is particularly useful, making it easy to scroll through actions, undoing and repeating as necessary.

You can tune every aspect of your photo manually, tweaking colors, exposure and levels, but there are also automatic tools available for enhancing your photos as quickly as possible.

That said, if Pixlr Editor is overkill for your needs, it's worth checking out the more straightforward Pixlr Express for a more streamlined photo-editing experience.

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