25 Essential FREEWARE Apps for Web Designers

by admin on May 04, 2009

Are you a Web designer, or a person who likes to create projects on the Web? You’re probably familiar with commercial products created by Adobe or Micromedia. You also probably know about WordPress apps. But, have you returned to try any of the free or open source design apps that have grown over the years?

The following list is small, but it includes many free apps that have become known and trusted by designers. We included a variety of offerings, including some that will help you organize your projects. The list is categorized, and each link is listed alphabetically under those categories. This method shows that we do not favor one design app over another.

Editing, Uploading, Downloading

  1. 7-Zip : 7-zip is a zip utility that completely replaces stalwarts like WinZip. It handles numerous compression file formats: arj, cab, gz, iso, lzh, rar, tar and zip to name a few. It also has its own proprietary format, 7z, which can squeeze a little extra out of a file when set to the “ultra” setting.
  2. CSE HTML Validator Lite: Use this tool to create hand-coded pages and to catch coding errors before you publish. This validator will catch open tags and misspellings and it also will place quotation marks around attribute values as well as change all tags and attributes to lower case. If you don’t like to use it for coding, use it to save time on validation.
  3. FileZilla : One of the best free FTP tools around. FileZilla provides unlimited uploads and downloads and supports resumption of transfers when your connection is broken. FileZilla comes in two flavors – full-featured FTP client, and FTP server. Both support FTP over open connections, SSL/TLS (FTPS) and SSH FTP.
  4. KompoZer: KompoZer is a WYSIWYG Web-authoring system with built-in site management tools and CSS management system.
  5. Texter: If you want a tool that can provide HTML tag shortcuts, you’ve found it. For example, tap “p” and hit Tab to open up a set of HTML paragraph tags. You also can develop your own shortcuts.


  1. FontForge: An outline font editor that lets you create and edit your own postscript, truetype, opentype, cid-keyed, multi-master, cff, svg and bitmap (bdf, FON, NFNT) fonts, or edit existing ones. Also lets you convert one format to another
  2. Gimp: While not as powerful as Photoshop, Gimp is coming close. Gimp supports layers, filters, effects, brushes and textures and can handle any image file type imaginable.
  3. Inkscape: This tool only gets better as the years go by. Inkscape is an Open Source vector graphics editor, with capabilities similar to Illustrator, Freehand and CorelDraw. It uses the W3C standard Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) file format.
  4. Serif Draw Plus: Use this tool to create vector drawings and smooth animations. Their DrawPlus 4 is completely free, and it allows text manipulation, fill tools and is filled with filter effects. For personal use only.
  5. uMark: If you sell your images online, use this tool to create a watermark. You can protect your images with a copyright notice or logo, and add this visible watermark to hundreds of images at one time.


  1. Easy Thumbnails: How many times have you searched for a way to scale images in batches? This tool provides eleven re-sampling filters, real-time previews and quality results.
  2. Gallery: Manage your photos, including automatic thumbnail resizing, rotation and other tools with this free download.
  3. JAlbum: Do you need a photo gallery? JAlbum consists of free album software, free hosting (or upload to your own site), skins, ability to customize and a creative community.
  4. Picasa: You don’t need Photoshop’s Bridge to organize your images. Keep images private or use one gigabyte free storage for albums – enough space for 4,000 wallpaper-size photos.
  5. Picnik: Tweak photos online, create galleries and use special effects. This app works with photos at various online venues such as Flickr, Facebook, Photobucket and more.


If you’re creating a Web site, where do you begin? If you’re an HTML pro, you can use the editing resources listed above. But, if you want to create heavy-duty Web designs without hiring a full staff, then the following free apps may help.

  1. Webs: Choose from one of 300+ templates to get started. You can change your template at any time. And, you can use advanced HTML mode to modify your site. You also can integrate Paypal or Google Checkout.
  2. Wix: Create Flash Websites, design a MySpace page, control your portfolios and add widgets. Start with a blank page or choose among various designs and go to it.

Project Management

Web designers usually know that they work long hours and that they don’t keep track of their time and that they don’t get paid for that lost time. While some might consider this problem a ‘labor of love,’ others might take advantage of the tools below to streamline productivity.

  1. Clocking It: Prove to your clients that you’ve spent ‘that much time’ on their projects. Time tracking can be simple or detailed. Enjoy flexible reporting, multiple ways to communication and an interactive gantt chart and scheduling.
  2. DimDim: Dimdim lets anyone deliver synchronized live presentations, whiteboards and web pages and share their voice and video over the Internet – with no download required.
  3. Google Calendar Invoice Creator: Use a Google Calendar to create appointments and this tool will read the RSS feed from that calendar, calculate the total hours and create an invoice. You will need to install Adobe AIR first.
  4. Google Docs: We’ve met folks who still haven’t tried the Google Doc applications, and we don’t know why. Use their documents, spreadsheets, presentation and PDF utilities and organize them by user or topic. You can share everything or nothing with your team. Also integrates a chat feature.
  5. Klok: You could purchase a chess timer to keep track of how much time you spend on a project (good for when you have constant interruptions), but why? Especially when Klok is free. Track time and clients accurately. You will need to install Adobe AIRfirst.
  6. ProjectPier: Very similar to the popular Basecamp, this free, open source and self-hosted PHP application is perfect for managing tasks, projects and teams.


These two apps are great management flow tools…

  1. Premier Survey: This survey tool requires a web browser and an Internet connection to manage surveys from anywhere in the world.
  2. File Dropper: FileDropper.com was created as a fresh and fast alternative for file sharing up to five GB. Files are kept forever as long as they are being downloaded.

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