Photoshop for free? Pixlr is pretty close.


Chromebooks do not come pre-installed with any sort of image editing software, and that is a major bummer. There is no need for fear. A website called pixlr has all of the functionality of Microsoft paint and, fortunately, more! Although this software does not have the functionality of Adobe Photoshop, it has many of the basic tools Photoshop has, for free!

Selecting and Opening Files into Pixlr

Step 1


Type     into the address bar of the chromebook and press enter.

 Step 2 (optional)

It is possible to create Free Account to have online storage for images. Go to the top left corner of the screen and click on File>>Open Image Library. This is where you can save and access your pictures anywhere with internet.

Step 3

Here is the largest step. Let us begin by finding an image.  Once a search is submitted, click on images. Then, click on any image. After that, click on view image. Once that loads, right click and select “save image as”. After that, the Chromebook’s file manager will appear. By default, the image will be in the “Downloads” folder of the Chromebook. Click “Save” and there have a saved file!

Tip: File Manager can be accessed by clicking the magnifying glass on the Chromebook’s keyboard and typing “files”. The logo looks like this:


Step 4

To open our file in Pixlr, click on file in the top left corner. Then, click on “open image”. This will open the images in the Downloads Folder on the Chromebook. Select the cat photo, and it will open in Pixlr.

Making The Masterpiece

Now that the image is open, the next step will show some basic functions of the pixlr editor, such as adding transparency to images, and adding text to images.

Adding Transparency To Images

  1. Select the wand tool and left click areas of the image that is not going to be transparent. Tip: Hold down “Shift” on the keyboard have multiple wand selections simultaneously.

       2. Next, clean up the spots on the image that were not quite detected by the wand tool. Select the lasso tool and, while holding shift once again, select the rest of the spots that were missed. Here is the lasso tool’s logo: lasso-tool

       3. Now that the kitty is selected, invert the selection. This replaces the selection with every part of the image that currently is not selected. It inverts the selection.

       4. The final step is to copy and paste the current layer. This can be done by navigating to Edit>>Copy and then select Edit>>Paste. Then, deselect layer 0. From here, the image can be exported as a transparent PNG.

Adding Text To Images

This is a simple process. Click the “A” icon towards the bottom left of Pixlr’s screen. Then, click anywhere on the image. Then, simply type the text that is going to appear, and viola! The

Exporting Images From Pixlr

After the image’s edits are completed, there are multiple places to save the image.

-The chromebook

-Pixlr online storage

-Google Drive

Important: Save the transparent image in the PNG file format. If not saved as a PNG, the transparent sections will become white again.

1.  To do this, simply click “File” on the top left once again, and then click “Save”.  From there, choose the location where the new image will be saved. The picture can be saved in the Pixlr library, or on the Chromebook. In this example the pretty kitty is saved onto the Chromebook directly.

Hooray! A fully functional, online image editor on the Chromebook! There are a lot of different tutorials online for all of the tools Pixlr offers, so do not be shy and jump right in! Good luck and have fun!




Cole Davis (@Cole_Davis64) is a student at Ash Grove High who attends classes at OTC for Computer Information Science. He dabbles in 3D animation in his spare time, and likes to help people make the most out of their computers. It’s not uncommon to find him browsing spicy memes, or making some internet.


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