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What software should I use for digital scrapbooking?

The top three programs we recommend for digital scrapbooking are, in order:
  1. Adobe Photoshop ($10 per month via subscription, with a free trial available) - check it out here
  2. Adobe Photoshop Elements ($100 one time payment) - check it out here
  3. GIMP (Free) - check it out here
All of these programs are available for Microsoft Windows and Mac OS; GIMP is also available on Linux.

Adobe Photoshop

If you can afford the $10 monthly price tag (for the Adobe Photography Plan which includes Photoshop), we strongly recommend Adobe Photoshop for digital scrapbooking, as it is the most popular program among digital scrappers, and has the most tutorials and learning resources available for it (most of our tutorials here at, for instance, are intended for Photoshop users). It is also the most powerful image editing program available, and the program that professional designers use; besides being fun for your hobby, being able to use Photoshop is a marketable skill that could be useful for you at some point in your career.

Check out Photoshop here (a free trial is available to download).

Note: The price for Photoshop if you want it for desktop + iPad is $20/month. But you can get the Adobe Photography Plan (which includes Photoshop for desktop--but not iPad--for just $10/month).

Adobe Photoshop Elements

If you prefer a one-time payment, Photoshop Elements is a less powerful version of Photoshop which many hobbyists and digital scrappers use, and most of the time you can follow along with Photoshop tutorials just fine without getting too confused. However, we think that at $10 per month, the full regular version of Photoshop is a better investment in the long run.

Check out Photoshop Elements here.


If you have no budget for digital scrapbooking software, or you are just getting started and not sure that you want to invest yet, we recommend a program called GIMP, which is somewhat similar to Photoshop, but completely free. GIMP is the most popular free program for digital scrapbooking, and is a very powerful image editor. The main difficulty you will have is that there are not nearly as many resources or tutorials available for GIMP as there are available for Photoshop, and not nearly as many people use it. 

If you can possibly afford it, we strongly recommend going with Photoshop or Photoshop Elements instead, as any time you invest learning Photoshop is likely to be much more useful to you in the long run than time spent learning how to use GIMP, which is not as widely used.

Check out GIMP here.

What about other options?

You may hear about other software options, like Storybook Creator, Artisan, Serif Craft Artist, MyMemories Suite, and more. Some of these are tailored specifically to digital scrapbooking, and we encourage you to check them out if you are interested. But you should know that none of these programs are nearly as widely used as Adobe Photoshop and Photoshop Elements, so you will likely have a harder time finding resources and tutorials for these programs, as well as other scrappers who use them. It is also worth considering that the companies supporting these programs are not as large or successful as Adobe, and have sometimes gone out of business or stopped supporting their software without warning, leaving users "stranded."

You may also hear about some people using Microsoft Word, PowerPoint or Publish to create their digital scrapbooks, and while it's perfectly possible to use these programs, they aren't really designed for digital scrapbooking, and are not very popular among digital scrappers.

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