May 29, 2024

14 Free Mac Apps for Web Designers on a Budget

We all know that Macs aren’t the most affordable computers on the market. Purchasing one can take a big chunk out of a web designer’s budget and leave little to purchase software. Thankfully, there are alternatives to the expensive software that we need to do our job. Here are 14 Mac applications that will have you doing everything from editing images to writing code, and they won’t cost you a dime.


mac apps

The abbreviation “MAMP” stands for: Macintosh, Apache, Mysql and PHP. With just a few mouse clicks, you can install Apache, PHP and MySQL for Mac OS X. It is a must have for developing and test websites on your local machine.


mac apps

GIMP is a versatile graphics manipulation package. It’s considered by many to be an excellent alternative to Photoshop.


mac apps

Cyberduck is an open source FTP, SFTP, WebDAV, Cloud Files and Amazon S3 browser for the Mac. It features an easy to use interface with quickly accessible bookmarks.


mac apps

SvnX is an open source GUI for most features of the svn client binary. It allows you to browse your working copies, spot changes and operate on them but also to browse logs and revisions of your repositories.


mac apps

Paparazzi! is a small utility for Mac OS X that makes screenshots of webpages. It’s written in Objective-C using the Cocoa API and the WebKit framework.


mac apps

FileZilla is a free open source ftp application. Both client and server are available.


mac apps

TextWrangler is the powerful general purpose text editor, and Unix and server administrator’s tool. Its great for writing and editing code and features syntax coloring and function navigation for HTML/XHTML, XML, PHP, JavaScript, Perl, Python, Ruby, Lua, Java, ANSI C, C++, Objective-C, and more.


mac apps

Inkscape is an open source vector graphics editor, with capabilities similar to Illustrator, CorelDraw, or Xara X, using the W3C standard Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) file format.


mac apps

KompoZer is a complete web authoring system that combines web file management and easy-to-use WYSIWYG web page editing. Think of it as a Dreamweaver alternative.

Simple CSS

mac apps

Simple CSS allows you to easily create Cascading Style Sheets from scratch, and/or modify existing ones, using a familiar point-and-click interface. With it, you can manage multiple CSS projects and import your existing style sheets.


mac apps

VirtualBox is a powerful virtualization app that allows mac users to set up a Windows environment on their machine, which makes cross platform/browser testing pretty simple.


mac apps

MindNode is an elegant and simple-to-use mindmapping applications. It’s a great little app for brainstorming and managing your projects.


mac apps

Skitch is an app that takes screenshots a couple of steps further by giving you the ability to sketch and make notes on the image and then share it through It is a great way to collaborate on projects or to explain ideas to a client.


mac apps

Pixus is an Adobe Air app that lets you measure the screen objects in pixels using both mouse and keyboard control.


Henry Jones is a web developer, designer, and entrepreneur with over 14 years of experience. He is the founder of WDL and ThemeTrust.


  1. Mike Rundle Reply

    Nice list but I’ve got to disagree with MAMP. It’s unnecessary. Apache & PHP are built into Mac OS X, all you need to do is flip a checkbox to turn web sharing on and make sure that PHP is enabled in httpd.conf. Installing MySQL is a quick jump away, too. It’s better to have it installed within normal *nix directories than to jam the whole thing into a MAMP folder in Applications IMO. There’s just not much of a need since all the tools are already there.

    1. Vicente Russo Reply

      You are right, Mike, it`s much more simple to have all leopard builtin features like apache and php. BUT, things like GD library is not in the box, and its a mess to recompile php on leopard. Its a lot more fast and easy to download a software like mamp (I use xampp) and start working right away! 🙂

  2. Nitz Reply

    I LOVE GIMP and FX Photo Studio Pro a lot as they don’t eat up all my pocket, in fact GIMP even ask you for a single penny. But, I truly rest of your suggestions and your reviews about them are quite impressive. Would love to try them out. Thanks Henry for sharing them.

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