July 12, 2024

13 Excellent Open Source Tools for Web Designers

Open source applications and tools are a great alternative for web designers on a budget. Many open source tools have comparable features to the expensive applications, and are also free. This makes it possible possible for a web designer to have all the tools and applications needed to complete everyday tasks without even spending a cent. In this article you will find 13 of the best open source tools for web designers.

Text Editors

Aptana Studio

open source tools

Aptana is a complete web development environment that combines powerful authoring tools for HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, along with thousands of additional plugins created by the community.


open source tools

KompoZer is a complete web authoring system that combines web file management and easy-to-use WYSIWYG web page editing.


open source tools

Notepad++ is a source code editor and Notepad replacement that supports several languages. It runs on Windows and is governed by a GPL License.


open source tools

Firebug is a plugin for Firefox that allows you to edit, debug, and monitor CSS, HTML, and JavaScript live in any web page.

Quanta Plus

open source tools

Quanta Plus is a highly stable and feature rich web development environment.


open source tools

jEdit is a cross platform text editor with hundreds of person-years of development behind it.

Graphics Applications


open source tools

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


open source tools

Dia is a cross operating system diagram creation application.


open source tools

Krita is a graphics application for everyone who wants to get creative with images.


open source tools

Inkscape is a vector graphics editor, with capabilities similar to Adobe Illustrator.



open source tools

FileZilla is probably the most popular ftp application. You can download a client or server version.


open source tools

Cyberduck is an FTP client built for the Mac.


open source tools

WinSCP is an open source free SFTP client and FTP client for Windows.


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


  1. Zaskoda Reply

    I use Gimp frequently. I haven’t installed any commercial alternative on my workstation in years.

    I use Dia regularly. I tried to use Visio on a Windows machine recently for a project. I ended up just downloading Dia to the machine. It does what I needed it to do fairly well. A slightly more “brisk” interface would be nice.

    Filezilla is powerful, but the UI is just a train wreck. I still use it most of the time as it’s one of the few FTP apps that properly supports umasks.

    I use netbeans over Aptana because I ran into issues with Git support in Aptana. Netbeans is OSS and a very good IDE.

    Speaking of, Git and SVN can be a Web developers best friend… would be nice additions to the list.

    Oh, and then there’s Firefox and the many plugins, of course.

  2. Zhille Reply

    I’ve used much of the software listed. Here are my impressions:

    Aptana – excellent tool but bloated and slow loading, a little like dreamweaver in terms of usability. For an average HTML/PHP/CSS/JS coder, just too massive. Great community and plugins though.

    Notepad++ – my personal choice for years, with a few plugins, you can’t beat it. Experienced web app developers I worked with use it exclusively. Starts faster than notepad, haha.

    Another of my recommendations is Inkscape, one hell of a vector program, with excellent bezier tool, and workflow is nice. You might have to search online for some explanations about how to use extensions like Perspective, but there are some resources. Learning curve is very fast.

    Gimp – just hate it…god-awful, tried it a lot of times to see if it maybe changed to better. Paint.NET is way better, but lacks more advanced features and path support.

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