There are plenty of open source applications that can help you tremendously as aweb designer. Open source projects are great not only because of their price tag (free), but also because of the passionate community that typically forms around them. In these economic times, it’s often a worthwhile endeavor to see places where you can conserve, and open source alternatives are a good place to start looking.

In this article, you’ll find 30 exceptionally handy open source applications for web designers. There are a variety of tools here that include source code, WYSIWYG, and graphic/image editors, as well as useful software utilities that can improve your task management and production processes.

Source Code and WYSIWYG Editors


KompoZer - screen shot.


KompoZer is a fully-featured web authoring system that has an integrated FTP client, an intuitive tabbed user interface, and support for all major operating systems.

Bluefish Editor

Bluefish Editor - screen shot.

Bluefish Editor is a lightweight, fast editor for web designers and programmers. It has useful wizards for HTML documents, great project management features, and a powerful search-and-replace option for quickly batch-replacing source code.

Quanta Plus

Quanta Plus - screen shot.

Quanta Plus is a robust web development IDE. It’s highly-extensible and is able to run custom scripts. It has an excellent visual CSS editor that has code hints and auto-completion of syntax.


Amaya - screen shot.

Amaya is a free, open source web editor and web browser developed by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). Amaya started as an HTML/CSS editor and has since grown into an editor for many XML-based systems like SVG and MathML.


CSSED - screen shot.

CSSED is a fully-featured GTK-2 based CSS editor that has a plugin system for utmost extensibility; check out some of the available plugins for CSSED.


OPEN BEXI HTML Builder - screen shot.

Open BEXI HTML Builder is a browser-based open source application for creating HTML web pages. It has a CSS color picker built into the interface and a very simple project management option.


NOTEPAD++ - screen shot.

NOTEPAD++ is a very popular open source text editor for Windows. Though not strictly just for web designers, it has an excellent source code editor the supports HTML, XML, CSS, and JavaScript.


jEdit - screen shot.

jEdit is a text editor created for programmers. It can run on Mac, Windows, and Linux and has syntax highlighting for HTML, XML, CSS, JavaScript and many other languages.


SeaMonkey, fostered by the Mozilla Foundation, is an “all-in-one” web browser that has a simple yet powerful HTML editor for in-browser source code editing (called SeaMonkey Composer).

Graphics/Image Editors


GIMP - screen shot.,

GIMP, one of the most popular open source projects currently out on the market, is a feature-packed image editor and graphic design suite. For those who like Photoshop’s interface, check out Gimpshop – an extension that roughly mimics Photoshop’s interface.


Inkscape - screen shot.

Inkscape is the premier open source vector graphics editor (much like its commercial counterparts, Adobe Illustrator and CorelDRAW).


Krita - screen shot.

Krita is a painting and image-editing software application for KOffice.


Karbon14 - screen shot.

Karbon14 is a scalable vector-based drawing application that’s part of the KOffice project.


Kivio - screen shot.

As a web designer, you’ll often need to storyboard and prototype your designs or create flowcharts for navigation schemes; Kivio is an excellent diagramming/flowchart editor to help you boost your prototypes, wireframes, flowcharts, and diagrams.


Dia - screen shot.

Dia is another wonderful diagramming tool to help you draw diagrams and flowcharts.


Skencil - screen shot.

Skencil is a vector drawing application that’s great for illustrations and diagrams. You can save your compositions in EPS format – a format recognized by most vector-editing applications.

OpenOffice Draw

OpenOffice Draw - screen shot.

OpenOffice Draw is a simple yet powerful drawing/diagramming utility that’s part ofOpenOffice software suite.


mtPaint - screen shot.

mtPaint is a simple painting utility developed by Mark Tyler (mt); it is perfect for simple painting and editing.


FontForge - screen shot.

If you ever need to edit fonts for your designs you may want to check out FontForge, a handy, open source font editor.


ImageMagick is a robust image-editing suite that lets you compose images in bitmap-based formats. It can open and save in over a hundred formats, including popular web formats such as GIF, JPG, SVG, and PDF.


GraphicsMagick is fondly referred to as the “Swiss army knife of image processing” by its core developers. It supports many image formats; you can view a list of themhere.

Helpful Utilities


HTML TIDY is a free, open source utility for fixing and optimizing HTML syntax.


Cyberduck - screen shot.

Cyberduck is an excellent open source FTP client for the Mac OS. Its built-in support for Mosso Cloud files and its built-in Amazon S3 browser makes it a top-notch app for web designers and web application developers.


FileZilla - screen shot.

FileZilla is typically thought of as the most popular open source FTP client. It is cross-platform compatible (available for Linux, Mac, and Windows operating systems) and has the ability to transfer files through numerous protocols.


WinSCP - screen shot.

WinSCP is a Windows-only (S)FTP client for local to remote file transfers. It has a simple file manager to help you navigate and organize your files.


CamStudio - screen shot.

There may come a time when your client/project leader will ask you to design a computer simulation (such as an activity in an e-course or a tour of a website’s services). If you ever need a screen-capturing app, look no further than CamStudio, a fully-featured open source, screen-capturing tool.


Greenshot - screen shot.

Web designers often need to take screenshots; usually for documentation and for in-browser design presentations. Greenshot is a wonderful and robust screenshot application that’s free and open source.


ZScreen - screen shot.

ZScreen is an exceptionally useful open source screen-grabbing utility that can take full-screen, viewable area, and just certain regions of the items in your monitor. You can set it up to automatically FTP screenshots; a helpful function for easily sharing and archiving your images.


Xournal - screen shot.

Xournal is a simple note-taking/sketching utility that lets you use your tablet as an input device. It works similarly to Windows Journal.


Firebug - screen shot.

Firebug is an extremely useful and versatile web page debugging tool. You can use it to learn and explore your HTML and CSS markup.


Gallery - screen shot.

With Gallery, you can take greater command of your image repository. Gallery is a web-based image gallery that you can use to store, organize, and access image assets online.


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