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5 Best Software to Add Text to Photos for Free in 2022 [Windows & Mac]

Last Updated on May. 13, 2022 – by David Morgan
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Whether you want to market your business, enhance social media posts, celebrate life moments, or become a meme master, software that lets you add text to photos is part of everyday life. The internet has plenty of software titles you can use for free. However, not every free photo editor is worth the download. Some are just adware thinly disguised as free photo editors, and some have limited features.

Fortunately, we’ve got a list of the five best software for adding text to a photo that you can download for free. First, we’ll provide all the essential information you need, including the necessary features you will need for adding text to photos, additional effects and editing tools, and an easy-to-read comparison chart. Then, we’ll give you step-by-step instructions for adding text to images and finish with frequently asked questions.

So let’s dig into these five reviews and help you find the perfect free photo editor!

Top 3 Free Software to Add Text to Photos Snapshot

PhotoDirector Logo

1. PhotoDirector – Best Overall

PhotoDirector has everything you need to add text to photos, including a large selection of text tools, fonts, styles, colors, effects, and more. You can start by adding text overlays, then take it further with cool effects like bevel, emboss, glow, shadow, sparkle, typography, and more. With an intuitive photo editing interface and a wide range of basic and advanced tools, this free download is our number one choice for a photo editor. Detailed Review >


2. GIMP – Best Open-Source Software

GIMP is an excellent choice for a cross-platform, open-source photo editor for adding text to images. It has a simple text editor for adding text layers, changing the font file, manipulating size and color, adding effects and filters, and using transformation tools to alter the final look of your text. Detailed Review >

Inkscape Logo

3. Inkscape – Best for Linux Users

Inkscape has a range of photo editing tools, and it’s easy to add text to a photo using your cursor and the overlay tool. It’s got a simple text editor box for modifying text on your images, including changing the location, color, size, font, and style. It’s the best choice on our list for Linux users. Detailed Review >

What are Different Ways to Add Text to Photos?

Whether you edit pictures for fun or as a professional photographer, adding text to your photos is a valuable skill to have in your editor’s toolbox. The most common way to add text to photos is with a text overlay, which creates a text box with words that lay over the top of the original image. Many programs also allow you to drag and drop text blocks.

You can also manipulate the color, font, style, and shape of your text or add effects like blur, shadow, glitch, and bokeh, as well as change the color gradient or transparency. The most common reasons to edit photos by adding text include business marketing, social media, school projects, professional image enhancement, scrapbooking, collage-making, or just for fun.

5 Best Software to Add Text to Photos for Free

1. PhotoDirector - Best Overall

PhotoDirector Interface

Compatibility: Windows, Mac

Overall Rating: 10 / 10

Text Tools: 10 / 10

The clear frontrunner for the best free software for adding text to photos is PhotoDirector. It’s easy to customize photos and add text with its user-friendly interface. You can start with a simple text overlay, then use the numerous fun photo effects and tools for editing, such as adding a blur, shadows, gradients, filters, and more.

PhotoDirector is an all-in-one editing tool that rivals ultra-popular alternatives like Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop. Besides the many options for adding text overlays to photos, the software has the full spectrum of photo editing tools, including layer editing, keyword tagging, face recognition, and extraordinary workflow and collection organization features. Users also love the endless photo editing customizations, including eye-catching effects like glitch, bokeh, and sparkle; it even has tools for adding animations.

If you need high-quality software with sophisticated editing capabilities, PhotoDirector checks all the boxes. It’s user-friendly for beginners yet has enough premium features to satisfy even the most experienced editor. In addition, the tools for adding texts to photos are intuitive and allow you to create professional-level edits quickly, making it our top choice for the best free photo editing software. We absolutely love the software’s endless possibilities for creating unique, compelling content.

Reasons to Recommend

  1. Innovative tools for adding and editing text on images
  2. AI-powered tools for basic and advanced photo editing
  3. Unique animation tools to bring your photos to life

2. GIMP – Best Open-Source Software

GIMP Interface

Image from GIMP.

Compatibility: GNU/Linux, Windows, Mac, FreeBSD, Sun OpenSolaris

Overall Rating: 9 / 10

Text Tools: 7 / 10

GIMP, or GNU Image Manipulation Program, is our choice for 100% free and open-source software that lets you quickly add text to an image. The primary text tool is easy to use: you just select the text editor, click on the photo, and start typing. You can then manipulate the text alignment, font, size, color, etc.

In addition to the text tool, GIMP has many features and functionalities that are 100% created and maintained by a large community of volunteer developers. For example, it has numerous image manipulation tools, including brushes, gradients, color correction, noise softening, and more. You can even use the software to make posters and collages, which is a nice feature.

While GIMP is an excellent choice for open-source software, it does have some drawbacks. You can add text to images, but the tools are slightly basic. It lacks advanced text editing functionalities, which severely limit your options. 

  • Open-source software with a large developer community
  • Multi-platform compatibility
  • Prone to freezing
  • Lacks advanced text editing for images

3. Inkscape – Best for Linux Users

Inkscape Interface

Image from Inkscape.

Compatibility: Windows, Mac, GNU, Linux

Overall Rating: 7 / 10

Text Tools: 7 / 10

Inkscape is another free, open-source software for image manipulation. It’s our top choice for Linux users because that’s the only system compatible with the new Version 1 (in alpha). The text tool is rudimentary: For single-line text, select the Text icon, click on the image, and begin typing. You can then edit the size, font, style, color, etc.

The best part about using Inkscape is the software’s ability to create scalable vector graphics (SVG images). The open-source software has a robust community of developers who collaborate and revise the code, which means it’s continually improving. If you frequently upload pictures to the web, you may want to try Inkscape since its SVG images are much smaller than the traditional bitmap.

Inkscape lets you quickly add text to your image, but its text tool could use some advancement. While it’s a popular software for its ability to create SVG images, that doesn’t mean it’s perfect. The software is particularly buggy on Macs, and the newest version is only compatible with Linux. In addition, the user interface is complex and has a steep learning curve. However, if you use Linux, Inkscape is worth trying. For other systems, PhotoDirector is a better choice.

  • Makes scalable vector graphic images
  • Is compatible with Linux systems
  • Requires a very steep learning curve
  • Lacks advanced text formatting features

4. PhoXo – Best for Beginners

PhoXo Interface

Image from dotTech.

Compatibility: Windows

Overall Rating: 6 / 10

Text Tools: 6 / 10

PhoXo is Windows-compatible software you can download for free. Many people liken it to an advanced version of Microsoft Paint, and we agree, as it has more editing tools, effects, and features than Paint.

The interface only takes a few minutes to learn, making it our top choice for beginners. Adding text is simple: Just click on the icon and start typing. Then, you can add shadows, gradients, blurs, ripples, and more. It also supports layers for easy drag-and-drop editing.

In addition to its tools that add text to photos, PhoXo has all the basic features of free photo editing software. For example, it allows batch processing for watermark photos and has over 50 effects for photo editing. Plus, the website has many resources, including free clip art, tutorials, and templates for editing photos. You’ll also find photo enhancement tools, including retouch, glow, sepia, and red-eye removal.

If you have no experience editing photos whatsoever, then PhoXo is a good choice. It has an interface with the essential editing tools, and it’s easy to add text to photos and then get creative with different effects. 

  • Lightweight download
  • User-friendly interface that’s good for beginners
  • Lacks intermediate and advanced editing tools
  • Only has Windows compatibility

5. Fotor – Best for Making Collages

Fotor Interface

Image from Fotor.

Compatibility: Windows, Mac

Overall Rating: 5 / 10

Text Tools: 6 / 10

Fotor, our best choice for creating photo collages, offers dramatic one-tap templates for quick edits. The Fotor library has local and online fonts and styles, including calligraphy styles, script, handwriting, cursive, all caps, and boldface. The software also lets you customize your text with options like rotation, transparency, colors, line height, and more. Combine the text tool with the collage maker to create unique content for any platform.

In addition to the tools for creating collages and adding text to images, Fotor has a wide range of photo editing tools, effects, templates, and features. Its interface is smooth and easy to use. For example, you can crop images, add frames, retouch photos, or choose from over 300 stickers. You can also create watermark photos to protect your work and promote your brand.

Fotor is compatible with both Windows and Mac, and it has a good selection of editing tools. However, the free software contains advertisements that only disappear when you buy the premium version. In addition, you’ll find that it has no auto-save feature. So if you’re far into a project and it crashes, you’ll have to start all over again if you didn’t manually save. That can be a colossal time-waster and one of the most frustrating experiences of working with photo editors.

  • One-tap templates for fast editing
  • Advanced options for making collages
  • Contains advertisements
  • Lacks an auto-save feature

Best Free Software to Add Text to Photos Comparison Chart

Software PhotoDirector GIMP Inkscape PhoXo Fotor
OS Mac, Windows Linux, Windows, Mac, FreeBSD, Sun OpenSolaris Windows, Mac, GNU, Linux Windows Windows, Mac
Beginner-friendly Yes No No Yes Yes
Text Tools Text overlay, layer editing, effects, shadows, watermarks, gradients, etc. Text overlay, edit font, color, size, alignment, etc. Single-line text overlay tool, edit font, color, style, size, etc. Text overlay, watermarks, emboss, etc. Text overlay, edit typography, color, size, rotation, and text blocks
Watermark Tool Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Stickers Yes No No Yes Yes
Templates Yes No No No Yes
Free Download
Free Download
Secure Download
Download Download Download Download

PhotoDirector vs


Mac, Windows





Text Tools

Text overlay, layer editing, effects, shadows, watermarks, gradients, etc.


Watermark Tool









How to Add Text to Photos With PhotoDirector

PhotoDirector makes it effortless to add text to photos. Just follow these simple steps to add a text overlay to your image using the Layers mode:

  1. Download and install PhotoDirector.
  2. Import your photos.
  3. Open the Edit tab.
  4. Click the Text Tool icon on the right toolbar.
  5. Left-Click on the image where you want to add your text layer and start typing.
  6. PhotoDirector Interface - Add Text
  7. Use the Text Editor to change the font, style, color, etc.
  8. Click on the Save/Share button on the bottom left to apply your changes to your photo.

If you want to learn more, check out this in-depth guide on adding text to photos using PhotoDirector.

Download the Best Software to Add Text to Photos for Free

No matter your motivation for editing images, the five software we’ve reviewed are great options for adding text to photos for free. You can use text overlays, add stickers, apply different effects, and edit your images in various unique ways. However, not every software on our list had advanced editing options and a user-friendly interface like PhotoDirector, our top overall choice.

PhotoDirector has multiple options for adding text to photos and endless customizations, including effects, stickers, templates, and layer editing. In addition, PhotoDirector has AI technology and advanced features, like sky replacement, animation tools, object removal, retouching, masking, blending, and more.

Are you ready to get started and add text to photos? Download PhotoDirector right now by clicking on the button below.

Add Text to Photos FAQ

1. How Do I Watermark Photos?

A watermark is an image, stamp, overlay, or transparent logo that shows the copyright of the image as belonging to the creator. It discourages people from using pictures without permission, but it’s also an effective way to promote a brand.

You can easily add a watermark to your photos using free photo editing software. The standard process is layering your watermark over top of your image. To learn more, check out our article about using PhotoDirector to add watermarks to your photos

2. What Is the Best App to Add Text to Photos?

The best apps to add text to photos are:

  1. PhotoDirector
  2. PicsArt
  3. Snapseed
  4. Pixlr
  5. Canva

Check out our article on the best free apps for adding text to photos to learn more about our top picks.

3. What Features Should I Look For in Software to Add Text to Photos?

The top ten features you should look for are:

  1. Free download
  2. Text overlays
  3. Typography options
  4. Stickers
  5. Filters
  6. Effects (sparkle, bokeh, blur, glitch, etc.)
  7. Fast performance
  8. User-friendly interface
  9. Pen and brush tools
  10. Cross-platform compatibility

If you’re looking for software that checks all of these boxes, we recommend PhotoDirector.

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