PIXLR: A Review




Tool Category: Communication Tool & Productivity Tool

Description: Let me tell you a little about his tool called PIXLR…it’s AWESOME! I use Photoshop on a daily basis and to find a bare-bones version that is free and easy to use, it has me thrilled.

PIXLR has three different web-based applications that you can use (shown above): 1) PIXLR Editor, 2) PIXLR Express, and 3) PIXRL O-Matic.

PIXLR also offers two phone apps (PIXLR Express & PIXLR-O-Matic) that are available for iPhones and Android phones.


PIXLR Editor (image below) is the web-based application that is very similar to Adobe Photoshop and GimpShop. It’s a photo & graphic editing application that allows you to edit, add text, shapes, & adjust colors to your photos and graphics.  It has some of the same tools & capabilities as Photoshop and Gimpshop including layering, filtering, image resizing, adjustments, and exporting to different image formats.


PIXLR Express (image below) is a pared down version of PIXLR Editor…an express version. It has presets that can be applied to your photo or graphic. Presets include adjustments, effects, overlays, borders, stickers, and type.


PIXLR O-Matic is a web-based photo enhancement tool that allows you to crop an image, apply effects, overlay filters, and add a border.  PIXLR O-Matic (especially the mobile phone app) has some of the same tools and functions as Instagram.

Need to Know:  Learning curve for PIXLR O-Matic is easy, PIXLR Express is medium and PIXLR Editor is difficult. If you have used Photoshop before, then PIXLR Editor is very easy to use as it has some of the similar features.

What You Need: All you need is a keyboard, mouse, webcam, internet connection, and your creativity.

The Steps:

  1. Go to https://pixlr.com/ and click on the application you would like to use: PIXLR Editor, PIXLR Express or PIXLR O-Matic.
  2. Click on the PIXLR O-Matic banner
    1. Click on the “webcam” icon to snap a selfie or clikc on the “computer” icon to upload an image from your computer.
    2. The menu at the bottom (pictured below) will take you through a step-by-step process beginning with applying effects, overlaying a filter, or adding border. The menu will also allow you to crop the image, save your changes, and step backwards or forwards.
  3. Click on the PIXLR Express banner
    1. Select the “Browse” button to upload an image from your PC, the “Open URL” button to edit an image from the web, the “Webcam” button to take a selfie, or the “Collage” button to create a collage.
    2. When your image opens up in the canvas, you will see a menu below your image that will allow you to apply a preset “Adjustment”, “Effect”, “Overlay”, “Border”, “Sticker”, or “Type”.
    3. When you are done with your changes, click on the “Save” button located at the top left hand corner of the canvas.
  4. Click on the PIXLR Editor bannerEditormenu
    1. Select the “Create a new image” tab to start with a blank page, the “Open image from computer” tab to upload from your PC, the “Open image from URL” tab to fetch an image from the web, the “Open image from library” tab to select from pixlr, facebook or other library, or the “Use pixlr on your mobile device” to use your mobile device.
    2. Once your image loads on the canvas, you will see a menu at the top of the window, a crop & resize tool below the menu, a “Tools” palette to the left of the image, and the “Navigator”, “Layers”, & “History” palette to the right of the image.
    3. Hovering over the tools in the “Tool” palette will let you know what type of tool it is.
    4. You can save the image for the web or in the PIXLR format to maintain the layers and changes.

Educational Resource:
In the video below, a teacher used PIXLR Express to edit photos. The teacher showed his students how to edit pics even though he taught them how to use Photoshop. After the students have edited the image, they were to place the edited image in their Prezi presentation. He was letting them know of some alternatives that are of no cost to the student.

In the Teaching Environment:
I think it’s pretty obvious that students could use this program in a photo-journalism or graphic design course.

A website listed some instances where PIXLR can be used in a K-12 setting.

  • Edit pictures before using them in other programs.
  • Add pictures and define vocabulary words.
  • Take pictures of memorable events (field trips, class parties, music programs, etc.) add captions and “swag” to pictures.
  • Modify pictures for take-home cards for parents.
  • Upload pictures of maps to Pixlr and add events or place names.
  • Take pictures of everyday items that form geometric shapes for a shape review.

I couldn’t think of any instances where this tool would be valuable at UTHealth SBMI.  I could see this tool being useful at the undergraduate level, similar to the instances as the K-12 suggestions. For graduate level courses, I can’t see it being handy unless students are editing images for presentations.

Free application similar to Photoshop & Gimpshop
A choice of three different photo/graphic editing tools that fits the users skill level
Web-based application
Available for mobile devices
Community of support that helps in learning the tools

A higher learning curve for PIXLR Editor

This tool works great for photo & graphic editing and it is rather easy to use.  I would highly recommend this tool, especially if students can not afford to purchase an application such as Photoshop.



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