Adobe XD

Best Free and Open Source Alternatives to Adobe XD

Adobe is a large multinational computer software company with over 22,000 employees. Its flagship products include Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Premiere Pro, XD, Acrobat DC, and the Portable Document Format (PDF). The products are wrapped up and marketed as the Creative Cloud, a subscription-only way of accessing more than 20 desktop and mobile apps and services for photography, design, video, web, UX, and more.

We are long-standing admirers of Adobe’s products. They develop many high quality proprietary programs. It’s true there are security and privacy concerns in relation to some of their products. And there’s considerable criticism attached to their pricing practices. But the real issue is Adobe Creative Cloud does not support Linux. And there’s no prospect of support forthcoming.

What if you are looking to move away from Adobe and embark on a new world of online freedom, where you are not tracked, monetised and attached to Adobe‚Äôs ecosystem. We only recommend free and open source alternatives. Our recommended software don’t necessarily replicate every feature of their Adobe counterparts but they offer sufficient functionality for many tasks.

Adobe XDAdobe XD is the Adobe prototyping tool for user experience and interaction designers.

Adobe XD features are used for creating wireframes, prototypes, and screen designs for digital products. The software creates user interfaces for mobile and web apps.

What are the best free and open source alternatives? Here’s our recommendations.


1. Pencil

Pencil is built for the purpose of providing a free and open source GUI prototyping tool that people can easily install and use to create mockups in popular desktop platforms. The software is mature and suitable for production use.

Pencil is shipped with Android and iOS UI stencils pre-installed. This makes it easier to start protyping apps with a simple installation. Popular drawing features are also implemented in Pencil to simplify the drawing operations.

There are built-in shape collections including general-purpose shapes, flowchart elements, desktop/web UI shapes, Android and iOS GUI shapes.

Pencil also supports connectors which can be used to “wire” shapes together in a diagram. A collection of flowchart shapes are also available for drawing diagrams.

Pencil
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Pencil is written in JavaScript. Learn JavaScript with our recommended free books and free tutorials.


2. Akira

Akira is a native Linux design application built with GTK.

Akira focuses on offering a modern and fast approach to UI and UX Design, mainly targeting web designers and graphic designers. The main goal is to offer a valid and professional solution for designers who want to use Linux as their main OS.

Akira is in an early stage of development. While it’s not currently ready for production use, the project has enormous promise. It’s definitely worth investigating!

Akira
Click image for full size

Akira is written in Vala. Learn Vala with our recommended free books and free tutorials.


3. Penpot

Penpot is a design and prototyping platform meant for cross-domain teams. The software lets you design beautiful user interfaces for teams working on any platform. This provides universal access.

Penpot is web based and works with open web standards (SVG).

Penpot

Penpot is written in Clojure. Learn Clojure with our recommended free books and free tutorials.


All articles in this series:

Alternatives to Adobe's Products
Adobe Acrobat ReaderAcrobat Reader is a multi-platform PDF reader. It lets users view, print, sign and comment on PDF documents.
Adobe After EffectsAfter Effects is digital visual effects, motion graphics, and compositing software used in the post-production process of film making, video games and television production.
Adobe AnimateAnimate is a multimedia authoring and computer animation. Animate is used to design vector graphics and animation for television series, online animation, websites, web applications, rich web applications, game development, and more.
Adobe AuditionAudition is a digital audio workstation featuring both a multitrack, non-destructive mix/edit environment and a destructive-approach waveform editing view.
Adobe DimensionDimension is 3D rendering and design software. It's designed to build brand visualizations, illustrations, product mockups and other creative work.
Adobe DreamweaverDreamweaver is a web development tool. It includes a code editor that supports syntax highlighting, code completion, real-time syntax checking, and code introspection for generating code hints to assist the user in writing code.
Adobe IllustratorIllustrator is a vector graphics editor and design tool. The software lets you create everything from web and mobile graphics to logos, icons, book illustrations, product packaging, and billboards.
Adobe InCopyInCopy is a professional word processor that integrates with InDesign. The software enables editors to write, edit, and design documents.
Adobe InDesignIndesign is a desktop publishing and page layout designing application. The software is used to create posters, flyers, brochures, magazines, newspapers, presentations, books and ebooks
Adobe Photoshop LightroomLightroom is a creative image organization and image manipulation. Its main uses include importing/saving, viewing, organizing, tagging, editing, and sharing large numbers of digital images.
Adobe PhotoshopPhotoshop is a raster graphics editor with multiple layers, masks, alpha compositing. It edits and composes raster images in multiple layers and supports masks, alpha compositing and several color models.
Adobe Premiere ProPremiere Pro is a timeline-based video editing tool. It is geared towards professional video editing.
Adobe XDXD is a prototyping tool for user experience and interaction designers. Adobe XD features are used for creating wireframes, prototypes, and screen designs for digital products.
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