Up to now I've been using Paint and Gimp to annotate images, but Paint basically ruins the image while Gimp ruins my nerves.

I need an annotation tool that can make the annotations look and clean.

The program should be free, if it's open source that's a plus. I need it to work at least on Windows.

What I would like:

  • draw resizable selection (like the Gimp one)

  • draw resizable shapes

  • annotations taken on a different layer

  • easily align shapes, snap them into place (like in PowerPoint)

  • add text that I can later edit and move

  • ability to align different texts, snapping them on the same "line"

  • ability to center text over a shape would be awesome

Maybe an image can help

Shapes and text alignment


3 Answers 3


Although it is designed for SVG vectorial graphics, Inkscape is suitable for this too:

  • freeware / open-source
  • cross-platform
  • it saves as SVG, so you can link the original image into the SVG file, this meaning that all your annotations will be kept in that file, while the original image remains unchanged
  • export to PNG (Export as Bitmap in the File menu)
  • supports layers
  • powerful distribution and alignment functions

enter image description here

  • 1
    This! The alignment tool of Inkscape is exactly what I've been searching for, and it's easier to use than people say. Easier than Gimp, for me.
    – Agostino
    May 22, 2014 at 11:51

Simen Wu's iPhotoDraw stores annotations in separate layer, physically in separate XML file and includes most of the alignment etc. features you'd expect from a professional easy-to-use software

enter image description here



  • is free for personal use
  • can draw resizable selection
  • can draw resizable shapes and can insert text in a shape (automatically aligned)
  • edit and move shapes and text boxes later in the same session (but not after reopening the image because it doesn't use a special format like GIMP and Photoshop to store layers)
  • no grid or snapping functions

enter image description here

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