￼It shouldn’t cost you an arm and a leg just to edit an infographic. The products included in an Adobe Creative Cloud subscription are powerful, but they’re also costly and include a lot of tools that most people don’t actually need. Small businesses and freelance designers use stock graphics because they’re cost-effective and customizable—so why can’t vector editors be like that, too?
What if we told you that you don’t need Adobe? Hear us out. There are many free vector software options out there, but they can be hard to sort through. To ease the pain, we’ve compiled a list of our favorite free vector editors (and even added a bonus tutorial at the end).
You don’t have to sacrifice great designs to save money—and you don’t need to sell off your possessions just to maintain an Adobe subscription.
Designers often compare GIMP to Photoshop, but did you know that GIMP also has a lot of Illustrator capabilities? If you crave customization and are willing to dig a little deeper into the software, GIMP could be right for you. It’s also one of the more established options, so there are a ton of online resources (although those resources can be a little inaccessible for beginners due to all of the tech jargon).
Like any free vector program, GIMP can be pretty glitchy and slow. Luckily, it’s updated frequently.
Inkscape is another favorite among designers, largely because it’s customizable and has a ton of plugins. If you install Ghostscript in addition to Inkscape, you can also work directly with EPS files (which is kind of rare for free vector editors).
Like GIMP, Inkscape suffers from an outdated interface, frequent glitches, and can become painfully slow. It’s one of the more powerful free design tools, though, so it can really pack a punch.
Gravit has two products: Designer and Klex. Gravit’s products stand out from the crowd for their incredible UI, ease-of-use, and desktop application. No need to download new software onto your computer—just open a browser window and you’re ready to go.
Gravit Designer has greater functionality than Klex and works better for projects where you need to do some heavy editing (like infographics). Unfortunately, Gravit does not support EPS files at this time, but they are actively working to incorporate EPS compatibility into the next update. In the meantime, there are plenty of online tools that will allow you to quickly convert EPS files into SVG format (which Gravit does support). Once the SVG files are open in Gravit’s products, they work just like any EPS file.
Gravit Designer has a broader range of tools than Klex, but Klex is perfect for everyday graphics projects. The tool is intuitive, making it incredibly easy to create bold social media graphics on the platform. This is a perfect option for beginners and anyone who needs to make graphics quickly (without compromising style).
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How to Edit an Infographic Using a Free Vector Software
We’re using Gravit Designer for this tutorial to showcase how its intuitive user interface makes editing infographics simple. Don’t forget to convert your EPS files to SVG format before getting started!
Step 1. Open your files in Gravit Designer
If you’re editing an existing infographic, go ahead and open it in the application by going to File > Open file. We used this square infographic for this tutorial.
Step 2. Lock the background layer
Use the Subselect tool to select the background, then click the Lock icon on the layer. This will make it easier to edit all of the elements on top of the background.
It’s also helpful to create a new layer and put the background in that layer so you can find it later.
Step 3. Delete unnecessary elements
Use the subselection tool to delete any elements that you don’t need. You can click and drag the mouse to select all of the elements in one area. If you aren’t able to select everything that you need to, go to the Layers panel and try selecting the paths that surround your current selection. Paths that make up the same element tend to be grouped near each other in the layers panel.
Step 4. Get organized
Once you’ve deleted all of the items that you won’t be using, start grouping elements together and putting them into organized layers. Not only will this help you keep track of everything, but Gravit also seems to function better when items are organized into groups and layers. It might feel a little tedious, but organizing will definitely be worth it in the end.
Step 5. Expand your horizons
On the Page panel on the right, click Page Size and select Infinite Canvas. This mimics the Adobe Illustrator layout and allows you to move elements outside of the bounds of your graphic. This is helpful for storing elements that you’ll need later.
￼Step 6. Add text
The text function in Gravit Designer is incredibly easy to use. Just select the text button, draw a box, and type. The program also has an enormous library of fonts to fit any design need.
￼Step 7. Add elements from other files
While you have your current project open (make sure to save frequently!) you can also add elements from other SVG files. Just go to file > open and select a file. The file will open in a new tab where you can select any element and just copy and paste it into your main project tab.
￼Step 8. Adjust colors
You can change the color of any element by selecting it (with the Subselect tool) and going to the Appearance panel. In the panel, you have the option of choosing from preset swatches, moving your cursor along a gradient, or using the eyedropper tool to match the color of another element in your document.
Step 9. Import images
If you have any images that you want to use that aren’t in SVG format, just import them straight into your document. Go to File > Import > Place Image and select an image from your computer. The image will be placed on the canvas, and from there you can resize and edit it just like any other element in your document.
Step 10. Design your heart out
With these basic tools under your belt, you can edit any vector from our affordable library of stock graphics. Just remember: stay organized, save frequently, and keep it simple. Infographics are more effective when they aren’t too cluttered, so no need to go overboard with the graphics.
With a little practice, you’ll be a vector editor virtuoso in no time—all while saving some major cash. And don’t be afraid to explore help forums or contact the developers of these free vector softwares. Communities exist around each free vector software, so take advantage of that!