Readers like you help support XDA Developers. When you make a purchase using links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Read More.

Quick Links

Photo editing is something that people often associate with the best laptops, but if you own a great Chromebook, you can still edit photos. Thanks to support for Linux and Android apps, you can download and install popular photo editors like GIMP or even use the native Gallery app and the Google Photos app to tweak a particular photo. You can even use the web and an online photo editing experience. Here are five methods we recommend.

The Gallery App in ChromeOS

The easiest way to edit a photo on a Chromebook is with the Google Gallery app. It opens automatically whenever you open a photo that you have saved on your Chromebook. There's no need to download extra software to use it. The app isn't too sophisticated and offers basic crop, rotation, rescaling, lighting filters, and annotation tools.

  1. Go to the Files app in ChromeOS and double-click the photo you want to edit to open it.
  2. At the top of the window that opens, look toward the middle of the screen.
  3. To crop and rotate the photo, click the arrow icon (sixth icon from the left). Select the option in the sidebar that opens.
    Rotate photos in ChromeOS
  4. To rescale the photo, click the square icon (seventh from the left). Type in the numbers you want to scale the photo to in the sidebar that opens to the right.
  5. Click the slider icon (eighth from the left) to adjust exposure, contrast, or saturation. You can adjust the sliders as you see fit and preview the image.
  6. Finally, to annotate the photo, click the scribble icon (ninth from the left). You can choose between various brushes and colors.
  7. Save any changes by hitting the Save button.
  8. Save a copy by clicking the down arrow and choosing Save as.

How to edit photos with the Google Photos app on a Chromebook

Google Photos app ChromeOS

We suggest using the Google Photos app for more in-depth photo editing controls. It's available as a link directly from the Gallery App and offers more filters, the ability to adjust the white point, saturation editing, and other options. You can also touch-up an image automatically.

  1. Double-click on a photo in the Files app to open it in the Gallery app.
  2. When the Gallery app is open, click the Lighting effects icon (eighth from the right).
  3. Click More tools in Photos. If you don't see this, go to the Google Play Store and download Google Photos.
    More tools in Photos ChromeOS
  4. You'll immediately see the ability to enhance the photo automatically or make it warm or cool.
  5. Click the second icon from the left on your right to adjust the aspect ratio.
  6. Drag the ruler at the bottom of the screen to rotate it.
  7. Click the third icon from the left on the right to adjust various aspects of the photo, like highlights, black point, saturation, and brightness.
  8. Click the fourth icon from the left on the right to tweak the filters.
  9. Click the blue Save button when you're done. The edited photo now saves to your Chromebook and will replace the original. Click Replace to confirm it.

How to edit photos with GIMP on a Chromebook

GIMP running on ChromeOS showing a laptop and different menus

Photoshop is a popular photo editing tool for people on Windows PCs and Macs. This isn't available on ChromeOS, but a solid alternative is GIMP, which is a photo manipulation program. This is a Linux app, and getting started with it requires you to enable Linux on your Chromebook.

  1. Enable Linux on your Chromebook.
  2. Search for Terminal in the ChromeOS launcher.
  3. Launch the terminal app, and select Penguin.
  4. Type in the command:
    sudo apt install gimp
  5. Launch GIMP.
  6. Open a photo with File and then Open.
  7. Play around with the various menus and tweak your photos.

I suggest using the Image menu in GIMP for most photo editing tasks. From here, you can manage colors, crop the photo, and more. If you scroll over to the Colors menu, you can change the color balance, temperature, levels, curves, and more in-depth aspects. GIMP is a sophisticated app, so the sky is the limit.

How to edit photos online with a photo editor

Editing a photo online on a Chromebook

Your fourth option for editing photos on a Chromebook is through your browser. You can upload your photos to a specific website designed for photo editing. A personal favorite of mine is Photopea. You can open your own photo or start a new project from scratch just like you would with Photoshop.

  1. Open Chrome and go to the Photopea website.
  2. If you want to create a new project choose New Project.
  3. You also can open a new project from a computer by choosing Open from Computer to open an existing image file, including PSD, AI, or AD.
  4. When your project is complete, you can go to File and Export As to export your photo.

You can use the menu bar at the top of the app to apply filters and scale photos, just like you would in Photoshop. You'll even have tools at the side, like Photoshop. Image filters will be under the Image menu.

How to edit photos with Android apps on a Chromebook

An Android photo editing app on ChromeOS

Finally, if you're looking for another photo editor beyond the Google Photos and Gallery app, there are many Android app alternatives on the Google Play Store. Our favorite is Adobe Lightroom, though some features of the app are limited on Chromebooks or require a paid subscription to use. You also can try a free app like Pixlr, which has simple and easy-to-understand controls and tutorials built in, but it has a daily limit. Even Google's Snapseeed app offers photo editing capabilities and is highly optimized for touchscreen devices like a great ChromeOS tablet. We included download links for these apps below.

Those are the four ways you can edit photos on your Chromebook. If you're looking for the most straightforward method, check out Google Photos and Gallery app, although there are Android apps you can use that are also easy to understand. If you want more advanced photo editing capabilities, check out GIMP. ChromeOS is a great platform and isn't just about web browsing. Check out our five favorite apps for more things to do on your Chromebook.