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Photoshop is one of the best photo editing tools, but it is expensive. Many individuals cannot afford the subscription required to use Adobe products.

You miss out on several features when you do not have Photoshop. You may wonder how else you can add a border to your photos.

You can learn how to outline an image without Photoshop. There are several online tools and built-in programs on Macs and Windows computers.

How to Outline an Image Without Photoshop

This guide will help you learn how to outline an image without Photoshop. There are several third-party platforms you can access via a browser. Some of the built-in editing platforms on your computer also help you with this process.

Built-in Tools on Your Computer

There are a couple of built-in tools you can use on your computer to learn how to outline an image without Photoshop. The steps vary depending on if you have a Mac or Windows system.

Outline an Image on a Windows Computer

You can outline an image on a Windows computer using Microsoft Paint. This built-in tool is available on all Windows devices.

Outline in Image in Microsoft Paint

Microsoft Paint is a free program you can use to add white outline around transparent PNG or any other file type. If you do not want to use white, select any other color.

  1. Open Microsoft Paint on your Windows computer.
  2. Click on the “File” menu, followed by “Open.”
  3. Select the picture you want to use.
  4. Find the “Shapes” tap.
  5. Click on the “Rectangle” option.
  6. Find the “Outline” dropdown menu next to “Shapes.”
  7. Choose “Solid Color” and select white or another color.
  8. Adjust the size of the border if needed.
  9. Draw a rectangle surrounding the image with your mouse.
  10. Click on “File,” followed by “Save As.”

Outline an Image on a Mac

Mac computers come with built-in editing tools in the Photos app. You can use the “Markup” features to learn how to add border to PNG images.

Use Markup to Outline Your Images on a Mac

The steps below will help you use the “Markup” tool, as referenced above.

  1. Open the “Photos” app on your Mac.
  2. Double-click the image you want to edit.
  3. Click the “Edit” button in the top right of the screen.
  4. Wait for the editing window to open.
  5. Click the more icon. It resembles three horizontal dots in a circle.
  6. Press “Markup.”
  7. Click the shapes icon. It resembles an overlapping square and circle.
  8. Press the rectangle icon.
  9. Drag the blue dots to outline the image.
  10. Press “Save Changes” to finish editing your photo.

Free Online Tools

You can use a few online tools for free to learn how to outline an image without Photoshop. The options in the below list are some of the best.

1. Canva

You can learn how to outline an image in Canva using the tools in the platform. This program is free online, but you can sign up for a premium subscription to access every feature.

How to Outline an Image in Canva

You can learn to add border to PNG images with the steps below. There is a specific section dedicated to outlines.

  1. Go to and log in to your account.
  2. Create a new design.
  3. Click on the “Upload” tab.
  4. Upload the image you want to edit.
  5. Click on “Elements” on the menu on the left side of the screen.
  6. Press on the search bar and type “Borders.”
  7. Click on the design you want to use.
  8. Drag the boxes around the shape to outline your image.
  9. Export your design.


  • Canva is user-friendly for beginners.
  • Canva has hundreds of templates.
  • The borders on Canva have unique designs.
  • There are design guides to keep your images symmetrical on Canva.


  • You have to sign up for a premium subscription to access every feature on Canva.
  • Some of the built-in images look too much like stock photos.
  • There are limited export features.
  • You cannot transfer design elements to other projects.
  • Canva can delete your account at any time.


You can learn how to add outline to PNG image online using GIMP. You have to install the chrome extension to use it on the browser. This tool is also available as a downloadable software you can use on your Mac or Windows computer.

How to Outline an Image in Gimp

You can learn how to add outline to PNG image online using GIMP with the steps outlined below.

  1. Open GIMP on your browser or desktop.
  2. Look for the menu bar and press “Filters.”
  3. Click on “Decor” when the dropdown menu opens.
  4. Press “Add Border.”
  5. Enter a number between zero and 250 to make your border thicker. It should go in the “Pixels” section.
  6. Change the color of the border.
  7. Check the image to see if the border is there. Make changes to the size and color as needed by pressing “Add Border” again.
  8. Save the image.


  • You can test out any of your editing skills for free.
  • GIMP does not take much storage space if you download the software.
  • The interface is customizable.
  • You can batch process images in GIMP
  • There is a smartphone version of GIMP.
  • GIMP is compatible with other Adobe programs.


  • You cannot edit your images using layers.
  • GIMP crashes regularly due to bugs.
  • GIMP does not handle photos that use anything other than RGB.
  • You cannot export web-optimized images on GIMP.

3. Pixlr X

Pixlr X is another editor you can use to learn to add white outline around transparent PNG images. This program lets you animate your photos to create GIFs and videos. Start with one of the templates available on the website or begin with a blank canvas.

How to Outline an Image in Pixlr X

You can learn how to outline an image without Photoshop using Pixlr X with the steps outlined below.

  1. Go to the Pixlr X website.
  2. Press the “Open Image from Computer” option.
  3. Wait for the window to appear.
  4. Find the image you want to edit. Double-click it to automatically open the editor.
  5. Press “Ctrl + A” on your keyboard.
  6. Right-click on the image and press “Copy.”
  7. Open a new tab with a blank document. Right-click again and press “Paste.”
  8. Tap “Layer” at the top of the screen.
  9. Click “Flatten Image.”
  10. Wait for a wide border to appear.
  11. Click on the “Toolbox” panel.
  12. Choose “Marquee.”
  13. Click in the top left corner of the screen, hold down your mouse, and draw the size you want your border to be.
  14. Let go of the mouse.
  15. Right-click and copy the mage again.
  16. Open a new blank project.
  17. Right-click and paste the image with the border.
  18. Press “Ctrl + S” on the keyboard.
  19. Give a name to your image and save it to the computer.


  • Pixlr X has some of the best editing features among free programs.
  • You can edit your images in layers.
  • The interface works like a mobile app.
  • Perform any editing with the click of a button.


  • Pixlr X does not offer cloud storage.
  • Pixlr X is still in development. Sometimes, there are software issues.

Tips & Tricks

Make Your Color Palette Cohesive

When adding a border to an image, keep your colors cohesive. Use the Visme color picker to find a palette that matches your photo. You can browse through the options to try them.

Keep Text Readable

If you want to add text to your images, you need to keep it legible. Do not use a font just because it looks interesting. Find something that matches your overall design style and provides audience members with the information they need to know.

Understand File Types

When downloading your images after editing them, try to understand file types. HTML images are best for web use, especially if you want to make them part of your website. PNG photos work if you want a design with a transparent background.

Outline an Image Without Photoshop

You should have a better understanding of how to outline an image without Photoshop. You can use an online tool like Canva, GIMP, or Pixlr X. Use the built-in border programs within the software to begin.

Windows computers let you add a border through Microsoft Paint. You will use the rectangular shape tool. The process is similar if you want to use the built-in features of the Photos app on Macs.

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