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Acorn is a new image editor built with one goal in mind - simplicity. Fast, easy, and fluid, Acorn provides the options you'll need without any overhead. Acorn feels right, and won't drain your bank account.
  • Take screenshots using Acorn and edit them right away.
  • Chain together image filters to create stunning effects.
  • Layer based image editing, an industry standard.
  • Make new images and layers using your built-in iSight.
  • Easy image and canvas resizing, just by changing the size of your window.
  • Take advantage of every pixel of your monitor with full screen image more...

What's New

Version 4.5:

New Stuff

  • New international presets when creating a new image - A3, A4, A5, and A6.
  • New Command: Layer > Merge Visible to New Layer (shortcut Command-Option-Shift-E). This will add a new layer, which is a composite of all the visible layers. The menu item for Merge Visible will switch to Merge Visible to New Layer when the Option key is pressed.
  • more...


  • OS X 10.8 or later

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Acorn User Discussion

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Most Helpful Reviews...

MacUpdate most helpful reviews user icon

Acorn appeals to me because the interface is essentially modeled after Photoshop 7. I do very basic tasks with it and have grown to prefer this app over others.

It does bother me that the newest version is now 10.8+ only. Apple continues more...

6 people found this review helpful
Version 4.0.5
MacUpdate most helpful reviews user icon
from Stef_Vandenabele

I never liked Acorn but the current buzz for v2 did trigger me to try it out again.
But .. it is still a dead wrong image editor. It just doesn't feel right. All the GUI windows are a mess and you get lost pretty soon. The layering system more...

8 people found this review helpful
Version 4.0.3
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Psychiatry Member IconReview+108

Acorn is fantastic for those who want a graphics editor modeled after Photoshop which does 90% of what a person needs without all the heavy duty features and price that Photoshop gives you.

I HATE Pixelmator because Pixelmator has too dark of an interface that makes it harder to use and unappealing to start. I would rather use Photoshop any time than Pixelmator.

Sure Pixelmator's interface is "cool" but it isn't as useful nor as easy to use as Acorn's interface. Pixelmator also has some arcane ways of doing things. Acorn is much more straight forward to use.

For heavy lifting, I love Photoshop. There simply is no other substitute - particularly with the 3rd party plug-ins that GIMP will never have.

But for quick rides around town - like on a sports car - Acorn wins. And its price is about the same or less expensive than Pixelmator's price.

Reply0 replies
Version 4.5
SoaponaRope Member IconReview+0

Acorn is on sale only 29.99 right now. I just bought it and am so happy I've solved my Photoshop problem with this simple intuitive software. This is exactly what I've needed for like.....5 yrs

Reply0 replies
Version 4.4
1goncat Member IconReview+7

For complex creative work I use Gimp (2.8 Partha build), the free open-source powerhouse image editor that rivals Photoshop. But although I also have Pixelmator & Elements, for most routine jobs I rely on Acorn.

Acorn, Pixelmator & Elements have slightly different features, but they all perform similar non-destructive image editing functions, with many tools, layers, effects, blending & opacity controls, editable brushes & file support.

Elements is the oldest of the three, as its features show. Pixelmator has a trendy black interface, but Acorn's is simpler & more functional. They both use Apple's Core Image plugins, while Elements uses photoshop filters.

Functionally, I find Acorn to have the most useful tools & effects, including Quartz FX, plus the ability to combine them in uniquely different ways to produce an almost infinite variety of different results. Acorn can also use 3rd-party plugins like Java & Python scripts. Acorn's creator, Gus Meuller, often creates new Acorn plugins, and you can even make your own.

But a major factor is how they compare in terms of simplicity & speed. Acorn's simpler architecture not only makes it easier to use, it also makes it faster & more efficient; key features in any serious image editor, since imaging operations can involve many steps.

While Pixelmator isn't hard to use, Acorn often requires fewer steps. But it's not only faster, it's also more precise, since I've noticed that Pixelmator can blur edges slightly, often requiring extra work to fix. Also, I find Pixelmator's filter palette full of jiggling, animated tools to be silly & amateurish; appealing to children perhaps, but not useful in a serious image editor.

Of the three, Elements is the least efficient, hampered mainly by a clunky, antiquated color system, requiring multiple steps to choose colors. Acorn & Pixelmator both use Apple's great Color Picker, which is way simpler & more versatile than the Adobe system.

As you might expect, Pixelmator is the cheapest, at $29, making the aging Elements seem rather spendy at $99. But as the simplest, fastest, most useful & professional of the three, Acorn is easily the best deal at $49.

Reply0 replies
Version 4.4
Mikael B Member IconComment+415
Mikael B

Does Acorn do LAB colorspace?

Reply0 replies
Version 4.4
Rpmurray Member IconComment+58

Flying Meat is putting Acorn on sale for $14.99 for a limited time.


Reply0 replies
Version 4.3.1
RogerKatz Member IconComment+65

The download is actually version 4.3.1, not 4.3

Reply0 replies
Version 4.3
Waveman Member IconReview+77

Acorn will now default to whatever you have set in your preferences for a default color space (by default it's sRGB).

Well that's poor judgment on the developers part—sRGB is a very limiting color space—why not Wide Gamut RGB or Adobe 1998 RGB? At least if you open an sRGB image you won't lose anything, can't say the same for the current approach.

Leave sRGB in the waste bin of history, it's just a bad idea all around.

Reply3 replies
Version 4.2.3

The sRGB default is best for the average user. While sRGB is very limiting, it is also a lower common denominator, and most people aren't limited by it because their consumer level or uncalibrated monitor or printer can't really do much better.

I use larger gamuts myself, so I get what you are wanting. But if you work in a larger gamut and simply hand off that image to an average person, there is a pretty high likelihood the colors will look totally wrong on their system, unless they are in an application that is color-managed correctly. But a lot of apps are not and most people don't even know what that means. Even Safari has a faulty implementation that would rear its ugly head if you set Acorn to a wide gamut and did not embed a profile. Since Acorn is aimed at average users and low budgets, sRGB is a sensible default because things are least likely to go wrong for the average Acorn user.

The advanced user can simply change the setting.


1. The average user does not have an expensive monitor calibrator. As a result, they cannot use color spaces other than the standard sRGB. If they use Adobe RGB or another color space, the photos will look bland on an uncalibrated monitor. And any correction they do will end up being wrong in color when printed,

2. The average printer - such as the photo printers at Costco - are calibrated to sRBG. So if you do your work in Adobe RGB you still have to remember to convert the resulting work to sRGB before you print it out. The average consumer will not know how to do this.

3. To use other color spaces, the consumer will need a very expensive monitor calibrator and printer calibrator. And they will need to know how to calibrate both to the alternative color space. That introduces a lot of complexity. It is like asking the consumer to use Photoshop.

4. Acorn is just $14.99. What do you expect? Photoshop??

Mikael B

"To use other color spaces, the consumer will need a very expensive monitor calibrator "

I disagree. There are low-priced well functioning display calibrators that are way better than not having one. Commonly you don't print material that color proofing yourself, but rather use the color settings you get from your print house.

Parkerbennett Member IconReview+44

One thing Acorn has over many other graphics programs is screen color accuracy. If you specify a color in Photoshop then use a tool like xScope to sample the color off the screen it's not exact. Same goes for Pixelmator, Sketch, GraphicConverter. Acorn gets it right.

Reply0 replies
Version 4.2
-=someone=- Member IconReview+6

Acorn appeals to me because the interface is essentially modeled after Photoshop 7. I do very basic tasks with it and have grown to prefer this app over others.

It does bother me that the newest version is now 10.8+ only. Apple continues to create serious segmentation amongst their installed user base. I have some machines that need to be 10.6 for compatibility reasons, others are fine with 10.8.

Pixelmator is probably the best value for the money, but their developers refuse to even talk to those of us who don't like the darker UI elements. Acorn could get more users on that count by lowering their price quite a bit.

Reply1 reply
Version 4.0.5

I hate Pixelmator's dark UI. It makes it more difficult to see their tool options. I wish it had a lighter UI option for those who don't have as good a vision as their developer.

Otherwise, Acorn is simply much easier to use and easy on the eyes. Highly recommended.

MaxWilders Member IconReview+43

I am probably the only one disliking this. Tried it for editing a small banner for our site. The undo did some weird things when using the layers and the transparency settings in the layers are buggy. They sometimes lost the value I set it to.

I never had this with Pixelmator.

At this level I cannot recommend Acorn at all. Its just too buggy.

Reply1 reply
Version 4.0.3

Many bugs fixed in 4.0.4. Better now?

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Version 4.4
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Version 4.4
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Version 4.2
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Version 4.1
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Version 4.0.3
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Version 4.0.2
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Version 4.0.2
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Version 4.0.2
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Version 3.5.1
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Version 3.3
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Current Version (4.x)


Downloads 75,078
Version Downloads 568
License Demo
Date 28 Jul 2014
Platform Intel 64 / OS X
Price $49.99
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