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ACDSee 17 Review

ACDSee 17 offers many features found in advanced editing software for a fraction of the price, making it a solid choice for the average consumer or amateur photographer. Free Trial

Natalie Gialluca

Natalie Gialluca

Photo Editing Software Expert

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Updated: January 11, 2014

The Good

Simple and adjustable user interface:

ACDSee 17 is simple by design, which, in this case, can breed efficiency and effectiveness if you have simple needs. The adjustable interface is built around four modes: Manage, View, Edit, and Online. You can access the modes by clicking on buttons located in the upper-right corner of the screen. In the Manage mode, you can create PDF files, albums, HTML albums, slideshows, and process your images. Online mode loads the ACDSee website in your program window, which acts as a portal to the program's online storage and cloud-based functionality. All you have to do is log in and start uploading.

Solid file management and image organization tools:

ACDSee 17 offers standout file management and image organizing features while providing a competent selection of photo editing tools for a majority of consumers. ACDSee 17 allows you to access key shooting information like the ISO, f-stop, shutter speed, and more while managing, viewing, or editing your photos. From a management and organizational perspective, the software offers just about everything an amateur photographer (and some professionals) would need.

Nice array of publishing options:

ACDSee 17 offers a wide selection of choices for you to publish, print, or save your images. You can use your images to create slideshows, screensavers, and web galleries or you can store the images on the cloud. ACDSee 17 also allows you to directly upload your photos to Facebook. You can add photos to an existing album, or create a new one, add your location, description, and specify the privacy level. This feature is a must-have if you are a regular Facebook user.

Different modes make for easy editing:

View mode is your standard image viewer with all of the usual options you would find with a standard photo editor, like rotate, full screen, and zoom slide. Edit mode takes the viewer and adds an additional menu of logically structured, collapsible categories of editing features on the left-hand side of the window. The edits take place in the viewing pane as you make them, but you can compare them to the original at any time. This is a very easy way to judge your progress (or lack thereof). On a more negative note, the functionality of the interface becomes less intuitive when moving from edit to edit, where the undo's and redo's appear and disappear from the bottom of the screen.

Bang for the buck:

Due mainly to its competent feature set and efficient interface, ACDSee 17 provides solid value for the price when compared to other consumer-level photo editing options. Even better, ACDSee 17 delivers many similar tools that can be found in the professionally-geared ACDSee Pro 6 for half the price.

The Bad

Limited professional editing tools:

As a consumer level product, you wouldn't expect a large volume of professional editing features, but ACDSee 17 has very few, especially when you compare it to competing products. If you are an amateur photo editor, this probably won't make much of a difference to your overall satisfaction of the product since you likely have little use for professional editing tools anyway, but it's still worth noting.

Few painting/drawing choices:

ACDSee provides basic painting tools, but, like elsewhere in the program, does not include more advanced elements. If you aren't looking for advanced editing needs but still want high-quality image management capabilities, then ACDSee 17 could work for you. On the other hand, if you desire greater editing flexibility, painting options, and overall selection, then there are many other products on the market that will better suit your requirements.

Lacks video tutorials:

Although ACDSee offers a nice walkthrough at the outset of the program, they don't provide you with video tutorials on their website in order to guide your use of the product. ACDSee also doesn't provide targeted video clips, which would probably speed up the learning curve for the software and get you editing photos much quicker.

The Details

Free Trial 15 days
Platform Windows
Price $49.95
Upgrade Cost $29.95


Advanced Editing

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  • 16-Bit Image Editing - You can edit 16-bit images.
  • Add Grain/Noise - You can add graphical identification metadata to your images.
  • Audio Editing - You can perform basic audio editing within the software.
  • Black-and-White Conversion - You can convert a color image into a black and white image using any number of methods.
  • Blend - You can blend areas of an image together.
  • Blur - You can soften the detail of an image.
  • Collage - You can create a collage of images.
  • Color Adjustment Tools - You can use a tool to replace missing color or match existing colors.
  • Color Management - You can maintain color quality as an image moves from device to device.
  • Color to Grayscale - You can convert a color image into a black and white image using this specific method.
  • Control Points - You can use control points, a series of small squares placed on the edges and corners of a rectangular selection, to modify a selection by dragging the small squares as needed.
  • Distortion Control/Correction - You can reduce pincushion and barrel distortion effects.
  • Effects - You can add general effects to an image.
  • Exposure Adjustment - You can adjust the exposure of an image.
  • Filters - You can use any of the standard filter types to alter images.
  • Gradients - You can create smooth transitions between adjacent colors.
  • Image Correction - You can brighten shadows, fix unwanted flash, and repair backlight effects.
  • Image Zoom - You can enlarge or shrink the view of the image, in part or in total, as needed.
  • Photo Text Entry - You can type right on the image you are working on and see the text in real time.
  • Post-Processing Effects - You can create effects after processing to include framing and vignetting.
  • Reshaping, Manipulating, and Resizing - You can enhance, enlarge or reduce images, cut images to predefined or custom formats, and measure and mark image content.
  • Retouch Brush - You can remove blemishes, dust and other unusual elements from images while maintaining its integrity.
  • Saturation/Warmth - You can control the strength and warmness of a color
  • Selection Options - Once you have made a selection, you can set aspect ratios, adjust selection sizes, move selections, turn the selection into a mask and/or add feathering to the edges.
  • Selection Tools - You can use different tools to select an area of the image to work on, including the circle, square, wand, and/or lasso.
  • Shadow and Highlight Adjustment - You can control the levels of shadow and highlights in your image.
  • Sharpen - You can enhance the detailed edges within an image.
  • Text Effects - You can add effect to text, such as drop shadows, 3D, perspective, curved text, and path text.
  • Transformations - You can trim, skew, scale, flip, mirror, rotate, and/or add perspective to an image.
  • Advanced Color Image Operations - You can perform color image operations such as color correction, color zones, color transfer, and vibrance.
  • Generate Mosaic Images - You can create a single large image made from a number of other smaller images.
  • Layers - You can make changes to images on individual sheets that can be stacked to form the combined image. Each layer can be adjusted without changing the other layers.
  • Masks - You can protect certain areas of an image from being modified.
  • Nondestructive Editing Environment - You can make changes to image without altering the original version.
  • Sepia Enhancement - You can add a sepia (brown-gray) tone to an image.
  • Support for Custom Palettes - This software supports custom color palettes.
  • Templates - You can create project or metadata templates.
  • Watermarks - You can create savable, personalized, and usually semi-transparent watermarks for your images.

Digital Painting

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Learning Materials

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Professional Editing

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Standard Editing

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Standard Photo Management

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Advanced Photo Management

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File Management

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Third-Party Integration

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ACDSee 17 retails with a price of $49.99 and has a 15-day, full-service free trial of the software.

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