Software, graphic design tools and music licenses can cost churches thousands of dollars. However, many programs have a free and open source equivalent. If you are wanting to up your graphic, web design or office productivity game, you might want to check out the following resources offered up by United Methodist Communications and the CTC Communications team. The following is in no way an exhaustive list of options. So please, if you use and enjoy other cost-effective alternatives (which doesn’t necessarily mean “free for nothin” – though free is definitely at the top of the cost-effective list), please email them to
to have them added below.
Free Website Design Tool
After researching several “free” web hosting services, the CTC digital team has discovered it really loves the way the
platform performs. Wix has hundreds of fully customizable HTML5 templates, has everything you need to create a website and you need zero coding skills.
is another good choice for web software you can use to create a beautiful website or blog. Thousands of
has tutorials on how to use WordPress and offers many
specifically geared towards Christian ministry.
Microsoft Office Alternatives
gives you six feature-rich applications for all your document production and data processing needs.
is free from their large, dedicated community of users, contributors and developers. It works on Windows, Macintosh and Linux.
can handle all your Office documents as well, however it looks and feels like pre-Office 07 and doesn't get updates like the newer LibreOffice.
Vector-Based Graphics Editor
is an open source
graphics editor. It does not have all the tools that Adobe Illustrator has, but it also doesn’t have a price tag. We’ll let you pick. Check out the Inkscape
to fully understand its power. Inkscape runs on Linux, Windows 2000/2003/XP, and OSX. Download it
on Inkscape will get you started.
Free Publishing App
is a desktop publishing application that is a great alternative to Microsoft Publisher. It has a fairly user-friendly interface and supports professional publishing features, such as CMYK color, separations, ICC color management and even PDF creation. You need to install
for Scribus to work, but it is well worth it.
Stock Photography and Images
Many Flickr users offer their work under a Creative Commons license.
through content under each type of license.
offers royalty-free stock photos, church bulletin and sermon art, logos and more — all shared freely. Visit the network to connect with artists, view portfolios or post jobs at no cost.
is free image and photo editing software for computers that run Windows. It
an intuitive and innovative user interface with support for layers, unlimited undo, special effects, and a wide variety of useful and powerful tools. An active and growing
provides friendly help,
Video Transcoding & Editing
is an open-source program that converts DVDs into formats that can be viewed on most media players. It also performs many basic editing functions, such as producing subtitles, cropping and scaling.
is a growing community of music artists who share music for download under a Creative Commons license. The site also allows listeners to donate to artists!
is another growing community for shared music.
is a community site, which features music samples and remixes licensed under Creative Commons. Here you can listen to, sample, remix or interact with music in whatever way you want.
is free, open source software for recording and editing sounds. It is available for Mac OS X, Microsoft Windows, GNU/Linux and other operating systems. Check out the
for more information.
is much more robust than Audacity, but does cost a little for the license. It is much more affordable than ProTools or other recording workstations.