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PhotoLine Icon
PhotoLine running on Windows 7
Developer(s) Computerinsel GmbH
Stable release Version 18.51 / September 9, 2014 (2014-09-09)
Development status Active
Operating system Mac OS X, Microsoft Windows
Available in 5 languages
Type Raster graphics editor
License Proprietary

PhotoLine is a full featured raster graphics editor for Windows and Mac OS X aimed at the advanced amateur or professional user. Its features include 16 bits of color depth, full color management, support of RGB, CMYK and Lab color models, layer support, and non-destructive image manipulation. Besides that, it is also a vector graphics editor and can also be used for desktop publishing. It can import and export all common raster graphics formats including camera raw image formats, as well as Photoshop PSD files, PDF files and Adobe Flash animations.


  • Features 1
  • Language support 2
  • File format 3
  • Quotes from reviews 4
  • Version history 5
  • See also 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8


  • integrates raster graphics editor, vector graphics editor and basic desktop publishing in one program
  • full color management, including Monitor proofing
  • RGB, CMYK, Lab and grayscalecolor models; color models and ICC profiles can be chosen on a layer by layer basis
  • 8, 16 and 32 bits of colour depth per channel
  • full layer support, including blending modes and grouping
  • non-destructive workflow by adjustment layers, multiple layer masks per layer, and layer styles
  • non-destructive scaling, rotating and perspective correction
  • most filters available as adjustment layers
  • many filters, brushes and adjustment layers can be used in Lab and HIS color modes (HIS is a variant of HSL), independently of the color model of the underlying image layer
  • vector layers and text layers including spell checking and character and paragraph styles and text flow inside or around objects.
  • multi page documents, including text flow between pages
  • supports Photoshop plugins and PSP tubes[1]
  • support for pressure-sensitive graphics tablets
  • import and export of Photoshop PSD files, PDF files, animated GIFs, Adobe Flash animations, SVG vector graphics, and many others
  • camera raw image format support based upon dcraw
  • macro (action) recording and batch processing
  • supports 64 bit processors and multiprocessing
  • small download and program size, launches very quickly, can be run off an USB stick or similar device

Language support

PhotoLine is available in the following languages: English, German, French, Italian and Chinese.[2]

File format

Native PhotoLine files have the file extension .PLD or .pld which is an abbreviation of "PhotoLine Document". This is the only type of file which can capture the entire structure of a PhotoLine document. It may contain embedded JPEG, PNG or camera raw images. In addition it includes a preview image in JPEG or PNG format which can be used by the OS or third-party programs for displaying a thumbnail of the image. On Mac OS X thumbnails are supported natively, for Windows the FastPictureViewer Standalone Codec Pack provides the ability to display thumbnails inside the Windows Explorer. Besides the .PLD format, there are PhotoLine files for actions (macros), brush and pattern lists and various other settings.

Quotes from reviews

  • "Photoline is a Mac (and Windows) image editing program that is clearly intended to be a complete Photoshop replacement. Its user interface is pretty similar to Photoshop’s (although less polished, to be sure, and prone to the occasional untranslated piece of German)."[3]
  • "Fast, powerful, stable, easy (for experienced Photoshop users) to use"[3]
  • "PhotoLine provides a wealth of tools for editing photographs. While there is a great deal of options, the program seems to be aimed at users with a lot of prior image altering knowledge."[4]
  • "More capable in some ways than Photoshop, but limited interoperability with Adobe workflows"[3]
  • "PhotoLine is technically quite a bit more powerful than other middle-class image editors (e.g. 16-bit editing, LAB and CMYK support, etc.). PhotoLine does provide very little hand-holding for beginners however and has comparatively few instant effects.[5]
  • "If you're willing to put in the little extra effort, then PhotoLine can pay dividends."[6]
  • "The toughest thing about this program is its unconventional interface compared with other programs I have worked with. Gerhard and Martin write a great program but group and name tools, actions and bits and pieces in unusual ways."[7]
  • "Uniquely, many filters and all blend modes have adjustment options ranging from -200% to + 200%"[5]
  • "many filter dialogs allow choosing the channels to which the effects are applied, without the need to convert the image to a different color space beforehand"[5]

Version history

Originally, PhotoLine was developed for the Atari ST computer. Version 2 was the first version for Windows, and since Version 6, PhotoLine is also available for Mac OS. Major versions are published about once a year. Upgrade licenses are available at a reduced price.

Version Release date Significant changes
1[8] January 1996
  • classic image editor for Atari ST without layers
2 July 1997
  • first Windows version (for Windows 95 and Windows NT 4.0)
  • alpha channels
  • layer support
  • multiple undo
3 January 1998
  • vector layers
  • morphing tool
  • additional import and export formats
4 July 1998
  • macro recording
  • batch conversion
4.5 November 1998
  • full pattern support extending also to vector layers
5[9] February 1999
  • text layers and typographic support
6[10] October 1999
  • poster and label printing
  • virtual scaling and rotating
  • first version for Mac OS 8.5
7[11] 2000
8[12] 2001/02
  • PDF handling
  • calendar creator
  • slideshow
9[13] Fall 2002
  • web export
  • clipping layers
  • line patterns
  • nondestructive layer distorsions
10[14] Fall 2003
11[15] 19 October 2004
  • Dynamic animations using the Flash format
  • Radial blur
  • PDF export
  • Barcode generation
  • advanced layer effects
  • path text
12[16] 19 September 2005
  • various filters for digital images (white point, chromatic aberration, noise, color temperature)
  • creation of HDR images
  • CIE Lab color space
  • simple 3D bodies
13[17] 29 September 2006
  • multiprocessor support
  • USB stick mode
  • text styles
  • repair brush
  • spell checker (on Mac OS X native / Windows Aspell)
14[18] 9 November 2007
  • improved creation of HDR images
  • crop tool
  • brush editor
  • handling of IPTC-data
  • gray mixer
15[19] 15 January 2009
  • support for 64 bit processors
  • editing of color bends
  • red eye removal tool
  • ray tool
  • harmonic colors
  • variable blur tool
  • SVG Import
16[20] 21 April 2010
  • adjustment layer panel
  • liquify tool for image distortion
  • vector morphing
  • color filters
  • QR-code
17[21] 13 December 2011
  • object removal tool
  • quick masking and border matting tools
  • image extraction tool
  • content aware scaling
  • selective color correction
  • threshold adjustment layer
18[22] 4 October 2013
  • distort and straighten tool
  • hue editor
  • vector operations: union, intersection, difference and exclusion (XOR)
  • full 32 bit (float) color depth
  • interaction with external programs
  • adjustable user interface color
  • automatic guides for easy positioning of elements
  • WebP import and export

See also


  1. ^ PhotoLine on the German WorldHeritage
  2. ^ "PhotoLine Download Page". 
  3. ^ a b c Review on on 2008-01-20
  4. ^ Editor's review of PhotoLine on 2009-10-05
  5. ^ a b c Review of PhotoLine v. 14 on
  6. ^ Review of PhotoLine v. 15 on
  7. ^ PC Update, July 2007
  8. ^ Atari Inside 1996 No. 3 (German page)
  9. ^ WayBackMachine Snapshot of PhotoLine Homepage 8 February 1999
  10. ^ WayBackMachine Snapshot of PhotoLine Homepage 5 October 1999
  11. ^ WayBackMachine Snapshot of PhotoLine Homepage 30 September 2000
  12. ^ WayBackMachine Snapshot of PhotoLine Homepage 2 April 2002
  13. ^ PhotoLine Release Notes Version 9
  14. ^ PhotoLine Release Notes Version 10
  15. ^ PhotoLine Release Notes Version 11
  16. ^ PhotoLine Release Notes Version 12
  17. ^ PhotoLine Release Notes Version 13
  18. ^ PhotoLine Release Notes Version 14
  19. ^ PhotoLine Release Notes Version 15
  20. ^ PhotoLine Release Notes Version 16
  21. ^ PhotoLine Release Notes Version 17
  22. ^ PhotoLine Release Notes Version 18

External links

  • PhotoLine home page
  • PhotoLine Forum
  • plugs'n'pixels summary of PhotoLine 17's features
  • Comparison of Pixelmator 2.0 to PhotoLine 16.5 and Acorn 3.1
  • Graphic Editor Cross-Reference List PhotoLine 32, PhotoShop and Paint Shop Pro
  • Reviews of PhotoLine reprinted from c't 4/2012, 13/2010, 4/2009, 19/2007, 19/2006, 18/2005, 24/2004, 20/2004, 14/2003, 13/2002, 14/2001, 14/1999, 14/1998 (all in German)
  • Review of PhotoLine 17 on (in German)
  • Review of PhotoLine in MacLife 1/2010 (in German)
  • Interview with the developers of PhotoLine in MacLife 7/2011 (in German)
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