Photo editing software

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NCH PhotoPad

NCH PhotoPad Review

Reviewer: Stephen Qualtrough
Developer: NCH Software
Overall rating:
Price: $50 $34.99 - $15.01 off

Review summary

Good points

 All the basic editing features are covered

 Easy to make quick edits

Bad points

 No organizational tools

 Features are limited in scope

Our verdict

It's a simple structure with basic contents but it gets the job done. And we think it gets the job done well - provided you don't need many advanced editing features. NCH PhotoPad is an entry-level editing program for photos and other images.

Full review

NCH Software offers a range of utilities for all kinds of functions from video editing to invoice management. The NCH PhotoPad package provides effective photo editing to a basic level. Here we look at exactly what you get in this editing package. A free edition is available to download for home use, while the professional – premium - version is paid-for.


NCH PhotoPad works on Mac and Windows machines, and you need Windows 11, 10, 8, 7 or Vista. For Macs, it’s Intel OS X 10.4.4 and higher.


NCH PhotoPad supports a range of different file formats and you’ll be able to work with the usual range of image files. Images can be exported in common formats like jpg, png and gif.

Photo editing

Find all the basic and essential editing tools you need within the NCH PhotoPad package. For moving and resizing images you have crop, rotation, resize, and flip tools on hand – the “liquid resize” effect changes the aspect ratio of the image without distorting the features within it. A retouch feature allows you to get rid of red-eye in your shots as well as blemishes. Fine-tune the image color and hue, plus the brightness, saturation, and contrast. Photo effects include sepia, oil paint, cartoon, and vignette – you apply these effects with just a couple of clicks. If you want to improve the quality of the photo you can sharpen the image and reduce noise or add blur to define areas of the image and add contrast.

You can also make additions to the photo by inserting text and captions using a range of different effects. PhotoPad is linked to a library of clipart for inserting images, although this produces fun effects rather than anything that looks professional. Frames and borders around photos provide the finishing touch.

Editing is non-destructive as you work with layers that allow you to modify different aspects of the picture but return to original versions if you need to.

However, you can’t remove objects from a picture and there are no automatic retouch features that give your photos a quick, general boost.


Features are limited in the PhotoPad package but you can create basic collages and mosaics using your pictures and the preset templates within the program. There is also a feature where you can convert photos into cross stich patterns or paint-by-numbers images – great for crafting enthusiasts.

The photo stitch feature links photos together but it’s not particularly advanced.

There is no batch editing feature in the program.


There’s no way to organize or sort photos within PhotoPad and we think this is a lack. If you want to keep track of your photos you’ll have to use your own system on the PC or upload photos to a photo storage service.


You can upload photos directly to Flickr, which would solve the storage problem. And there is also a feature for uploading edited pictures to Facebook.

Ease of use

Unsurprisingly, PhotoPad is very easy to use. One of the main points in the program’s favor is its clear and uncluttered interface and lack of issues handling the various features on offer. It would be nice to see some more advanced features so this ease of use could really be put into practice.

Help & support

The NCH PhotoPad website has a few questions related to installation and technical issues, and there are a couple of simple how-to queries answered. You will probably find what you need to sort out any issues you have with the program within the Help manual, which is accessed from within the software. There’s a forum, and you can also contact Technical Support but access to this service is limited to people using the paid-for premium version of the program.


You can’t go wrong with this program, up to a certain point. If you want to make quick and simple edits you can – and NCH PhotoPad is very user-friendly. But if you want to move onto more advanced edits you’ll need a different program. NCH PhotoPad is great for the beginner but advanced editors won’t find what they are looking for.

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