A.Contributing editor Joe Stoddard responds: For most Windows users, I recommend (and use) Paint Shop Pro. It does everything you need to do and costs only around $100. Some useful features are a thumbnail browser, advanced screen capture, easy resizing, easy text markup, touch-up tools, and good compression filters that make it easy to get images ready for the web. As a bonus, most Adobe Photoshop plug-ins will work with Paint Shop Pro, so you're really not giving up much by choosing it over Photoshop (around $600). With your savings, you can buy a digital camera.

The only situation I can think of where Photoshop would be necessary is if you're doing advanced color-matching or separations for commercial printing. Most contractors aren't going to do that in house anyway, and since Paint Shop Pro can save files in the various formats a graphic arts house would use (.eps, .tif, etc.), you're covered.

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