The stores are full of greetings cards for special occasions, but for the ultimate in personal touches, why not make one yourself with the best greeting card software for your home computer?
Free greetings card design software is now so good you no longer have to suffer the whims of the cards you find in the shops - and it’s even possible to send them digitally if you find you've run out of time to catch the postal collection.
This is software that makes the process of designing and creating your perfect greetings card so simple, you’ll have something laid out in minutes thanks to a stack of templates and free stock images. You can even add moving pictures and sound to the digital cards. And who knows? Perhaps you’ll get so good at designing greetings cards that you can make it into a small business - you’ll need something like one of the best all-in-one printers if you do.
If you’re looking for something that runs in your browser, rather than having to install an app on your computer, check out our list of the best online photo cards too.
1. Adobe Spark: Best greeting card software overall
If you want a quick, easy greeting card app that is completely free... Adobe Spark is the obvious choice. It has loads of pre-set templates for all kinds of cards, posters, invites, and other greeting formats. Simply log-in using any social media account or email address, and you get full access to the whole range of design options. There's a menu on the right with both tools for editing what you have, and a range of pre-set templates for quicker creation.
You can choose from 10,000s of stock images to illustrate your card, or you can upload your own image. The only issue we had while using it was working out how to crop and scale the custom images we uploaded, as they weren't always the same shape as the card template. Most of the stock images fit just fine, and there is a great selection for any occasion.
Adjusting text, colors, style, backgrounds, and even adding icons, logos and new fonts is very simple. So, you can create any messaging you like, and style it in a vast number of ways. If you want to send an eCard there are limited animation options too. You can export to a printable format, save as a common file type, or share direct via email or social media. Everything you need, and it costs zero dollars.
2. Print Artist Platinum: Best downloadable greeting software
Print Artist Platinum is easy to use and allows you to be as creative as you want. It even lets you import photos, clip art and artwork. The 28,000 templates not only help you make greeting cards, but also provide layouts for calendars, bumper stickers, t-shirts, hats, masks, gift bags, invitations, tags and gift boxes. Also, the 377,000 graphics cover numerous holidays and occasions.
Print Artist Platinum allows you to edit pre-made cards or create them from scratch. You can use the editing tools to add effects and enhance your projects, whether you are removing blemishes from a photo, adding filters, adjusting the color of your cards or using the various paintbrushes to create something new. On the downside, it doesn't offer prewritten text for various occasions, and some of the icons are small and unlabelled, so it requires some effort to determine what they do.
There are links to share your creations on Facebook, YouTube, or email directly from the program. Helping you to create eCards, complete with sound or music, that are easy email to your friends and family members. If you need help, there are tutorials and a FAQs page on the company's website.
3. Canva: Best for social media sharing
There’s a free version of Canva with limited access to images and templates, with the meat of content hidden behind a small monthly payment. For $9.95 per month, you can get Canva Pro, which includes 50,000 templates and 300,000 images. There are templates for all sorts of occasions and projects, like creating new business cards or invitations, presentations or images. Of course, you can also design sentimental cards or announcements for all kinds of occasions.
There are a couple of drawbacks to this platform compared to our best overall pick. Even though you’re paying a membership fee, not all the content is free, and you can see it while you’re browsing for images. Its also got limited editing tools available, in order keep the program simple; it’s missing some of the photo tools, like photo repair or red-eye reduction which other greeting card software includes. You’ll have to use another design program if you want to make larger adjustments to the images. But if you’re not trying to get too complicated, it’s easy to drag and drop images, either ones from the service or ones you upload.
The help section of the website is remarkably helpful with tutorials and a search bar to look for information on how to perform different actions on the site. You can also contact them via Facebook messenger if you need to speak to another person. Not only does Canva offer a streamlined user experience, its templates and images are fashionable and up-to-date. If you don’t want to get bogged down with too many complicated features, Canva could be the right place to design your cards.
4. Greetings Island: Best for eCards
If you just want to send someone a quick eCard, and you're not too concerned about having high levels of customization over your card, then Greetings Island is a good place to look. You'll find a decent range of cards that cover a variety of celebrations and occasions, and while you can't actually change the design of each one, you can fully edit the message inside the card, and even insert a picture on the inside front cover. There's an option to write on the reverse of each card too, if you want to include a second message. You have a decent selection of fonts and colors to choose from for text.
The best part is that most of the designs on site are free, so all you need to do is sign up (with a very basic sign-in form) and you can send cards to anyone via their email address, or Facebook account. It's all free, although cards arrive watermarked unless you're a premium member. Premium is only a couple of dollars a month, though, so if you send a lot of eCards, it's worth it.
We've definitely seen more designs on other sites, and Greetings Island simply can't match the likes of Canva. And, while this may appeal to some, many of the designs are very 'traditional'. When we looked at the humor section, for example, many of the jokes were quite stale.
There is the option to download and print cards too, which is welcome, although we'd probably choose to use specialized software if we were printing cards. Still, it's nice to have the option. Overall, we love Greetings Island's ease of use - it's so, so simple - and the fact that it's either free, or incredibly inexpensive.
4. Hallmark Card Studio Deluxe: Best for beginners
Hallmark Card Studio Deluxe comes with thousands of graphics and templates, and they're all unmistakably Hallmark. In addition to offering prewritten phrases for special occasions typical of most greeting card software, Hallmark provides a database of etiquette tips for cards too, and these suggestions help you to write appropriate statements for delicate situations.
The beginner support program provides links to a tutorial on almost every page and neatly organizes tools so they aren’t overwhelming. Hallmark Card Studio Deluxe comes with a photo editing suite that allows you to can enhance your cards by changing tones, focus and colors, adding special effects and other adjustments. When you have finished your creations, you can print them out or share them directly to Facebook, YouTube or via email. This program lets you import music and audio so you can create eCards with personalized sound.
Hallmark has also released a standard edition of this software for about $20 less. It comes with less clip art and fewer templates than the already graphic-lite deluxe version. It’s also missing some of the more advanced photo and editing tools but it offers the same sentiment assistance at a lower price.
5. Fotor: A free editor with modern designs
If you're a little intimidated by both Adobe Spark and Canva, but still want to design your cards online, then Fotor is a good alternative. You can use the free version to create designs that are classy, modern, and well laid-out. Admittedly, some of the templates are a little basic, but there are enough well-designed ones to make up for it.
The final quality of your cards is good, and it's easy to use stock imagery or upload your own pictures to the site. There are few editing options, though, which can be a good or bad thing. It does simplify the site for users, but it also limits options especially when compared to the competition. You can download any of your cards to your computer, store them in the cloud, and export them to various things like email or social media. Add stickers to each one to jazz it up, but you won't be able to animate cards as there are no options for this.
Another drawback is that although Fotor is free, there are a lot of ads serving into the page while you're creating your cards, and you are encouraged to upgrade to the premium version at regular intervals. Tutorials are in the settings tab, and they do a job.
6. Print Master Platinum: Best for designing your own elements
PrintMaster Platinum from Broderbund has graphic design and photo editing tools, which make it a good choice if you’re interested in designing your own images or importing elements from other graphic design programs.
Even though PrintMaster comes with over 150,000 graphics and nearly 5,000 templates, they aren’t all high quality. For example, we saw pixilation in many of the pieces of clip art. However, the software’s tools are easy enough to use, so you can incorporate your own elements to create unique designs. Not even the best programs we reviewed have full graphics editing suites, but PrintMaster’s tools are sufficient to create new designs. The software also includes helpful layouts for other projects, including invitations and calendars, so you aren’t limited to creating greeting cards. PrintMaster is compatible with Avery templates, so it has many printing options.
How we tested the best greeting card software
We tested the best greeting card software by getting hands-on with the programs, evaluating them for things like ease of use and the quality of the available templates. We found that the best software doesn't always come with the highest number of templates; instead, these programs focus on quality over quantity, while also giving you control over things like color, font, background and cropping size.
How important are pre-made templates?
It’s critical to choose greeting card software with all the tools you need to create a custom card at home. From our tests, we found that the best greeting card software is easy – and even fun – to use. It should also have an abundance of templates, along with various design elements, editing tools and sharing options.
Templates and Stock Images. The best greeting card software should house thousands of templates and graphics to choose from. Whether you’re looking for a birthday or anniversary card, or want to congratulate a friend or family member on graduation or engagement, good greeting card programs have you covered. Make sure the program you choose gives you multiple choices within each category, as well as the ability to personalize the cards. Also look for blank card options, where you can create a card from scratch and add your own artistic flair.
It isn’t uncommon for these programs to have tens of thousands of clip art images, so if you find a program only offering a few thousand, you can likely do better. Some of these also offer templates for slideshows.
What features should be in the best greeting card software?
Creative options. When you're designing a greeting card, it all comes down to how creative you want to get. Do you want to design everything from scratch, to include custom colors, graphics and maybe even music that you know your recipient will like? Or do you want a pre-built greeting card that you can briefly customize to save time?
Answering these questions will help you identify which creative options to look for in greeting card software. Most users like a mix of templates and custom design features so you can refer to pre-made designs and create something new of your own. All good software should allow you to easily upload images, adjust rotation and size, and overlay text too.
Price. You can choose between completely free, ad-supported tools or opt for high-end options that come at a hefty price but offer impressive features. Ads can be annoying but if you have a small budget, it can be better to pick a free tool so you can invest money in custom graphics and artwork. If you have a bigger budget, you can get a custom card designed for you.
File sharing. Once you've finished creating your desired greeting card, it's time to send it. Some software offers direct sharing options via email, message, social media, etc., while others only let you download the image so you can send it yourself. If you are sending these cards to a large number of people, it's best to choose software with sufficient file sharing options to minimize the hassle. Conversely, if you want to print out a custom card you made as a gift, any free tool will offer you the option to save your design on your device.
Ease of Use. The best greeting card software includes an approachable and intuitive interface that users of any skill level can navigate. It should also offer solid customer support options, both direct and indirect, with more than one way to contact support representatives. Also, look for tutorials and informational resources on the company’s website.