The best greeting card software is the best way to add a personal touch to your gifts – no matter whether you're celebrating the festive season or sending a loved one a heartfelt message.
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 while using one of the best home computers. 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.
Best greeting card software
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We've tested the best greeting card software around to help you decide what the best service for you will be. While many of the options below offer paid models, there are plenty of free options available too – and these can be surprisingly good.
Best greeting card software
Adobe Spark is an obvious choice for anyone who wants a quick and easy greeting card app, for absolutely no cost. Adobe Spark's free option has a range of templates for greeting cards, as well as options for posters, invites, and more.
Registering is easy, with the only requirement being a social media account or an email address. Once you've logged in you will get instant access to a whole range of design options and over 960,000 stock images. If none of these images suit you, then you can upload your own image and use that instead. While we were testing Adobe Spark, we noticed that it can be quite hard to resize or crop the images that we uploaded, as a lot of them were not the same dimensions as the card template.
The software is easy to use, even for people with little to no design experience. During our testing, we found that changing the colors, templates, logos, and fonts was easy, and it gives you enough freedom to create any message that you like.
The final design is easy to export in various printable or common file types and can be shared via email or social media. If you wish to create an animated eCard then there are a plethora of options for that too. It has every feature that greeting card software should have – and the best part is that it's free.
Whether you're a complete beginner or an experienced greeting card maker you will find Print Artist Platinum easy to use. We found that this software helps you unlock your creative side, enabling you to import any photos, artwork or clip art that you want. The selection of over 28,000 templates enables you to create other exciting gifts such as invitations, calendars, gift tags and even clothing items such as hats and t-shirts.
Print Artist Platinum also gives you the option of over 377,000 graphics covering numerous holidays and special occasions, meaning you will almost certainly find something that suits you or the person you are making a card for.
During our testing process, we found that the editing tools were easy to learn and simple to use. With minimal effort, you can enhance the look of your cards by removing photo blemishes, adding filters, adjusting the color of your cards and even creating something brand new with the paintbrush tools.
The major aspect that sets Print Artist Platinum apart from other greeting card software is the fact that you download and install it onto your computer, rather than use it in a browser. This could be seen as a positive or a negative, depending on whether you want it to take up space on your PC, or if you are likely to need greeting card software that you can use without an internet connection.
If you don't want to spend money on the full version, then the free version of Canva can help you create a very basic greeting card, but we found that the majority of the content is locked behind a monthly paywall. For $9.95 per month, you can get instant access to over 50,000 templates and 300,000 images. The templates and images can be easily dragged and dropped into place and can be used to create a range of greeting cards and invitations or even personal projects such as business cards.
While testing Canva, we found that you still have to pay for some content on top of the monthly subscription fee, which is an unfortunate drawback. It also takes a minimalist approach to its own design, as it has few editing tools and opts for a drag-and-drop format. This is great for complete novices, but it can be a major drawback when you need to remove a blemish or use red–eye reduction, as you will need to do this elsewhere.
However, for those looking to create beautiful greeting cards without having to worry about more in-depth processes, Canva could be a great option. Not only does it have an extensive number of guides and how-tos on its website, but it also offers live support on Facebook Messenger if you want to ask a specific query.
Canva offers a user-friendly experience, and its templates and images are very clean and modern. If you want to keep things simple, or if you are a gift card novice then this could be the choice for you.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Buying advice for greeting card software
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.