Adobe Express Free Online Video Editor Review

Adobe has always responded brilliantly to professional designers and editors, with industry-standard tools like Premiere Pro and Photoshop defining modern creative workflows.

Adobe Creative Cloud Express, on the other hand, is the company’s openness to beginners (or those who simply don’t have time to tweak every little detail).

The cloud-based design platform serves free video editing softwarea free logo makerbasic photo editorand a simple graphic design tool.

Everything is set up to be as simple and accessible as possible. when we saw again other areas of the service, we found it “smooth and powerful whether you’re using a computer, tablet, or phone”, and recommended it to those looking for “a simple design tool to create anything , from posters to social media posts.”

But what do Adobe, the masters of filmmaking, offer modern creatives with its best free video editing software?

Adobe Express pricing and plans

  • Free for basic use
  • Premium features require an Adobe Creative Cloud Express subscription

Adobe promises that videos edited in Express are “free forever” – and that extends to any design, in any medium, that you create in the cloud-based design platform.

If that sounds generous from a company famous for its creative cloud subscription packages, you’d be right. While there are plenty of freebies available, like templates and pre-made elements, there are plenty more hidden behind – what else? – a Creative Cloud Express subscription.

The plan is priced at $9.99/£9.98 per month, or $99.99/£99.98 per year, providing access to Adobe Premiere Rushphotoshop express, Adobe Spark, in addition to unlocking additional design elements and features in the video editor. It’s also available in Adobe’s extensive Creative Cloud All Apps subscription.

Get started with Adobe Express

Selecting your first template in the Adobe Express video editor

(Image credit: Adobe)
  • Simple to start
  • Includes themed templates

When you first launch the free online video editor, you’re not greeted by the timeline and media viewer you’ll find in just about every other video editing software (and that includes Premiere Pro , Premiere Rush and Adobe Premiere assets).

Instead, you start by giving your project a title or story, then select a template that matches the type of video you’re producing, such as “Promoting an Idea,” “A Hero’s Journey,” and “Teaching a lesson “. Each template populates the timeline with tables explaining what each clip should represent, in what order.

It’s a paint-by-numbers trick, as easy as 1-2-3, and great for anyone who doesn’t have much experience with video editing or storytelling software in general. Or marketing teams that need a streamlined, factory-like process to make it easier to regularly create and publish video content.

Once you’ve decided on your template or decided to start from scratch, you can start cutting clips together. From there, the video editing process becomes much more recognizable.

Adobe Express interface and experience

Trim clips in Adobe Express

(Image credit: Adobe)
  • Basic editing functionality
  • Accessible interface

If you have already tried Video on canvasthe popular design platform’s free video editing app, you’ll be immediately familiar with the Adobe Express video editor (and that goes for its graphic design offerings too, with Adobe embracing the same simple user experience that has helped Canva’s popularity to increase during the pandemic).

In our Canva Video review, we called it “a simple, simplistic program that’s great for short videos and social media assets.” However, we noted that its lack of power, basic workflow and lack of effects meant it wouldn’t satisfy professional video editors.

The Adobe Express video editor is largely designed for the same goals: short, simple videos suitable for social sharing.

The interface reflects this accessible approach. A timeline sits at the bottom of the screen, with styling controls to the right, allowing you to choose a layout, such as full-screen or split-screen, and add a theme (essentially filtered overlay).

Stealing the show is the viewer. Unlike most video editing apps, you don’t just preview media here; by clicking on the + button, you have the possibility to add your videos, texts, photos or icons. At the bottom of the viewer is a microphone button. Press and hold to record narration over the highlighted clip.

Inserting Text into Video Editing in Adobe Express

(Image credit: Adobe)

As you’d expect from the vendors of Photoshop and Lightroom, you can upload photos directly from your Adobe Creative Cloud storage. But there’s also featured photo cloud storage support for Dropbox, Google Photos, and Google Drive.

Everything professionals and students need to create an engaging slideshow presentation.

Oddly enough, there is no such option for videos. When you press the video button, you need to make sure that it is accessible from File Explorer or Finder. It gets unnecessarily convoluted from there. The best video editing software tends to allow you to upload multiple files at once, drop them into the timeline, and trim them at will. Adobe Express is following a different track.

You download only one video each time (unfortunately, dragging and dropping multiples from File Explorer to the viewer only opens the first selected video). Be careful here. If you don’t select the correct image on the timeline before downloading, each new video will overwrite the previous one.

Next, trim your clip using the trim handles, before saving. You can always go back and make more changes by tapping the pencil icon. This is where you can adjust a clip’s volume, zoom in, and use the opaque name “Continue Clip” – a way to split a clip at the last cut and continue it on a new frame.

At this point, as the editing app processes the video and adds it to your timeline, you realize that, perhaps, Express is a misnomer. Because it’s slow. But once the video is in place, you’re free to hit the + again and add to your masterpiece.

  • User experience rating: 3/5

Adobe Express design resources and download

Adding Icons in Adobe Express Free Online Video Editor

(Image credit: Adobe)
  • Includes free stock images, music and graphic design resources
  • Limited to MP4 downloads

To give your clips an extra professional touch, the Adobe Express video editor offers a range of pre-made design elements and royalty-free music – the library isn’t extensive, but there’s just enough music “d ‘mood’ to find the right mood for your video. Alternatively, if you find the selection is limited or not personalized enough, you can upload your own music samples.

If you used the Canva design app, you’ll be immediately familiar with icons – simple graphics, like shapes, symbols, and even people. Unlike its rival, however, Adobe Express offers no way to customize the icon’s colors (it’s monochrome through and through) or even move the icon away from the center of the screen. It’s a baffling move from a sleek, design-driven company.

Elsewhere you can access photo bank. And this is where Adobe Express drifts towards the freemium model. While we found the free selection to be just about generous, many images are locked behind the Creative Cloud Express paywall, indicated by the gold crown in the corner of these ‘premium’ snaps.

Unlike Canva, Adobe won’t let you test premium photos with a watermark on them. So you can’t even see what they would look like in the final video to see if it’s worth a subscription.

When you are happy with the cut, press download. Don’t worry about the extra controls and options here. There are not any. Your video is in MP4 format – it’s up to you to convert videos in your preferred format (or use Adobe Express to convert it to GIF). In our tests, videos generally took about three times as long to render and download.

Adobe Express Video Editor Dashboard

Attributes Remarks Score
Assess Free, with upgrade to Creative Cloud Express subscription 4/5
Easy start Accessible and simple to start editing videos 5/5
User experience Clean and quite intuitive, but with frustrating interface choices 3/5
Features Lots of free design elements, images and music 4/5

Should I try?

The Adobe Express splash screen

(Image credit: Adobe)

Try it if…

Don’t try if…

Also think…

To find how we test, review and rate on TechRadar.

First revised July 22, 2022


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