6 Best Free Video Editing Software Programs for 2018

Edit video on your PC or Mac with one of these free video editors

An image of a person working at a video editing board in a newsroom.

 Getty Images

Using free video editing software is an easy and convenient way to edit your videos. Plus, most of them are so easy to use that they're great for beginning editors.

You might want a video editor if you need to extract audio from a video or add different audio, cut out parts of the video, add subtitles, build a DVD menu, merge video files together, or fade a video in or out. Most vloggers need a video editor of some kind.

Because most free video editors limit their features to advertise their professional versions, you may find roadblocks that stop you from doing more advanced edits. For editors with more features, but that aren't free, check out mid-level digital video software or these top professional video editing programs.

Note: If you need to convert your video files to different file formats like MP4, MKV, MOV, etc., this list of free video converters has some great options.

OpenShot
Wikimedia Commons

Editing videos with OpenShot is extraordinary when you see the list of its amazing features. You can download it absolutely free on not only Windows and Mac but also Linux.

A few of the supported features in this free editor includes desktop integration for drag-and-drop, image and audio support, curve-based Key Frame animations, unlimited tracks and layers, and 3D animated tiles and effects.

OpenShot is also good for clip resizing, scaling, trimming, snapping, and rotation, plus motion picture credit scrolling, frame stepping, time-mapping, audio mixing, and real-time previews.

Download OpenShot

The fact that you get all of this for free is reason enough to download it yourself and try it out before you purchase a video editor.

What We Like

  • The easy to use interface.
  • It's Open Source.
  • Great user forums.

What We Don't Like

  • The application has multiple layers of setup.
  • Occasional lag. 
VideoPad/NCH Software

Another video editing software program for both Windows and Mac is VideoPad, from NCH Software. It's 100 percent free for non-commercial use.

It supports drag-and-drop, effects, transitions, 3D video editing, text and caption overlay, video stabilization, easy narration, free built-in sound effects, and color control.

Download VideoPad

VideoPad can also change the video speed, reverse the video, burn DVDs, import music, and export movies to YouTube (and other similar sites) and a variety of resolutions (like 2K and 4K).

What We Like

  • Supports a wide range of video formats.
  • Easy to install and use.

What We Don't Like

  • Lacks advanced features.
Freemake Video
Wikimedia Commons

Freemake Video Converter functions mainly as a free video converter, which is why I've added it to this list. However, its simple and easy-to-use editing features is what sets it apart from some of the more complex and confusing editors.

Being able to do some light editing to your videos is great when you can also use the same tool to convert the file to a variety of other formats, or even burn the files directly to a disc.

Download Freemake Video Converter

Some of the video editing features of this program includes adding subtitles, clipping out sections you don't want in the video, removing or adding audio, and merging/joining videos together.

Freemake Video Converter Review

What We Like

  • Supports many input formats.
  • Burn files directly to a disc.
  • Easy-to-use editing features.

What We Don't Like

  • May require purchase of needed features.
  • Can be slow to make conversions.
  • Limited number of output formats.
VSDC Free Video Editor
Wikimedia Commons

VSDC is a full-featured free video editing tool that you can install on Windows. A fair warning though: this program might be a little hard to use for beginners because of the sheer number of features and menus.

However, if you poke around for while and play with your videos within the editor, you'll find that it's not quite as daunting as it was when you first opened it.

There's even a wizard you can run to make things easier. Some of things you can do is add lines, text, and shapes, as well as charts, animations, images, audio, and subtitles. Plus, as any good video editor should, VSDC can export videos to a variety of file formats. 

Download VSDC Free Video Editor

The VSDC Video Editor setup also lets you easily install their video capture program and screen recorder. These are of course optional but they may come in handy in certain projects.

What We Like

  • Has a few features you won't find anywhere else.
  • Exports to a variety of file formats.
  • Includes an optional screen recorder.

What We Don't Like

  • It's not super user-friendly.
  • The free version can be slow or laggy.
iMovie
Apple

iMovie is completely free for macOS. It offers many options for editing video and audio plus adding photos, music, and narration to your videos.

Download iMovie for iOS

One of my favorite features of iMovie is its ability to make 4K-resolution movies, and you can even start doing so from your iPhone or iPad and then finish it on your Mac. That's pretty cool!

What We Like

  • Easy-to-use interface.
  • Plenty of tools to improve video and audio quality.
  • Supports 4K.

What We Don't Like

  • Limited features available.
  • Output controls could be more robust.

 

Movie Maker
Wikimedia Commons

Movie Maker was Windows' pre-installed free video editing software. While it is no longer pre-installed, you can still download this application from some third-parties and use it to create and share high-quality movies.

Download Windows Movie Maker

It's included in this list because it's already on lots of Windows computers, which means you might not even need to download anything in order to start using it.

Windows Movie Maker Review

What We Like

  • User-friendly, with a classic Microsoft feel.
  • Great for beginning video editors.

What We Don't Like

  • Limited functionality.

Free Online Editing Software Options

If you've tried out these video editing programs but would prefer some other options, or you're more interested in editing videos online for free, there are several online editors that function in the same way as these downloadable tools. These services are great for re-editing and remixing web videos, and some even let you produce DVDs of your videos.