At Vimeo, we empower creators to, well, create. And creativity isn’t found in files or assets — it’s found in the doing. And with simple, intuitive video creation tools, doing editing work on videos is easier than ever.
Whether you’re looking for simple, straightforward video editing software or more complex programs, we have you covered. Check out our answers to some of the most popular questions about video editing platforms, and discover our pros and cons for 10 of today’s top video editing programs.
In this guide:
5 fundamental considerations before choosing a video editing software
If you want to figure out which video editing software is right for you, the first thing you’ll need to do is determine your needs. Take a look at five questions you can answer that will help match you to the right tools.
1. What kinds of videos will you be editing?
This is a great, open-ended question to get you started. Just what kinds of videos will you be editing? Are they long or short? Do they use multiple cameras and angles, or are they all one shot? Do you have intro and outro sequences? What is the overall level of professionalism that you’d like the videos to convey?
2. Do you need your videos to live in the cloud?
Where do you want your video to reside once it’s exported and uploaded online? Is the video something that you want to live in cloud storage and be accessible to anyone anywhere? Or is your project meant for internal audiences, and the video file lives on your computer or private network?
3. How long do you want to spend on video editing?
Your video-editing approach can vary for many reasons, but one of the biggest factors affecting your workflow is how long you want to spend editing. Is this a project that you need to edit and upload in a few minutes, or in a matter of hours? Or is it something that you can spend all day if not all week working on to perfect every little detail?
4. Do you want a free tool or would a subscription work best?
You also need to determine your budget — and not just in terms of time and resources, but also in how much cash you’re able to spend on editing your project. Are you looking for a free editing tool that you can use simply and easily without a commitment? Or does your budget allow for a subscription-based platform?
5. What features are must-haves for your business?
Finally, the last question has to do with what features are must-haves for your project’s needs. Videos these days can offer lots of bells and whistles, from AI enhancements, different styles, looks, flashy effects, and animations to more practical features like click-through links and other call-to-action (CTA) elements. Ask yourself what you feel your video needs to be successful and justify the time and resources spent on your edit.
The top 10 video editing software and tools (from least to most complex)
While keeping your answers to the questions above in mind, let’s take a look at some of the popular video editing software and tools currently available online.
- Adobe Express
- VSDC Video Editor
- Adobe Premiere Pro
- DaVinci Resolve 17
- Final Cut Pro X
- Avid Media Composer
The video editing software and platforms below are listed, for the most part, from least to most complex. Beginners will likely want to check out those closer to the top of the list.
1. Best for beginners: Vimeo
Vimeo offers simple-to-use online video editing and trimming tools that allow creators to make and edit videos quickly. With Vimeo Create, users can browse hundreds of pre-formatted template options or start from scratch and add graphics, stock footage, and more to customize videos within the Create editor. And with one-take video creation and editing, users can quickly and easily edit videos by simply editing their transcript, and delete filler words like “um” and long pauses in a single click.
- Free online video editor for Vimeo members.
- 500 professionally designed templates for marketing, corporate communications, ecommerce, social media, and more.
- Smart video editor helps you create professional-looking, polished videos in a matter of minutes (yes, minutes!). Think of it as your personal virtual video production team.
- The ability to add your brand kit.
- Access to hundreds of guides, blog posts, tips, and tutorials from industry professionals and experts in the Vimeo community.
- Vimeo allows for only one brand kit.
2. Best for busy creators: Adobe Express (formerly Adobe Spark)
Released in 2016 (and as a combination of Adobe’s previous web tools, Voice and Slate), Adobe Express is a free-to-use online video editor that’s great for creators. Adobe Express allows users to create flyers, banners, Instagram Reels, TikTok videos, and more.
- Free online video editor that lets you intuitively drag and drop and combine clips and add art and music to videos.
- Tons of free and easy-to-use professionally designed templates for easy art direction.
- AI video editor feature lets you type in the image you want, and Adobe Express generates it.
- Integration with linked Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator allows for easy team collaboration and a quick upload-to-export process.
- Editing capabilities are not timeline-based.
- No advanced features or controls as the free version is limited (a paid version is available).
- Limited number of templates and customization, and access for Android users is limited.
- Each slide in Adobe Express is limited to 30 seconds of video.
3. Best for quick editing on a Mac: iMovie
While not as sophisticated as Premiere Pro or Final Cut Pro — yet not as straightforward as Vimeo Create or Adobe Spark — iMovie is a solid video editor software that offers a good mix of both worlds. This Mac-based app is free to use and comes pre-installed on most iPhones and iOS products. It allows for basic timeline editing for trimming, transitions, simple color, filters, and audio editing controls.
- Free to use on Mac and most Apple products.
- Interface is user-friendly, and the timeline editor is simple to use, even for beginners.
- Built-in special effects and video enhancement — choose from a variety of filters, music, and soundtracks.
- Color-matching feature helps separate video files look and feel consistent.
- Only compatible with Mac — Android users can’t use iMovie on their devices.
- Simple tool selection means limited controls for advanced features for color, motion, and audio/visual effects.
- Does not support multi-cam capabilities or motion tracking and is limited to two tracks of video.
- Inability to work with high-resolution video footage and certain MP4 files.
4. Best for quick editing on a PC: VSDC Video Editor
VSDC is an online video editor that has both free and paid versions. It doesn’t have a trial period, so the free version is always free. The online video editing software has a clean and simple user interface and offers users a wide variety of functions. And unlike a couple of other free video editor tools on this list, VSDC is only available for PCs running Microsoft Windows.
- Videos export without branded watermarks, even with the free version.
- Lightweight system requirements mean PCs don’t have to be super powerful to run it.
- Entry-level online video maker is great for beginners.
- Supports many different formats and file types.
- Software interface is not as user-friendly as some of the others on this list.
- No video preview in the timeline editor.
- No “help” feature for those who need to troubleshoot or figure out how to work the editing features.
- No video stabilization or motion tracking.
5. Best easy video editor online: FlexClip
With FlexClip, you can edit videos online with ease. It has a simple interface for ease of use and flexibility, so you can create both personal and professional videos. FlexClip offers thousands of templates for education, business, real estate, and more. It offers a variety of pricing options, including a free account.
- Edit a video online easily with FlexClip’s intuitive user interface.
- Large community of creators and users that you can turn to for tips and advice.
- Constant updates to the software mean you can likely create any type of video (e.g., brand and marketing videos, social media shorts, etc.).
- Platform supports all popular video formats: MOV, WebM, M4V, MP4, and more.
- Features are limited in the free version — for example, video projects longer than five minutes can’t be saved.
- Paid versions can be on the pricey side compared to others on this list.
- Exporting videos can be a lengthy process.
- The platform has been known to occasionally crash, which could be frustrating if you’re mid-edit.
6. Best for professional video on a budget: Lightworks
While developed way back in 1989, Lightworks has slowly been making inroads in the film and video industry as a solid open-source NLE video editing program that can seriously rival both Premiere Pro and Final Cut Pro X. It’s a relatively easy-to-use timeline-based editor that includes beginner and advanced functions and controls for effects, transitions, and motion graphics. It is available for Windows, Mac, and Linux operating systems.
- Simple layout makes it simple for beginners to start using quickly.
- Free trial version lets users export videos without a branded watermark.
- Lots of royalty-free video and audio files to add to your footage.
- Variety of templates and filters to choose from — even in the free version.
- User interface may leave something to be desired — especially for more advanced users.
- Free version has limited capabilities; for example, YouTube exports can only be 720p.
- Users have experienced issues with syncing audio due to glitches in the free video editor.
- Free tech support isn’t offered through the video editing app.
7. Best comprehensive video editing software: Adobe Premiere Pro
Adobe Premiere Pro is currently the single most popular NLE software in the industry. It’s a great option for self-starting beginners and pros alike. Adobe Premiere Pro is easy enough to pick up but includes plenty of higher-end features and controls, like overlays.
- Ample training materials available — find what you’re looking for quickly with Adobe’s online resources.
- Adobe’s Microsoft Teams software integration allows users to share their work with other team members and collaborate easily and also sync with Adobe Creative Cloud.
- Easy-to-use timeline editor that allows users to add unlimited audio and visual files.
- Advanced features for color grading, video effects like graphics and font options for text, and motion graphics with unlimited multi-camera angles
- Can be intimidating for non-professional video editors as there’s a little bit of a learning curve to get started.
- No ready-made templates for quick edits — users have to search for and download the templates they need and import them into the program.
- Subscription pricing model can get expensive over time as it’s based on monthly or yearly payment plans.
- There are no samples of sound effects included in the software.
8. Best video editor software for high-end color: DaVinci Resolve 17
Another name on our list that might not be as well-known as iMovie, Final Cut Pro X, or Premiere Pro, Blackmagic Design’s DaVinci Resolve 17 has also slowly been making a name for itself in the professional video-editing community for years now. With its roots developed in the realm of color correction and grading, DaVinci Resolve 17 is available for macOS, Windows, and Linux and offers both a free and paid version.
- User-friendly timeline editor.
- Impressive integration of high-powered color-correction tools.
- Growing in popularity, the video maker has a large user base and is updated regularly.
- Free version is almost as powerful as the paid version.
- Still has a bit of a learning curve for beginners to get started.
- Variety of functions can lead to editing jams and random crashes.
- Even casual users will need to have some knowledge of color and audio to use to its full capabilities.
- Less demand for plugins and other tools as the software to edit video is still finding its audience.
9. Best for professional editing on a Mac: Final Cut Pro X
Apple’s Final Cut Pro is also one of the most popular NLE software products in the industry. Its timeline-based editing platform is easy to use for both novices and experts. Final Cut Pro X is a bit more complicated than Apple’s iMovie, which might be a better option for true beginners. However, Final Cut Pro X offers more advanced controls in terms of editing, effects, and color controls.
- Easy-to-use trackless timeline editor — the editing timeline “magnetically” adjusts your video clips to those you’ve dragged and dropped into place.
- Advanced features for color grading and correction, basic effects like a high-quality green-screen tool, and motion graphics elements like 2D and 3D titles and transitions.
- The software was designed for macOS, so it works great and integrates with Macs and syncs with other Apple products.
- Keeps all your video components (called “Assets”) organized in order to help you find what you need quickly.
- A slight learning curve for beginners and those who aren’t familiar with the interface.
- No built-in presets or templates included — you have to download them from third parties.
- Only compatible with Apple computers, so you won’t be able to use it with a PC.
- Some may find it a bit pricey compared to other competitor programs.
10. Best for broadcast video and film: Avid Media Composer
Avid Media Composer is a video-editing leader and a great tool for filmmakers — even in Hollywood. It’s a true end-to-end solution for users’ video editing needs. The desktop video editing software provides a variety of powerful video editing tools but also includes additional capabilities and plugins to maximize workflow. Avid Media Composer offers a free trial as well as a free version called Media Composer First.
- Robust features make it a top choice for professional video editors.
- Intuitive interface is great for intermediate beginners — you can learn how the software works without spending hours watching tutorials.
- Works with both Mac and PC operating systems.
- Variety of built-in audio and visual effects.
- Considered a professional-level video editing platform — it’s not recommended for beginners.
- Created for film and episodic television — likely “too much” for simple video creation.
- One of the most expensive platforms for editing video.
- Requires a lot of space to run at its full potential.
Video editing software FAQ
How long does it take to edit videos?
What do YouTubers use to edit videos?
What is the best mobile video editor?
What is the best free video editing software app?
Where can I find an easy video editor?
Ready to learn video editing?
No matter what editing software you choose, it’s important to remember that you’ll be learning an invaluable skill for your business in the process: the art of video storytelling.
If you’d like to read up on some editing tips and tricks, here are some helpful articles to aid you in your editing journey.
- Video editing 101: Here are 6 basic tips every beginner needs to know
- How to trim your videos on Vimeo
- How to add masterful transitions to your videos (even if you’re a total beginner)
- How to make a Vimeo Create video
- How to make a slideshow video
Once you’ve unlocked the video editing skills that you need to be successful, it should be easier to scale up production, add video content to your larger marketing and advertising strategy, and create professional looking videos in much less time.
Originally published in January 12, 2022 and updated August 18, 2023.