I've used Photoshop to design (more or less) every website I've made in the past 9 or 10 years. I hear people going on about Fireworks saying that it's excellent for web design and prototyping.

When Adobe took over Macromedia, I was surprised that Fireworks survived so there must be something great about it to keep it going alongside, for what I can see, a very similar program.

Can anybody give me a good outline of the pros and cons of using Fireworks over Photoshop and the differences I'll need to know about before trying it out?

-- edit --

I'll be more interested to hear the little things that people do with it that makes it so useful over having massive articles pasted at me.

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    You might be interested: the Photoshop team sounds like they are considering closing the gap a bit here: blogs.adobe.com/jnack/2010/09/…
    – Hemi
    Commented Feb 21, 2011 at 4:37
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    An interesting read, that. Thanks. Interesting to see that they're incorporating this into Photoshop rather than trying to extol the virtues of Fireworks. I wonder why that is.
    – user474
    Commented Feb 21, 2011 at 9:55

8 Answers 8


I've always used Photoshop for my web designs but am going try Fireworks after reading Andre Reinegger's excellent comparison between the two:


I think the most relevant of his reasons are scaling without distortion, the states panel and the user interface panel.

  • It looks like you can, more or less, apply specific CSS styles to your objects. That's another appealing feature to add to a growing list! The UI elements look great too.
    – user474
    Commented Feb 18, 2011 at 16:37

Fireworks has a pretty nifty shape interface that lets you either play with the points / beziers of a shape or grab sections of the shape as if they were pixels at will. So you could make a square, grab one corner and stretch it out, and then use a marquee tool to grab and delete a square section of the opposite corner. I was really, really surprised that Adobe didn't grab this for Photoshop.

Back before you could move files as easily between Photoshop and Flash it was easier to do your graphics in Fireworks and import them to Flash, so lots of folks who were making Flash-intensive sites got used to working in Fireworks.

  • Ok, that's a handy one to know, I like the sound of that
    – user474
    Commented Feb 18, 2011 at 13:59

I have a love/hate relationship with Fireworks.


  • Adobe treats Fireworks like Photoshop's unwanted stepchild.
  • It feels really unpolished and even has some bugs (out of memory is my favorite).
  • When you use it you can just feel how much potential a tool like this could have. Most of the time you'll be thinking: "Wow it would be so cool to have this or this feature." Which can be really frustrating.


  • It fills a space that not many other tools occupy.
  • Easy use of pixels and vectors.
  • Hotspots and easy export to html so you can quickly show your clients the flow of a website.
  • Pages and limited master page support.
  • It feels lightweight and is easy to learn and use.

Despite all the hate I have for Fireworks I always return to it as my main tool for mock-ups and website designs. My hope is that a company which isn't Adobe creates a similar tool and gives it the love that it deserves.


I'll pile on with one more reason: Fireworks' native file format is PNG.

That means I can take graphics that I create in FW and add them directly to a pages. I don't have to create multiple versions, or keep track of the original, etc.

  • Can you make multi-layered PNGs then? I'm assuming there's also a 'save for web' option for optimisation?
    – user474
    Commented Feb 19, 2011 at 15:41
  • You probably should still export them versus using your original PNG file. There is too much vector and fireworks information you don't need and you can cut your file size down by exporting an optimized file.
    – Ryan Doom
    Commented Sep 29, 2011 at 4:19

It is capable for both pixel and vector editing with tools optimized for the needs of the web designer and for rapid prototyping.

For me it is the best/most useful tools from both Photoshop and Illustrator combined in one intuitive and easy to learn interface. So, if you are switching from Photoshop you will probably get it all in a day. I use it regularly for making wire-frames and mock-ups since it provides a much faster workflow than the other two mentioned programs.

The cons of the program are that it lacks the advanced features of Illustrator and Photoshop, its just the basics here, but for most projects you will find them more then enough.


I would say all of the above and a huge jump in time saved - if you are good at Photoshop you'll definitely be great at using Fireworks. Anything that's missing in Fireworks would have to do with Photo editing in Photoshop - What we do is start the layouts with Fireworks and whenever required use Photoshop for its awesome filters and then bring the results back into Fireworks. Since the optimization for website graphics is so much better in Fireworks we end up starting and ending with exporting from Fireworks. Just jump in and I guarantee that you'll never make another website without it.


depends on your need brother.

better you see this.


  • Cheers, a link to webdesignerdepot.com/2010/08/… would have done though! I'll read it there as I get screenshots too.
    – user474
    Commented Feb 18, 2011 at 12:34
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    Please cite your sources: webdesignerdepot.com/2010/08/… Also, it is not acceptable to just copy & paste information from one site to another, unless you're the copyright holder. (In which case it is advisable to be declared out loud) Commented Feb 18, 2011 at 12:34
  • i rectified thanks for informing..and sorry for this :|
    – Jack
    Commented Feb 18, 2011 at 12:36
  • @koiyu is that okay now?
    – Jack
    Commented Feb 18, 2011 at 12:40
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    yes it is acceptable :-) If you truly want to improve your answers, you could always summarize the article you point to or reword it to your own words; if the reference would go down sometime in the future, the community would still have access to the main points of the idea. Commented Feb 18, 2011 at 12:52

I would second all the points made in the article referenced in @Jack’s answer. But in addition the compression algorithms used by Fireworks are better than Photoshop’s. Fireworks gives you cleaner, smaller JPEGs.

For me the native vector support is a huge plus. The ability to rescale artwork on the fly rather than having to reimport or rasterize exterrnal files is a killer feature.

  • Re: the JPGs: That's good to know. Any references for this so I can see comparisons? I was caught by the vector/raster mix myself, it looks intriguing. I find that after rasterising a rounded image (in Photoshop) then resizing downwards, I can get flat edges on the top, bottom, left and right so avoiding that would be nice.
    – user474
    Commented Feb 18, 2011 at 16:12
  • I'm just quoting from personal experience, but a quick Google throws up webdesignerwall.com/general/fireworks-vs-photoshop-compression
    – duncmc
    Commented Feb 18, 2011 at 16:21
  • That's fine, it's personal experience I was after. The little things that you find useful over and above Photoshop from day to day.
    – user474
    Commented Feb 18, 2011 at 16:32