Small businesses don’t have the budget or luxury to buy expensive licenses for all the tools and software they need. With that in mind, here are 10 free productivity tools and software. Some are available through open source, GNU general public license or beta versions and others have offered a “freemium” model that offers users a free version, and upgrades as their needs and budgets grow.
Google Alerts-(www.google.com/alerts)-Keeps you in the loop on information relevant to your business. Simply enter keywords or terms you want to track and Google will email you the latest relevant news about that topic.
CardMunch-(www.cardmunch.com)-This free iPhone app converts a business card into a digital contact file stored in your phone. Simply take a photograph of the business card and the image is transcribed into a contact file for your phone.
DropBox-(www.dropbox.com)-Offers 2 gigabytes of free file storage for small businesses and is accessible from multiple locations.
YouSendIt-(www.yousendit.com)-Most email services limit the size of attachments you can send, so rather than having to courier documents, send files through this online service.
PrimoPDF-( www.primopdf.com)-Allows you to create PDFs from any application by “printing” to the PrimoPDF printer. It can also convert virtually any printable file type to PDFs.
Foxit Reader-(www.foxitsoftware.com/downloads)-An alternative to Acrobat Reader, Foxit has added features that allow you to make annotations and fill out PDF forms.
Sysinternals Suite-(technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals)-These system tools allow users to diagnose and troubleshoot PC/network issues. Non-technical people may find it a bit complicated, but it’s worth a try before paying for a technician.
Microsoft Security Essentials-(windows.microsoft.com/mse)-MSE is free security software for up to 10 PCs. Designed to be simple to use, it runs quietly and efficiently in the background so you don’t have to worry about interruptions or installing updates.
PasswordSafe-(passwordsafe.sourceforge.net)-Provides a secure and convenient way to store all of your login information. PasswordSafe stores all login information in an encrypted file you unlock with a single “master password.”
GIMP-(www.gimp.org)-An alternative to Adobe Photoshop, GIMP can be used for expert photo editing and image format conversion.
Note – Adapted from the original article published in Business in Vancouver on October 2, 2012.