What’s better than free?: March/April 2011

5 software business tools available for use now

By: Harman Gill

As we move to an increasingly digitized world, software is becoming an even more important part of our lives. And, there’s a lot of software available for free. Check out the following ways to kick your technology use up a notch.

1. Open Office (http://www.openoffice.org/)

  • OpenOffice.org 3 is the leading open-source office software suite for word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, graphics, databases and more. It is available in many languages and works on all common computers. For example, you can open a Microsoft Word document, edit and print it without purchasing MS Office.

2. Google Documents (http://docs.google.com/)

  • This software facilitates collaboration on spreadsheets, presentations and word processing documents. It also serves as an online repository for documents. You can even set different sharing and permission levels for each document.

3. Skype (http://www.skype.com/)

  • Skype uses the Internet to make phone calls. A call between two computers (Skype-to-Skype) is free, no matter how far apart the computers. It also allows for video calls. At the time of publishing, you could also call any phone in the U.S or Canada for $2.99 per month. That’s a price that’s hard to beat.

4. Cute PDF Writer (http://www.cutepdf.com/products/cutepdf/writer.asp)

  • The Portable Document Format (PDF) is the standard for the secure and reliable distribution and exchange of electronic documents and forms around the world. CutePDF Writer (formerly CutePDF Printer) is a free version of commercial PDF creation software. CutePDF Writer installs itself as a printer. This enables virtually any Windows application to create professional-quality PDF documents — with just a push of a button!

5. ZoomIt (http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/bb897434.aspx)

  • ZoomIt is a screen-zoom and annotation tool for presentations. ZoomIt zooms in on an area of the screen. You can move around while zoomed in, and even draw on the zoomed-in image. Use it in all your presentations. ZoomIt works on all versions of Windows and you can use the “pen” tool on tablet PCs.

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