35+ of Your Favorite Software Tools

What software tools do freelancers love to use? Whether you’re a seasoned freelancer, or just getting started, there’s a tool that is right for you.

We’ve written plenty of posts about resources for freelancers. A few months ago, however, we asked you to share your favorite software tools. Many of you did just that.

In this post, we list those software tools that you said you loved in one convenient place–over 35 of them! We also invite those of you who may have missed the original open thread to once again share your favorite software with us. (Note: Some of these tools are open source or freeware although some do cost money. Where possible, I’ve identified the free tools.)

Administrative Tools

These software tools can help you run your freelancing business:

  1. Basecamp–Allows you to manage projects using online collaboration tools.
  2. curdbee–Helps you with invoicing and billing. The lowest level package is free.
  3. Quoterobot –Helps you to create quotes and proposals.
  4. WORKetc–Allows freelancers to manage projects, bills, and more.

Blogging Tools

Since most freelancers have a blog, these blogging tools can help:

  1. LiveJournal–Site allows you to create a journal for free. You’ll get the chance to interact with thousands of other LiveJournal participants.
  2. Windows Live Writer–Create blog posts and preview them online.
  3. WordPress–Can be loaded onto your own site. You can also blog directly on the WordPress site at WordPress.com. WordPress is free.

Design Tools

If you’re a freelance designer, you may be interested in one or more of these tools:

  1. Adobe Suite and Design Premium–The suite packages of Adobe apps was at the top of the list for many.
  2. Adobe Illustrator–Allows you to draw and to modify drawings.
  3. Adobe Indesign–Page layout tool for online publishers.
  4. Inkscape–Open source tool allows you to edit SVG graphics.

Development Tools

These software tools are of particular interest to web developers and programmers:

  1. Aptana Studio–Development tool for open source IDE development.
  2. E Text Editor–Use this text editor to manipulate files quickly and easily.
  3. Firebug–Open source tool to help you debug HTML and JavaScript.
  4. Geany–Text editor based on GTK2 toolkit. This software is licensed under the terms of the GNU General Public License.
  5. Greenshot–Open source tool that allows you to make screenshots.
  6. Netbeans–Lets you develop Java, PHP, and C/C++ apps. This package is open-source and free
  7. Notepad++–Free source code editor.
  8. Zend Studio–Development and debugging tool for PHP applications.

Email Tools

Every freelancer needs an email package to stay in touch with clients and colleagues. Here are your favorites:

  1. gmail–Google’s email package.
  2. Yahoo! Mail— Another favorite email service.


These software tools didn’t fit into any particular category:

  1. 1password–Helps you track and manage your passwords. Includes a version for Mac, Windows, Ipad, Ipod, Iphone, and Android.
  2. Excel–Spreadsheet application is great for crunching numbers or keeping metrics.
  3. Keepass–An open source tool to help you remember your passwords. This tool is open source.

Operating Systems & Web Browsers

This browser and this operating system are your top choices:

  1. Chrome–Web browser from Google.
  2. Ubuntu Linux –Top-notch open source operating system.

Photo Manipulation Tools

For photo manipulation, you liked these software tools:

  1. Adobe Photoshop–Digital imaging and photography editing.
  2. GIMP–GIMP is a free tool for image composition and photo retouching.
  3. Photoshop Lightroom–Helps you to manage, edit, and manipulate photographs.

Productivity Tools

Every freelancer needs to work more effectively. Here are your favorite productivity tools:

  1. Dropbox–Allows you to access files from multiple computers by storing them online. This tool is free for Windows, Mac, Linux, and mobile use.
  2. Evernote–Helps you to save ideas and find them when you need them. This app is free.
  3. Focus Booster–Free online timer helps you to use the pomodoro technique to finish your tasks.
  4. OS X: Launchbar–Tool for the Mac that acts as a super efficient file manager.
  5. DragThing–Another Mac tool to help you organize your files.

Word Processing

These were your favorite word processing software packages:

  1. Google Docs–Google tool lets you create and share documents online.
  2. Microsoft Word–Popular word processing tool from Microsoft.

Your Turn

We freelancers need our software tools, but I’m sure this list is not complete. Did you miss the original post? Is your favorite software tool missing?

Why not add your favorite software tool (and a brief description) in the comments below?

Image by Brett Jordan