Thanks for compiling these resources Laura. I’m looking into the Focus Booster app right now. It does require installing Adobe AIR, so I have to weigh having yet another piece of Adobe software on my computers.
35+ of Your Favorite Software Tools
Posted December 26, 2011 in Tools/Resources
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.)
These software tools can help you run your freelancing business:
- Basecamp–Allows you to manage projects using online collaboration tools.
- curdbee–Helps you with invoicing and billing. The lowest level package is free.
- Quoterobot –Helps you to create quotes and proposals.
- WORKetc–Allows freelancers to manage projects, bills, and more.
Since most freelancers have a blog, these blogging tools can help:
- LiveJournal–Site allows you to create a journal for free. You’ll get the chance to interact with thousands of other LiveJournal participants.
- Windows Live Writer–Create blog posts and preview them online.
- WordPress–Can be loaded onto your own site. You can also blog directly on the WordPress site at WordPress.com. WordPress is free.
If you’re a freelance designer, you may be interested in one or more of these tools:
- Adobe Suite and Design Premium–The suite packages of Adobe apps was at the top of the list for many.
- Adobe Illustrator–Allows you to draw and to modify drawings.
- Adobe Indesign–Page layout tool for online publishers.
- Inkscape–Open source tool allows you to edit SVG graphics.
These software tools are of particular interest to web developers and programmers:
- Aptana Studio–Development tool for open source IDE development.
- E Text Editor–Use this text editor to manipulate files quickly and easily.
- Geany–Text editor based on GTK2 toolkit. This software is licensed under the terms of the GNU General Public License.
- Greenshot–Open source tool that allows you to make screenshots.
- Netbeans–Lets you develop Java, PHP, and C/C++ apps. This package is open-source and free
- Notepad++–Free source code editor.
- Zend Studio–Development and debugging tool for PHP applications.
Every freelancer needs an email package to stay in touch with clients and colleagues. Here are your favorites:
These software tools didn’t fit into any particular category:
- 1password–Helps you track and manage your passwords. Includes a version for Mac, Windows, Ipad, Ipod, Iphone, and Android.
- Excel–Spreadsheet application is great for crunching numbers or keeping metrics.
- 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:
Photo Manipulation Tools
For photo manipulation, you liked these software tools:
- Adobe Photoshop–Digital imaging and photography editing.
- GIMP–GIMP is a free tool for image composition and photo retouching.
- Photoshop Lightroom–Helps you to manage, edit, and manipulate photographs.
Every freelancer needs to work more effectively. Here are your favorite productivity tools:
- Dropbox–Allows you to access files from multiple computers by storing them online. This tool is free for Windows, Mac, Linux, and mobile use.
- Evernote–Helps you to save ideas and find them when you need them. This app is free.
- Focus Booster–Free online timer helps you to use the pomodoro technique to finish your tasks.
- OS X: Launchbar–Tool for the Mac that acts as a super efficient file manager.
- DragThing–Another Mac tool to help you organize your files.
These were your favorite word processing software packages:
- Google Docs–Google tool lets you create and share documents online.
- Microsoft Word–Popular word processing tool from Microsoft.
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
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December 26th, 2011 at 11:48 am
December 26th, 2011 at 2:35 pm
Thanks for sharing these useful software tools. Very helpful.
December 26th, 2011 at 2:46 pm
Coding: Vim. My Vim setup is available on Github at https://github.com/VeggieMeat/Drupal-Git-Vim and is constantly updated as I make local adjustment. Why use a resource hog?
Debugging: XHProf and Xdebug.
I’d also list Gimp under Design Tools, especially since I can’t (in good conscience) purchase an Adobe product.
December 26th, 2011 at 3:38 pm
John Soares–I understand. I have heard some good things about Focus Booster.
Social Bullets, No problem.
Hi Brian Altenhofel! Thanks for your additions. It’s true, some of these resources may fit under multiple categories (such as Gimp).
December 26th, 2011 at 4:49 pm
Thanks! This is a really helpful article. I love how you list all the resources in order. Thanks!
December 27th, 2011 at 1:47 am
I have a couple of additions for your list. First is Shoeboxed (one of your advertisers, no less), which is great for handling receipts, business cards, and documents. I love that it’s based in Durham, N.C., and started by a bunch of Duke U. grads, since I went there too. Look for it at shoeboxed.com.
My time tracker is a great program out of Norway called “Yast.” It’s found at yast.com. Yast has been really flexible and full of great reports. It is at this very moment rolling out a bunch of new business-oriented and collaboration-oriented features. I recommend a look.
I second the recommendation for Evernote. It’s absolutely exceptional.
Finally, I am among the scores of people who just cannot seem to find the right task manager for the GTD (Getting Things Done) method by David Allen. I’ve tried “Things,” a Mac program also available for iPad and iPhone. Expensive and comprehensive, but terribly hobbled by lack of wireless syncing except via local wifi networks. So these days I’m giving a try to Wunderlist (wunderlist.com), a gorgeous online task manager developed in Berlin, Germany, with a beautiful app for iPhone and even better for iPad.
I’m also trying “Priority Matrix” for Mac and iPhone. And I’m trying a promising task management collaboration system called Action Method, at actionmethod.com. It doesn’t get a lot of publicity, but I’m impressed with its web-based interface.
If none of those well, I think I will shell out the big bucks for OmniFocus for Mac, iPhone, and — eventually — iPad. It has a great reputation and it comes from a solid company.
December 27th, 2011 at 8:45 am
Great list, Laura. I’ll keep this one handy so I can look at the tools I’m not using.
December 27th, 2011 at 9:02 am
Great list Laura. Most of us here use Notational Velocity in parallel with Simplenote. All our desktops and mobile devices are connected to the same account. Its great way to communicate fast updates and client changes with everyone. Am going to try Evernote now and how it can benefit us further :)
December 27th, 2011 at 10:06 am
Douglass Davidoff: You might check out http://darrencrawford.com/my-simple-gtd-evernote-combo/ . I have a few friends who use the GTD method and have recommended this. (I personally use the Agile Results method, but also in Evernote.)
December 27th, 2011 at 10:35 am
Douglass Davidoff–I love your additions. BTW, some software was not included simply because it wasn’t mentioned by freelancers in the original post at the time this post was written. :)
Sharon Hurley Hall, Glad you are finding it useful.
Morgan & Me Creative & Brian Altenhofel–Thanks for adding your own useful software picks.
Keep the ideas coming!
ArturoDecember 27th, 2011 at 1:58 pm
I have and addition to your list: LibreOffice (or OpenOffice) to manage all kind of documents, and for free.
December 28th, 2011 at 1:56 am
great compilation…was really pleased to see ubuntu linux in the list…its really an awesome OS
December 28th, 2011 at 11:08 am
I’m currently using BidSketch http://www.bidsketch.com for proposals and it’s been very nice. I have cut my proposal creating time in half.
Also, if you’re a designer looking to gather feedback from clients, try Notable http://www.notableapp.com/. It’s pretty nice as well.
December 28th, 2011 at 5:38 pm
I must admit I was looking for more free tools here. Some have free versions, true, but still. Excel, for example, can be easily replaced by Google Docs Spreadsheets, and HappyTodos (http:///www.happytodos.com) can replace Basecamp in terms of project management.
@Douglass – I’m with you on trying everything to to get the right task manager – I found Wunderlist a bit limited, to tell the truth (gorgeous design, though).
December 29th, 2011 at 4:13 pm
I was going to add Open Office as an alternative to excel but someone beat me to it. Works very similarly to excel.
I’m excited to check out curdbee – thanks for the tip!
December 30th, 2011 at 1:04 pm
Thank you! Maybe add OpenOffice to free editors list?
Alex from Ukraine, freelance web developer
January 6th, 2012 at 2:03 am
OOh! Useful! Bookmarked for future reference!
Byron CanupJanuary 6th, 2012 at 2:00 pm
Great list with a ton of great time-savers. Dropbox is huge for us especially because it links to RightSignature’s e-signature sender (not on the list). If you ever need to get signatures I would highly recommend the pair. Anything you put in dropbox can be sent out and signed in 5 minutes.
January 27th, 2012 at 6:17 am
Great list of excellent tools. I havent´t known Greenshot – it´s great. Thanks !
April 19th, 2012 at 5:50 am
Wow, you really use a lot of tools. I’m sure I will find something good in that list, ty for sharing
AmbrrFebruary 20th, 2013 at 11:24 am
Gr8 list of tools, Thanks :)!!
I would also like to mention SWproposal
It is a unique tool which helps you create professional and attractive software proposals, it is all in one system for software Development Company or freelancers.
AmbrrFebruary 20th, 2013 at 11:25 am
YauhenMarch 21st, 2013 at 9:54 am
The best software that helps me to run my freelancing business is Quoteroller (www.quoteroller.com) . It really helps to cut time on creating proposals more than in half.
May 17th, 2013 at 11:07 am
SW Proposal is professional tool for creating software project proposals and CRM for software development companies and freelancers
October 19th, 2013 at 2:29 pm
Good day! This is my first visit to your blog! We are a group of
volunteers and stareting a new initiative in a community in the same niche.
Your blog provided uus useful information to work on.
You have done a extraordinary job!
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