Menu
Five software tools to speed up your day

Five software tools to speed up your day

Check out a handful of the productivity-boosting applications, plug-ins and Web services

Let's look at some software packages that help me get more work done.

Supercharge Excel: As I've come to appreciate just how well Microsoft Excel can work, I've also gained a better understanding of its shortcomings, which is where a little US$59-per-year gem called DigDB for Excel comes in. This program from Data Instruments Group adds handy features to Excel, improves existing one, and makes the application easier to use. For everything from tracking down broken links to generating median values to trimming errant spaces, this software is certainly worth the price of admission — plus you can try it free for 15 days.

Ditch the fax machine: When I need to send a fax to my home office or receive one from there, I use TrustFax from Comodo. The service is less well known than eFax or MyFax, but what I like about it — besides its clean, easy-to-use Web interface — is its pricing options for light fax users like me. I pay TrustFax $US30 a year for a fax number, 50 outbound and 150 inbound fax pages, and online storage. To use the service I scan my document in my multifunction printer, upload the file to the TrustFax Web site, and send it off. It doesn't get much easier than that.

Make pretty pictures: Sometimes I need more than a well-crafted sentence to get my point across — I need things like boxes, circles and arrows. That's when I turn to SmartDraw, a business-graphics app from the company of the same name. After a free trial, it costs $297 (list). It's pricey, but you can often find it deeply discounted at SmartDraw's site, and if you've ever struggled to make flowcharts, time lines, mind maps, or even floor plans, you'll love it.

Try everyman's database: Though the term database strikes fear into many nontechie hearts, not all database apps require a knack for constructing clever queries. The venerable AskSam from AskSam Systems, now on version 6.1 (with 7 in beta), lets you store all sorts of data, from Word documents to e-mail to Web pages, that you can retrieve with simple, free-form word searches. I keep a close eye on several tech markets, and I use AskSam as my personal data clearinghouse. It isn't perfect — you'll spend a little time getting up to speed, and the 'Add Webpage to AskSam' feature works only with Internet Explorer (come on!) — but it's an immensely useful tool. After a free trial, the standard version is $US150; the faster Pro version is $395.

Share and share alike: Besides making it dead simple to keep documents synced among my multiple PCs, Microsoft's newly revamped FolderShare service saved my butt when my beloved home-built PC failed to boot one recent morning. Since the files that I had been working on were synced to my work notebook before I shut down, I didn't have to scramble to retrieve them from my PC's hard drive. Best of all, the beta FolderShare service remains free.

Of course, there are many other tools and tricks to get things done faster.


Follow Us

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Featured

Slideshows

Looking back at the top 15 M&A deals in NZ during 2017

Looking back at the top 15 M&A deals in NZ during 2017

In 2017, merger and acquisitions fever reached new heights in New Zealand, with a host of big name deals dominating the headlines. Reseller News recaps the most important transactions of the Kiwi channel during the past 12 months.

Looking back at the top 15 M&A deals in NZ during 2017
Kiwi channel closes 2017 with After Hours

Kiwi channel closes 2017 with After Hours

The channel in New Zealand came together to celebrate the close of 2017, as the final After Hours played out in front of a bumper Auckland crowd.

Kiwi channel closes 2017 with After Hours
Meet the top performing HP partners in NZ

Meet the top performing HP partners in NZ

HP honoured leading partners across the channel at the Partner Awards 2017 in New Zealand, recognising excellence across the entire print and personal systems portfolio.

Meet the top performing HP partners in NZ
Show Comments