Below is a list of free softwares that I use on my machine. These softwares have been very helpful and are part of my workflow. Some of them are essentials while others significantly reduce the time it takes to do certain jobs and simply improve the overall experience.
Have you ever come across a pdf but what you needed was word document version of it? Converter bot would come pretty handy in such situation converting any file formats whether txt, jpeg, csv, pdf, png, svg etc..
Peazip is a free file archiver utility app. Unlike winrar, it won’t annoy you with license expiry notice. It is open source and user friendly. For the day to day use, it works with most file formats (compared to the preinstalled version of zip that comes windows 10).
The free version of Adobe Acrobat Reader DC is good. You can easily open your PDFs however editing your PDFs is another thing entirely. While it does possess the capability to do so, that functionality does not come for free. So you would be better off switching to something like Sejda PDF Desktop. It is important to note that Sejda PDF Desktop too is not entirely free but it does however allows you to do tasks like annotation and editing of pdfs albeit there is a limit to the number of time you can use these functionality in a day (3 per day), and a limit to the type of documents you can work with through the free version (Docs up to 50 Mb and up to 200 pages only).
Free and open sourced, wox has become my favourite tool to install on a windows machine. I don’t think I can work without it anymore. This is one of those super helpful tools that saves you time and mouse clicks. Simply hit “Alt+Space” and watch the magic. A launcher will appear whereby you can instantly open any app, search any file on your system quickly, or search the web or specific websites from the web such as google, google scholar, facebook, twitter etc.. You can even perform calculations and save the results instantly on the clipboard. Wox also supports lots and lots of plugins that can be easily added. To put in simple words, Wox is a LIFE CHANGER!
This little app allows you to quickly preview file contents by pressing the Spacebar. Suppose you have a ton of picture or pdfs in a folder that you want to identify but without the hassle of double clicking to open and close. In that particular case, Quicklook will save you lots of trouble and clicking.
ShareX is yet another of those free and open source apps that you just grow used of. If you use the snipping tool on windows a lot, then ShareX is definitely for you. With ShareX you can screenshot your entire screen, part of your screen. You can also record customer region of the screen, do capture of text through its built in OCR. ShareX also comes with stuffs like color picker and image editor. Give it a try, you will know what I am talking about.
If you use an Android phone, you must be familiar with the clipboard, where you can find multiple stuffs that you previous copied. Well Ditto is the same, it is a clipboard manager but for windows. Before ditto, you could only paste the last item that you copied which is inconvenient if you are trying to fully read something before writing. With ditto, you can simply read and keep copying information you believe are useful that you can then later on paste in the order you want and work with.
This one is for the academics, undergraduates and postgraduates students. Whether you are working on class projects or dissertation. A main focus of those is proper referencing which mendeley can efficiently manage and even build and update the whole bibliography section if and when required with it’s citation plugin for word. It is also pretty easy to learn and definitely saves on a lot of time that would otherwise be spent in the nightmarish act of doing referencing one by one and then sorting those alphabetically.
Ear trumpet is simply a better alternative to managing your auditory experience on windows. It is especially helpful if you have multiple output devices and want to individually manage each of them.
This one is a favourite of mine. I use it as my main planner, note taking app for studies, to do list, personal diary/drafts for writing, an organised repository for important articles I come across. Onenote is simply very versatile, you can have various notebooks with various sections and within each sections, you can add as many pages as you want. The note is synced and can be accessed even from your phone. Furthermore, you can password protect certain notebooks or sections from a notebook if you wish.
This was a paid app that later became free. It is PSD compatible, you have a variety of brushes and the ability to work with layers. If you love drawing and have a wacom tablet, that should be enough to convince you to jump onboard.
Another powerful option that is not only free but also open source is Krita. According to techradar, it is the BEST free painting software of 2019. Digital artists or amateurs will love this one. The best part is that it comes with lots of learning materials.
Powerful, free and open source! The software allows video recording and live streaming. The video found on this article was recorded via OBS Studio.
Shotcut is a decent editor that gets all the basics right. It is free, open open source and is fairly easy to learn. Tutorials are available from the website itself. For the enthusiast and amateur who simply wants to do some light edit, this will suffice. If you want more options though, you should check the next one on the list.
DaVinci Resolve is a powerful non-linear video editing application by Blackmagic Design. It is primarily a commercial software meant for professionals with a pricing of $299. This tool is packed with advanced features like multi user collaboration, 3D tools etc. But they are kind enough to leave a free version for enthusiasts and amateurs to try and work, although limited this version is very powerful. From my own experience, I would say it is the best free option available as of now. The free version allows not just the basics but also advanced features like color grading, visual effects and audio post production. The downside for this software is, it is filled with features and an interface that is unlike what I have ever worked with before so I am still learning how to use it properly.
Fairly easy to use as a recorder software and editor. As with most good things on this list, this one too is open source. If you have some recordings that contain noise that you wish to cancel or if you have recording that you wish to add effects to, you will find the app useful.
Darktable is the free and open source alternative of lightroom. If you love photography and shoot in RAW formats, Darktable allows post processing of those photos in a non destructive manner. While lightroom offers a more seamless experience with its photo management functionality, both have powerful post processing capabilities. With Darktable, the photos are less organised and harder to search unless you build good habits when compared to lightroom. A fair compromise when we consider that one is open source and free while the other starts at US$9.99 per month plan (as of this writing).
My favourite and probably most used app. It allows you to conveniently stitch together multiple pictures to ultimately get a wider better single view. There are also advanced functionalities such as autocomplete that fixes missing pixels and compatibility with videos. As a matter of fact, this photo is the end result of multiple pictures taken from my phone and stitched together.
When it comes to free and open source solution for data analysis. Anaconda is my first choice as an “all in one”. The followings come preloaded with Spyder, R Studio, Orange data mining software and Jupyter Notebook.
Spyder is an open source integrated development environment (IDE) you get when you install anaconda for python language. It is designed for scientists, engineers and data analysts. I find Spyder useful and use this over the others.
Jupyter notebook also comes preloaded. This one is really nice, it blends text, codes and visualisation together into a document that is live. Interact with the codes and the visualisation and output change accordingly. It supports many languages including the main ones that is Python and R.
I don’t know much about R language except the very basics and have not used Rstudio much but it comes pre loaded in case you need or use it. Most in academia that have a statistical background that I have met use or have a preference for R Studio.
This tool is a favourite of mine that I discovered through anaconda. Built on python, orange is intuitive and requires very little to no coding to make it work. However make no mistake, it is a very powerful when it comes to analysis and visualization. Simply drag and drop widgets that you need on the canvas and create your workflow to make it work. It comes preloaded with powerful models for Linear and Logistic Regression, Random Forest, Naive Bayes, Neural Networks etc.. It has has “add ons” in order to enable specific functionalities such as natural language processing, text mining, sentiment analysis, analysis of image, network or spectroscopy data among others. It has an official YouTube channel where you can learn how to use orange properly.
When it comes to visualising data, I like to use power BI. It is clean. The desktop version is free although limited. You have access to a lot of beautiful visuals such as Clustermap, Table Heat Maps, Box Whiskers, Chord Charts, Sankey Diagram and even one called Waffle Chart. Moreover the visuals are interactive, you can build reports, presentations or even dashboards with those. Here is an example of what can be done with this tool.