We’ve all been there, we’ve al done that. At one point in time you needed to make something that you don’t usually do and to buy a software for this task doesn’t seem the right choice.
There are many alternatives these days to paid software but are all of them good enough to even consider downloading them? An answer to this question is difficult. Most of us use PC’s, Macs or even Linux and almost anyone these days has a mobile gadget. That means that platforms are so different that in some cases a software could be perfect for one or more platforms but can suck big time for others.
I would say that in most cases a paid software is the way to go. But let’s say that you only need the software for a short period of time or even for one time use. What then? Most paid software do give a chance to try their product for a limited period of time and for some this might be enough but for some might not.
In the next lines I will give you some alternatives to paid software. These are just my choices after some research and might not be suited for you. I do not force anyone to use or try them. If you decide to use any of the software I recommend you do it on your own risk.
Open Office – A nice alternative to Microsoft Office. Apache OpenOffice 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. It stores all your data in an international open standard format and can also read and write files from other common office software packages. It can be downloaded and used completely free of charge for any purpose.
Google Docs – Google Docs is an online word processor that lets you create and format text documents and collaborate with other people in real-time.
Foxit Reader – Great alternative to Adobe Acrobat Pro. Create, convert, and edit PDFs.(Windows, Linux)
Libre Office – LibreOffice is a powerful office suite – its clean interface and feature-rich tools help you unleash your creativity and enhance your productivity. LibreOffice includes several applications that make it the most powerful Free and Open Source office suite on the market: Writer (word processing), Calc (spreadsheets), Impress (presentations), Draw (vector graphics and flowcharts), Base (databases), and Math (formula editing).
Evernote – Even though you can also pay for it, the Free version is not bad at all. With Evernot you can take notes, track tasks, and save things you find online. They’ll sync everything between your phone and computer automatically.
OneNote – Microsoft OneNote is a computer program for free-form information gathering and multi-user collaboration. It gathers users’ notes (handwritten or typed), drawings, screen clippings and audio commentaries. Notes can be shared with other OneNote users over the Internet or a network.
Pocket – A great option for those interested in saving video, images, text and other content, all in one place. Found an great article but don’t have time to read it? Add it to Pocket with one click and read it later. Works on all platforms.
Trello – Trello is an online tool for managing projects and personal tasks. But this increasingly popular app often inspires the sort of passion usually reserved for consumer apps like Pinterest or Instagram. Ditch the sticky notes, spreadsheets, email, and clunky software for managing your projects, and become one of the millions of people to fall in love with Trello. You can add as many boards and people as you want with your free account.
Wunderlist – Wunderlist is the easiest way to get stuff done. Whether you’re planning a holiday, sharing a shopping list with a partner or managing multiple work projects, Wunderlist is here to help you tick off all your personal and professional to-dos.
Sunrise Calendar – Beautifully designed Calendar with numerous integrations (including Google Calendar and Evernote).
Spotify – There are millions of songs on Spotify. Play your favorites, discover new tracks, and build the perfect collection. The Free version is great for PC or Macs but a bit annoying on mobile platforms.
Audacity – Audacity® is free, open source, cross-platform software for recording and editing sounds.
Foobar2000 – ,Foobar2000 is a fantastic new player which targets Windows, iPhone, iPad, Android, Windows Phone & tablets. Featuring innovative never seen before abilities.
Winamp – Winamp is a media player for Windows, Android, and OS X developed by the company Nullsoft, which they later sold to AOL, who sold it to Radionomy in January 2014. Since version 2 it has been sold as freemium and supports extensibility with plug-ins and skins, and features music visualization, playlist and a media library, supported by a large online community.
VLC – VLC is a free and open source cross-platform multimedia player and framework that plays most multimedia files as well as DVDs, Audio CDs, VCDs, and various streaming protocols. Super fast, plays almost every video format, and has many other hidden features – from video format compression to streaming podcasts. (Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS)
Miro – More or less like VLC, an open source software that can convert and sync to Android & Kindle Fire, works with your current music library, download and play almost any video, convert any video and many others. Miro has a lot of features, but that’s not what matters– it’s the experience. Miro is a simple, beautiful, unified way to download, organize, and watch videos and listen to music. And it’s totally free.
Kodi – Kodi® (formerly known as XBMC™) is an award-winning free and open source (GPL) software media center for playing videos, music, pictures, games, and more. Kodi runs on Linux, OS X, Windows, iOS, and Android, featuring a 10-foot user interface for use with televisions and remote controls. It allows users to play and view most videos, music, podcasts, and other digital media files from local and network storage media and the internet.
Handbrake – Handbrake can process most common multimedia files and any DVD or BluRay sources that do not contain any kind of copy protection.
Lightworks – Lightworks is EditShare’s Academy and Emmy award-winning, professional Non-Linear Editing (NLE) software supporting resolutions up to 4K as well as video in SD and HD formats. In the last 25 years Lightworks has been used to edit some of the finest films in cinema history: The Wolf of Wall Street, LA Confidential, Pulp Fiction, Heat, Road to Perdition, Hugo, The King’s Speech and many more!
Blender – Blender is the free and open source 3D creation suite. It supports the entirety of the 3D pipeline—modeling, rigging, animation, simulation, rendering, compositing and motion tracking, even video editing and game creation. Advanced users employ Blender’s API for Python scripting to customize the application and write specialized tools; often these are included in Blender’s future releases. Blender is well suited to individuals and small studios who benefit from its unified pipeline and responsive development process.
Image Editing / Photography
GIMP – GIMP is a cross-platform image editor available for GNU/Linux, OS X, Windows and more operating systems. It is free software, you can change its source code and distribute your changes. Whether you are a graphic designer, photographer, illustrator, or scientist, GIMP provides you with sophisticated tools to get your job done. You can further enhance your productivity with GIMP thanks to many customization options and 3rd party plugins.
Pixlr – Pixlr is a cloud-based set of image tools and utilities, including a number of photo editors, a screen grabber browser extension, and a photo sharing service. The suite was intended for non-professionals, however the apps range from simple to advanced photo editing. It can be used on PCs, and on smartphones or tablets using a mobile app. Time put Pixlr on its list of the top 50 websites of 2013. It has web-based ‘paint’ features similar to online image manipulation software such as Sumo Paint.
Canva – Canva is an online graphic design platform. It offers free access to a wide assortment of design tools and options, as well as premium options for paying customers.
InkScape – Inkscape is a professional vector graphics editor for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux. It’s free and open source.
Pinta – Pinta is a free, open source program for drawing and image editing. Its goal is to provide users with a simple yet powerful way to draw and manipulate images on Linux, Mac, Windows.
Photoscape – PhotoScape is a graphics editing program, developed by MOOII Tech, Korea. The basic concept of PhotoScape is ‘easy and fun’, allowing users to easily edit photographs taken from their digital cameras or even mobile phones.
Polarr – Built around a number of advancing web standards, notably HTML5 and WebGL, Polarr works in any modern browser, but its developers suggest using Chrome due to its quick adoption of new standards and the fact that you can download Polarr as an app for Chrome. Designed for the more advanced user demographic, Polarr’s editing capabilities are rich in nature and constantly improving. As of now, the editing tools include white balance, exposure, contrast, clarity, highlights and shadows, HSL channels, curves, vignettes, distortions, watermarks and more.
Tools and Utilities
FileZilla – free FTP solution. Both a client and a server are available. FileZilla is open source software distributed free of charge under the terms of the GNU General Public License
DropBox – Get to all your files from anywhere, on any device, and share them with anyone. Dropbox is a file hosting service operated by Dropbox, Inc. that offers cloud storage, file synchronization, personal cloud, and client software.
Jing – Jing® is a computer service that lets you capture basic video, animation, and still images, and share them on the web.
CCleaner – CCleaner is the number-one tool for cleaning your PC. It protects your privacy and makes your computer faster and more secure!
f.lux – f.lux is a proprietary computer program that adjusts a display’s color temperature according to location and time of day. The program was designed to reduce eye strain during night-time use and disruption of sleep patterns.
dashlane – Never forget another password with the all-new Dashlane 4. Keep track of your passwords. Automatically log in on every website and every device.
Clef – With Clef, the often painful process of logging into a site feels, admittedly, a little bit magical.
BetterTouchTool – etterTouchTool is a great, feature packed app that allows you to configure many gestures for your Magic Mouse (1 & 2), Macbook Trackpad and Magic Trackpad (1 & 2) and also Mouse Gestures for normal mice. It also allows you to configure actions for keyboard shortcuts, normal mice buttons and the Apple Remote. In addition to this it has an iOS companion App (BTT Remote) which can also be configured to control your Mac the way you want(Mac only).
Treesize – Even in the times of cheap terabytes a final truth remains: Sooner or later every hard disk will near capacity. But there is help! TreeSize Free tells you where precious disk space has gone.
Calibre – Calibre is a free and open source e-book library management application developed by users of e-books for users of e-books.
7-Zip – Zipping and unzipping software that is truly free – no trial periods. (Windows)
The Unarchiver – Zipping and unzipping software that is truly free for Macs.
Slack – Slack brings all your communication together in one place. It’s real-time messaging, archiving and search for modern teams. Not just your messages, but all your files, images, PDFs, documents, and spreadsheets can be dropped right into Slack and shared with anyone you want.
I am sure there are much more out there but they are waiting to be shared or discovered by someone else. If you liked my article please share it so others can learn about the free software alternatives and if you have any questions or suggestions please feel free to use the comment section below.