This may seem a strange place for computer software, but all bloggers are creative writers, so I thought some of you may find this useful.
I’m not a computer geek, but by trial and error over time, I have assembled a portfolio of software that works well for me, so I’ve started a list that some may find useful. They are all free or low cost and thoroughly reliable and work on Win XP/Vista. I will add to or edit this list from time to time so feel free to add your comments.
Office Suite: OpenOffice.org A complete office suite – word processor, presentation, database and spreadsheet etc, all compatible with MS Office. Needing to change my aged MS Office, I found the decision for the free OpenOffice a no-brainer. The latest version 3.0 has everything I need.
Word Processor: Jarte This is my star find. I use it for much of my straightforward writing, unless I want more fancy formatting. It has a fresh innovative layout that’s easy to use, plus a tabbed interface. Save in Word Doc, text or RTF formats. Also can be installed on a USB flash drive.
Dictionary: WordWeb WordWeb is a superb dictionary and thesaurus that works seamlessly with Jarte. It’s free, provided you don’t take more than one return long haul flight a year!
Text Editor: NoteTab There is quite a choice in this field, but I settled upon NoteTab, a solid commercial product. It is a MS Notepad replacement with many more functions, including a clip library, tabbed interface and HTML editing. Whether the free NoteTab Light or the low cost NoteTab standard, it is very fast. I find it ideal for word crunching. On the other hand, if you’d like to try something much simpler and relaxing, with no distractions, have a look at Q10 which is a full screen text editor with writers in mind. You’ll either love it or hate it!
Bible Software: eSword I have used this for years and find it the best free comprehensive Bible software there is. It comes complete with many Bible versions/dictionaries, commentaries and extras. There is a nominal charge for some modern add-on modules. For straightforward bible software without extras I like the latest BerBible It is low on resources, very simple and fast to use and comes complete with ESV, NASB, NKJV, and NET Bible versions.
Diary/Journal: iDailyDiary Free Version I have kept a journal for a long time and have used iDailyDiary for 6 years and it gets better and better. I believe it’s the best there is and has everything I need. Easy to use, straight off. Is fully searchable with export functions.
Digital Photo Organizer: Picasa3 I believe Picasa is the best. It links to all your photos extremely quickly and is very sharp and clear and easy top use. It even has editing functions that may be enough for most. For photo editing I mainly use Serif PhotoPlus or occasionally PaintNet.
File Backup/Synchronization: GoodSync I have tried various backup programmes over time but have settled on GoodSync for daily use. At the click of a mouse it will add any new or modified files on my list to a USB flash drive. Couldn’t be easier!
Personal Information Manager: AZZ Cardfile I was brought up on card indexes so this computerised version really appeals to me. So far I’m finding it ideal to collect together all my essential bits of notes and information. My wife has her eye on it for recipes and I will also use it to keep Bible study notes. What I particularly like is that it can also be installed onto a USB flash drive to carry with you and use on any PC without leaving an imprint.
Creative Writing: yWriter I started collecting material for a book, so looked around for some appropriate software that would help and found the free programme yWriter. It doesn’t write your book for you, but helps you break it down into chapters and scenes. So far I like what I see.
More to come …