Getting Things Done

High angle view of a businessman holding a paper and thinkingGiven how much time I stole from any of you that tinkered with the tools presented in last week’s Fun Tools, here’s 5 free (or pretty close) desktop applications that should help you reclaim some of that time.  A number of these only became truly useful to me after turning the corner a few years back and joining the ranks of flackery.  Sorry mac users, these are PC only (because really, we’re writers and can do our jobs with a-buck-fifty worth of supplies from the office supply shop, a napkin from the local bar and borrowed pen, or as West Wing fans know nothing at all because “Paper’s for wimps” and we don’t need the Mac-spense for ‘pretty’). 🙂

• PureText 2.0 – ever try to grab a clip off a website (1 word, FTW, Thank you AP Stylebook! (sorry ’bout that)) only to have the every ad on the page follow you when you paste it in to your document or email?  Or by the time you reach the end of your document you’ve got 18 different fonts from all the pasting you’ve done.  This little app solves that problem by only pasting in the text, not the font codes, into the page.  The learning curve is basically non-existent – rather than hit Ctrl+V to paste you use the Windows key+V (by default, it can be customized). [Free].

• ToddlerKeys – Found this one after the cleaning crew managed to send a draft email to the client mid-sentence with notes bulleted below the body of the message. Even though originally designed for parents to allow “you to lock your computer keyboard, CD drive doors and power-off button. When the keyboard is used it will display images and play sounds every time a key is pressed, thereby preventing access to the desktop and applications, while adding some entertainment value for the kid” it’s a pretty good keyboard lock.  Handy if you’re away from your keyboard (afk) for any amount of time, or happen to have a need to lock your keyboard…if you’re, for example, maintaining a questionable Twitter account. [Free].

• ScreenHunter 5 – The absolute best screen capturing program I’ve ever used.  It’s perfect if an outlet’s logo is being stubborn, need to grab a cap (capture) of a video clip for a hardcopy presentation, or any other purpose. The free version is just fine. [Free]

• iWisoft Video Converter – One of the simplest (in terms of easy-to-use) video converting, trimming, cropping, watermarking, etc. video apps I’ve seen for the PC. Converts to and from piles of formats and requires no major ‘mad skillz’ to get good results. The publishers claim the application will always be [Free].

• PasteItIn – Ever wished you had multiple clipboards on your PC?  So you could copy various elements or just a sentence here and there to later paste into a document or form without switching apps back and forth?  This one’s for you.  It’s the only ‘shareware’ one on the list (Free for 30 days, then purchase is required).  The program has a few text tweaks it can do before pasting your text back in (change to all caps, all lowercase, capitalize first letters, remove brackets, etc.). [Shareware]

Enjoy, hope you’re able to reclaim part of your day with these tools.

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  • PureText2.0 – Great! You can't imagine how this was helpful to me on my daily clipping work! Thanks!

  • soulati

    You made my day with Screen Hunter. Thanks!!

  • Take back your Mac comment now, doofus, or prepare to meet the Wrath of Dan (np Trek license issues there, then!) 😉

  • bethvonbehren

    LOVE it. Thanks. I especially like the comments about writers being able to work anywhere. So true. But also thanks for the apps – I'm gonna share this one on FB.

  • Hey Linda –

    My pleasure, always happy to share the tips.

    PureText has been a pure joy for a number of years. Word does have a built in feature (Edit->Paste Special->Paste w/o formatting->OK) but if you're doing daily clips you'd might as well buy the carpal tunnel brace now (and it doesn't work outside of MS apps).

    Have a great weekend 🙂

  • 🙂 I frequently forget it's not a built in feature it works so well and reliably and end trying to use it on other people's system (when they don't have it installed) 🙁

  • “Doofus” – classic. I once was a fan – owned one of these babies – http://www.everymac.com/systems/apple/powerbook

    9.5″ screen, 5 lbs and 2-4 hr battery life. Those were the days 🙂

  • Hi Beth –

    Glad you enjoyed the piece and thank you for sharing on FB. Have a great weekend.

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