So, I was asked by the team at Tech Collective to come up with some of the simple free tools I use in my daily work. I asked them if email and free Slack count, unfortunately, they said no, so it made my job a bit harder.
That being said, it is something that I’ve been meaning to do for a while. As we continue to automate our daily tasks, I feel like we’re playing catch up to the latest changes and upgrades. Maybe it is FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out), but I always have to try out new apps and solutions that are in the market. Especially if they’re free.
However, it is important to assess a few things before you look for free tools.
- Is the free version good enough for your work?
- How much is the paid version – is saving a couple of dollars worth the extra hassle
- Are you pinching pennies, but losing dollars if you pick the free version
These are questions I ask myself everyday and that’s why we pay for Slack and Canva now, as well as a slew of other automation and digital tools, because it just made sense. We often use the free versions at the start, but once we understand the benefits, we’re more than happy to transition into the paid versions.
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We create a lot of guides, ebooks and everything in between for our clients and our own business. Screengrabs of websites basically make up about 20% of the images we use, so being able to take clear high-res screengrabs of long parallax websites is essential.
So, here are the 5 free tools that I currently use, which make my life so much easier.
Quillbot for summarizing text
Looking at the number of decks that I have to do for SYNC can be challenging to say the least. Reading up on different technology and reference papers, is difficult enough without having to summarize that into easy-to-understand short sentences. Also, I sometimes feel like no one really reads slides anyway.
However, one easy way that I’ve found reduces the time needed to get this done is to using the summarize feature in Quillbot that really helps you take large chunks of text and cut it down into bullets or just shorter paragraphs. While it isn’t perfect, I think it helps me quite a lot, because of the sheer number of decks I put together.
GoFullPage for full-page screenshots
If you’ve ever tried to take a full-page screen grab, its almost impossible to do so with breaks. For me, GoFullPage is super easy to use and provides us with high-res images of any website we want. We can even download it as PDFs and it is completely free for now. This Chrome extension (it should be available on other browsers too) is super easy to install and use right off the gate.
Tactiq for Google Meet transcripts
This is really specific, but useful to us as we do most of our internal discussions on Google Meet at SYNC. As someone who types way too much every single day having some sort of transcript solution has been essential. This isn’t perfect by any means, but it is super easy to use.
Just plug and play, just like GoFullPage. This Chrome extension requires you to sign-in, but nothing crazy other just your email and you’re good to go.
I do recommend not using this for any sort of official work, but simple notes that you want to refer to at a later time. It works wonders for that.
Krisp for noise cancellation
Well, this one is tricky because the free version isn’t supported by the company after they realised their product absolutely rocks. Again, it is a Chrome extension and I apologise, but I seem to have a lot of extensions installed and will likely clean that up soon.
Krisp is probably one of the best noise cancellation tools I have used on my laptop and has actually helped manage my background sound with construction going on in the street below. I am a big fan and will likely consider upgrading to a premium version once I get tired of reaching the limits every single month.
Grammarly for everything grammar-related
Where would I be without Grammarly. Probably getting told off by a bunch of people about how terrible my grammar is and how I should consider a field without much writing. So, basically not much different than what life is like at this very moment.
I personally use Grammarly as a standalone app, but have also installed it as an extension and sometimes use the web version if I am not at my own laptop. It is such a simple and powerful tool that you forget how useful it is sometimes. Its simplicity can be a bit of a detriment to understanding the value.
However, that being said, I love using it and recommended that my entire team use it as well.
Those are my top 5 free tools, but honestly I use over a dozen for different things. Anything from optimising my work schedule to automating my processes, I use tools for most things. Though it might seem challenging at first, because it does mean having to change how you work, it is worth it in the long run.
I don’t think I can ever go back to a way of working that purely manual, unless there’s an apocalypse and I need to hunt for food, so using noise cancellation software isn’t a top priority any more. Other than that, I’ll stick to my free tools for as long as I can.
This article was contributed by Terng Shing Chen, CEO of SYNC PR.
About the author
Terng Shing is the Founder and CEO of SYNC PR, a PR and content marketing startup that uses technology to reduce time wasting and administrative tasks in delivering results. Based in Singapore, Terng Shing has been focused on helping startups and SMEs build their brand story through media and content. Since 2018, SYNC has worked with over 250 startups, SMEs and MNCs to help them scale their business in Southeast Asia and beyond.
His experience includes a decade of work in PR and communications agencies, managing top-tier fortune 500 companies to the leading startups in Southeast Asia. Terng Shing has a passion for innovative communications and is convinced that PR is the next great industry to see positive disruption.