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Best free stuff, 2013 edition: The productive businessperson

Ian Paul, Jared Newman, Daniel Ionescu, Brad Chacos | May 28, 2013
Here are the 12 best free tools for the productive businessperson.

The Productive Businessperson
Believe it or not, "getting things done" doesn't have to cost an arm and a leg. A plethora of free virtual tools can help you im--prove your productivity without breaking the bank.

When you have to juggle multiple projects and need one place to keep things organized, Evernote lets you easily manage a wealth of notes, images, to-do lists, and even audio recordings. Everything is searchable and sharable, and everything stays synced across the wide array of Evernote apps and programs.

Evernote also offers a suite of complimentary apps like Penultimate, which lets you jot down notes and drawings on your iPad, and Hello, which enables you to keep track of your contacts and meetings.

Google Drive gives you 5GB of free cloud storage, the same syncing functionality as Dropbox, and apps for Android, Chrome OS, iOS, Mac OS X, and Windows. One key advantage of the service is that it plays nicely with other Google services to keep you productive. For example, Drive lets you share individual files or folders with anyone via Gmail, as well as allowing you to bypass the usual 35MB limit on email attachments. You get all the functionality of Google Docs, too--including collaborative online documents, spreadsheets, and presentations--so you can easily open and edit any document stored on your cloud drive, even if you don't have an office suite installed on your PC.

Not everyone can live in the cloud, though. LibreOffice is the best free alternative to Microsoft Office, featuring components with full-featured support for word processing, spreadsheets, slideshows, databases, mathematical equations, and reasonably complex 3D renderings and diagrams. The latest version lets you skin the suite to your tastes, although the interface is far from impressive. LibreOffice excels when you need to work on your documents on a computer that doesn't have Microsoft Office installed on it, or when online alternatives like Google Drive docs either aren't powerful enough or aren't available.

Prezi basically mixes a slideshow with a virtual whiteboard, and then spices things up with eye-catching aesthetics. The result is a zoomable, interactive presentation that's far more engaging than the usual ho-hum PowerPoint. Prezi's Transformation tool lets you edit anything that you add to the canvas, from images to shapes to text.

Keeping track of tasks across your devices is easy with Wunderlist. Mobile-focused to-do apps are a dime a dozen, but Wunderlist shines with its simple, beautiful interface and support for a browser app, Android, iOS, Mac OS X, and Windows. Recent updates have made the free service more powerful and useful for teams, so you can add recurring tasks and subtasks, or collaborate with others on your projects.


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