People in every profession use many tools to accomplish the tasks they are responsible for each week. As a website developer and designer, I also have my list of essential and helpful tools that I rely on.
Some of my favorite tools are very easy to use and have uses that extend way beyond web design. In the comments area below, please be sure to share with the SteamFeed community some of your favorite, easy to use tools.
Jing – Free from TechSmith
I love Jing from TechSmith because it makes it so easy to make a quick Screen Capture video. This is perfect to create quick tutorials to explain how to do something. This is one of the things I do for clients all the time. I find it’s so much more effective to show someone how to do something rather than typing out a list of instructions. I also use more advanced Screen Capturing tools, but I still love Jing’s “on the fly” convenience.
A short Jing video can also be used to quickly explain a customer support issue you might be having. Being able to actually see the problem also helps those who answer these questions to get the answers to you more quickly.
With Jing you can record up to 5 minutes of onscreen video and grab image screen captures as well. You’re also able to mark up your screenshot with a text box, arrow, highlight, or picture caption. Each Jing video and image has a unique URL so instantly sharing them is super easy. Of course, you can download them as well.
ColorZilla – free Firefox and Chrome add-on
Have you ever needed to match a color exactly to something on the Internet? Or, have you ever come across a color you love that you want to save to use in a project of your own? I do this constantly.
ColorZilla is similar to the eyedropper tool in graphics programs like Photoshop. Here is an excerpt from their website, “With ColorZilla you can get a color reading from any point in your browser, quickly adjust this color and paste it into another program. You can analyze the page and inspect a palette of its colors. The built-in palette browser allows choosing colors from pre-defined color sets and saving the most used colors in custom palettes.”
MeasureIt – another free Firefox add-on
There isn’t much to say about this one other than it’s very handy. Once MeasureIt is installed in Firefox, you can draw a ruler across any webpage to check the width, height, or alignment of page elements in pixels. I also use MeasureIt when I need to quickly see what size an image is or measure the available space in pixels where an image will go.
I love Photoshop but I don’t have it installed on all of my computers and laptops. For many people the cost for this program is difficult to justify. Pixlr Editor has become a favorite quick image editing tools that I can use from any computer with an Internet connection because the program is web-based. When saving an image, you also have the option of saving it as a layered file for future editing. I save many of my images in DropBox folders, so I have access to my image files and an image editor from anywhere. Give it a try. Pixlr Editor pretty cool!
Send Email to DropBox
DropBox is my favorite online storage tool. In fact, today someone sent me an email asking if I had an electronic copy of a document I created for him a year ago. Since I have the DropBox app on my iPhone, I was able to easily email him the file within a few minutes. Of course the DropBox app is also on my iPad!
Recently I’ve had several emails that I needed to save the contents of. I was copying a pasting the body of the email in to a Word document and then saving it to a DropBox folder. After doing this several times, I thought “there’s got to be a better way. I sure wish I could just forward this email to DropBox.”
Sure enough, there is a tool for that. It’s called Send To DropBox. Once you get it set up and connected with your DropBox account, you get a unique email address for the Attachments folder. Now when I need an email turned in to a document in DropBox, I simply forward the email to my DropBox email address. Then I can simply move it to whichever DropBox folder I want to store it in.
What’s your favorite online tool?
Please share with us your favorite tools, applications and programs. There are so many amazing things out there and I love learning about new ones.