I’m guessing that if you’re reading this article, you struggle sometimes with word processing tasks: opening a file, compressing a bunch of files for sending, inserting tables and graphics, etc. That’s why I’ll try to guide you through the peculiarities of several software products which you will definitely need.
First, and the most painful for our Support Department, are file compression tools. These make sending large amounts of data (more than 2-3 files) much faster and easier. The most widely used ones are WinRaR and WinZip. They offer free trial downloads for a period of several weeks.
After the 30 day trial period (which could be more, or less) you can try uninstalling the software, but you will have to pay for it. Perhaps you can afford to purchase a license. “Free” versions often include a toolbar and other add-ons you might/might not welcome.
The installation package consumes only 4-5 Mbs and is easy to install. Sometimes, it takes less than a second for the program to be installed, and the software is automatically filed in your system folder. This means many of you folks cannot even verify completed installation.
To do so, try checking the Program Files folder on your system drive. Then check whether the WinRaR or WinZip folder shows up. If so, open and drag its icon (e.g., winrar.exe) to your Desktop. Voila! Easy access to compression tools! You might want to then browse the menu, to select your compression options, etc.
Coming up next – SPSS. This software is for highly professional researchers and writers who have experience with statistical data management. So basically, if, when you see an order indicating “SPSS required”, and you do not know what the hell SPSS is, leave it up to the specialists in that field.
Another option is to learn SPSS yourself. There are courses online, or perhaps your school offers SPSS courses. And if you are a statistical data management specialist and you do not have SPSS on your computer, then you probably use functionally equivalent software. Or perhaps you are not such a hotshot statistical data management specialist, after all.
Essential software, if you are a graphics geek and like to add a lot of imagery to your work, is MS Visio 2007. It uses vector graphics to create diagrams. And vector graphics are just plain cool, by definition!
Plus, the software offers a lot of options and presets for your diagrams. It allows you to present data beautifully, in the blink of an eye. Hell, I’m using it just because the graphics are so gorgeous!
The only problem is that my hard drive is clogged with magnificent, utterly useless graphs. But just look at them!
I wouldn’t go near the “Delete” button to remove those great “My Future Global Domination Plan” graphs, or the “How to Kill Time at the Office While Appearing Productive” schemes (this one is actually a great representation of itself)!
Sorry, I got carried away=)
SpellExpress is another incredibly useful tool for a freelancer. It is basically dictionary software. However, it includes a terrific feature for serious writers. It allows you to search for synonyms and antonyms of different words.
The attractive attribute of this software is the enormous definition database. It can return up to 10-15 synonyms for each word, depending on its meaning. The price tag for the download version is only 10 bucks. You also have the option of using the trial version for some time. I’m confident you will find SpellExpress useful.
There are a lot of other helpful tools that you will want to have access to while working as a freelance writer with us. I will be updating you on this topic next time. I’m pretty sure that this article was useful and entertaining…Or at least one of those =) Thank you for checking it out anyway.