When you work at a digital production company it’s important to have an arsenal full of digital tools to help you get your work done – tools that increase efficiency and creativity.
Here are seven such tools that I can’t live without. I think you’ll find them pretty useful, too!
This is my favorite to tell people about. After you add the software, Lightshot turns your Print Screen button into a nifty little helper. When pressing Print Screen (with Lightshot installed) your screen dims and you’re directed to select an area of the screen that you want to copy. Once you’ve selected your area you can use the arrow, line, box or text options to mark up the screenshot without ever leaving the page or pulling up extra editing software (like Photoshop or Paint). When you have your screenshot and markup ready just use the copy tool to add the entire thing to your clipboard and paste it into your email or document. Gone are the days of using Print Screen and then having to pull up an editing software to crop and mark up the page in reference.
Aside from its main intention for use, I also use this tool to measure out items on my screen. Most everything on the web is measured in pixels, so I love that their tool shows pixel dimensions as you use the selector. It’s my quick digital ruler. Every once in awhile, if I have an issue with being able to save an image or piece of collateral that I need to use, I can also use Lightshot to crop and save any image on my screen (just don’t use it to grab anything copyrighted!).
6. Full Page Screen Capture
Next up is another screen shot tool, the Full Page Screen Capture. Its name pretty much explains its use, but once you have this installed, you can use the tool to capture an image of an entire webpage in a browser. Whereas if you were just using your screenshot button it would only capture what’s on screen, this tool allows you to save an image of the entire web page. To download Full Page Screen Capture just go to the Chrome App Store and add it to your Chrome browser.
5. Bookmarks Bar
Ok; this one is an oldie, but I use it daily! Any link that I need frequent access to gets saved to my Bookmarks bar. I have my links organized in folders such as Websites on Staging, E74 Resources, Statistics Websites, etc. I highly suggest using a folder system on your toolbar to get the most out of this often overlooked but powerful tool that’s built into everyone’s browsers.
Store your thoughts, knowledge and notes to self inside Evernote and later you can search the database to recollect and reuse anything inside. It’s like picking your brain to find, Oh what was that one person’s name? or What was that article I read about white space last week? If you store it, it will be there upon search. As their tagline suggests, it will help you remember everything.
I use it for both professional and personal needs, storing sentimental memories as well as daily tasks and useful blog posts that I go back to time and time again for reference. You can dedicate different notebooks to different topics and tag notes with hashtags to make them easier to find. You can upload images to accompany notes, and with a paid account the search feature will even search text in images. I’m honestly only using it to probably 10% of its power, so I’m looking forward to getting even more out of it as I learn more about the features. There are also a ton of apps that can be connected to the application to multiply its usefulness.
Dropbox is pretty well known, but in case you haven’t heard, it allows you to drop files from your desktop or phone into your Dropbox and then access the files from the web – anywhere. It’s also frequently used to share large files (you know, the ones too big to send through email). I use it mostly for sharing large photo files; vice versa, many of my clients have used it to send photos my way, too. Your first 2GB of storage are free and then pricing plans start from there. You can also increase your freebie space by taking advantage of their offers for additional storage by sharing links with friends and on social media. Other than that I just clean my account out every so often and get by with the free version since I primarily use the tool for sharing files and not long term storage.
This one will change your life! Have you ever been at home and need a file from your computer that’s at work? Would you like the ability to login and use your work desktop from home? Use this mighty tool to access computers from remote locations! It’s free for personal use and has one time license fees for business use. I use this tool to log into my work computer from home. I can access my work desktop from the comfort of my couch by simply signing into TeamViewer on my personal laptop and double-clicking on my Desktop connection. From there, it’s like I’m sitting at my desk at work on my computer… only I’m actually sitting on my couch under my favorite cozy blanket sipping on coffee fresh from my Mr. Coffee (and occasionally even wine if it’s a late night). 😉
I decided to end on a fun one because, well, who doesn’t like ending on a fun note? Pun totally intended for those that like music and know what this next app is all about.
So the final digital tool that I can’t live without is Spotify. As someone who works in a creative industry, it’s important to stay motivated and in a good mood. Music can take care of all of that, and more.
Spotify is a streaming music app that allows you to make playlists of your favorite songs and play them (from anywhere with an internet connection) for free. There are paid account options that will allow you to play your playlists without ads and even from places without internet connections. I just deal with the ads, though, as they usually only play every 30 minutes or so.
I have created a ton of my own mood, artist and theme-based playlists, but I also frequently listen to playlists that are curated by Spotify. My top played list is actually a Peaceful Piano compilation (below) that helps me focus at work. My friends also frequently share favorite songs with me through the apps social feature, and I get to make suggestions to them, too.
Share Your Favorite Digital Tools
Have you used any of these tools? Or do you have any favorites that help you get your work done? Share your tips for getting the most out of these tools and other helpful tools in the comments.