8 more free productivity tools for Win10

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I wrote an article on 6 more free Productivity Tools for Win 10 which followed on from my earlier article about 8 free productivity  tools that I posted on LinkedIn, then I found another 4 that I wanted to write about and added them into the original article. The LinkedIn post still has only the 8 tools. This time around I thought I’d just add another post so that it’ll show in LinkedIn. My daughter usually reads those so I thought I’d highlight some other tools she might find useful.

Microsoft QuickLook

Microsoft QuickLook. In File explorer highlight a file and tap the spacebar and it brings up a preview of the file. Tap the spacebar again and it closes the preview. Easy. I like this as I prefer to have File Explorer in View “Details” configuration. So its a handy way to quickly preview a file.

Support Keys-

  • Spacebar: Preview / Close Preview
  • Esc: Close Preview
  • Enter: Run & Close Preview
  • Ctrl+Mouse Wheel: Zoom Images/Documents
  • Mouse Wheel: Adjust Volume

This is a great preview tool. I love it, it will even preview Revit  files, great for images and text files including .csv, .txt, .ini etc. Also 2D PDF  but not 3D PDF, it shows the pages but not the models.

It didn’t preview for Excel or Word docs, but that is because in Excel/Word I have not got thumbnail save setup for them. See this article on how to configure that option.

Dwg’s don’t seem to show either.

Microsoft Whiteboard

Microsoft Whiteboard. This is a nice simple ‘free” collaboration tool. I think its an “in-organization” app but as you can send links or Export finished whiteboard as a PNG it can be used as a stand-alone tool. The video below is a good overview of the tool. May be good for collecting ideas about a project. May work well with Sway, preliminary ideas with Whiteboard then develop the idea further in Sway. A possible Idea Designers flow. As it is marker/pen operated it works for me on my Surface & Surface Book.

I have set it up but have not tried it yet. I’ll post on here after I’ve used it.

Epic Pen

Epic Pen. This is something I’ve been looking for. A simple scribbler, highlighter that you can use on-screen. I also like the fact that it can hide and stay hovered or you can just shut it down so not use PC resources.

Items on the menu:

  1. If you click on the eye it will hide the app like in the 2nd screenshot below. It also hides any marking you have done on the screen. So if you re-click on the closed eye, not only does the menu pop up again, but also whatever you have marked on the screen.
  2. When the eye is closed, the cursor is active so you can move around PC as normal and activate other programmes etc. When the menu is open, you need to click on 2, the cursor, so you “deactivate” the pen features and you are using the cursor normally
  3. This is either a per on a highlighter. Freehand only. You need Pro version ($20 US per PC) for straight lines, circles )
  4. Eraser. I like this one as if you touch an object it erases the whole thing. No messing about trying to rub it all out.
  5. Pen point size. This can be adjusted as to whether you are writing or highlighting.
  6. Undo
  7. Clear screen. Wipes out all the screen markup that you have done. Handy if you are just highlighting for a presentation, then you can clear it off.
  8. Screen capture, not sure where it sends it. You can adjust screen capture size. You can send it to clipboard or to a selected folder that you can setup in the menu (and the file  is like “Screen Shot 14-01-2019 at 1.16 PM.png” so time/date stamp-( Quicklook above would be handy to view files) I’ll be using it with my current screen capture tool.
  9. Menu. This includes “Quit”, “About” and “Settings”. So you have to choose this and then quit the programme. This I think is a little irritating. You can have hot keys assigned to each of the functions above  (unfortunately not one for quit).
  10.  Quick colour picker or a slightly larger selection than the 4 on offer if you click on the bigger swatch at the bottom.

The video below is an interesting use of it in a YouTube video. So it is versatile in where it can be used.

I’ve tried this on both my surface computers and its fine. I will be testing it on my Lenovo 2 in 1 shortly. It seems to be PC/Tablet agnostic which means its quite versatile.

This can add to my choices when marking up images for posts.

Wox

Wox. An effective launcher for windows. A full-featured launcher, access programs and web contents as you type. Be more productive ever since.Wox is free for use and open-sourced at Github.

I have read about this programme before, but you need to see it running in a video to get an idea of its capabilities. The video below is in French, switch on the French Subtitles and then click on auto-translate. You’ll get the general idea of what is going on. This is a pretty mighty productivity tool. In some ways it challenges Quick Access Popup for versatility. Having both setup to your preferences should have you blasting along.

The one thing I do not like is the size of the text and the text box, otherwise it is quite powerful. I need to become a bit more familiar with it so that it becomes more usable.

You can use it, as shown in the demo, as a quick calculator(although you can do that in your browser search bar too).

The Opening hotkey that is default is ALT + Spacebar. Really handy. You can download the programme here.

There are some other plugins here that you can add, I’m still getting my head around those. I have not looked at the documentation yet, but I see there is a relationship with Python code, which is good as I’m a little bit comfortable with that.

An alternative to Wox is Launchy. A smaller text box and more videos on YouTube. I’m trying that too. Both are very similar. Wox hotkey is Alt + Spacebar and I’m setting Launchy to Ctrl + Spacebar. After typing in the abbreviated URL service (Setup YouTubr to YT) you then need to hit Tab then you can type in your query. Wox you just leave a space. I’m still trying to get my head around getting to specific directories/files on the computer at the moment in both programmes. I think, in Launchy, you have a list and it looks in the list you have created.

PicPick

PicPick. A full-featured screen capture tool, Intuitive image editor, color picker, color palette, pixel-ruler, protractor, crosshair, whiteboard and more.

I was working in an office recently and they had the basic windows setup with Win 10 “snipping tool” only. I like to annotate my screenshots , so I downloaded PicPick and found it a pretty handy tool that met my needs. The markup and annotation tools are more extensive than the snipping tool. There are a few YouTube videos but I couldn’t find one that showed the whole process. I think its quite a good tool.

This is a bit lightweight compared to ShareX below that looks pretty mighty. But if you just want a simple screen capture and annotate this is a good easy programme to use.

ShareX

ShareX. This is another free Screen capture tool , but it can do GIF’s too, which can be handy if you want to demonstrate a couple of steps in a process. The video demos its use then shows you the setup for it. It seems to be pretty powerful.

I have downloaded it and will try it as an alternative to Snagit. I’m interested in the Gif capture.

Process Street

Process Street. Simple Process and Workflow Management.Process Street is a simple, free and powerful way to manage your team’s recurring checklists and procedures.

This looks like quite a good idea, and maybe worth a try. A process checklist that needs to be completed, like an induction process for health and safety for a site. Also for say doing a checking process on a drawing set prior to issuing the set. An example video below:

Definitely looks interesting and I will have to give it a try. Have gone through the initial tutorial with a few vids. They use Zapier Connects to enhance their processing a lot.

Win 10 Touchpad gestures

Win 10Touchpad gestures (This is a link to some images). There are 2 finger, 3 finger and odd tapping gestures.

Being a Drafter I originally used a digitizer, then onto mouse control. Although I have 2 in 1 tablets  with touchpads I have never really taken to them. I was looking for a Mouse “Wheel” click for Quick Access Popup that I’d installed on my surface 3 and found there is no such thing with the touchpad, fortunately, it fires up with hotkey WinKey + W. But in the course of looking up this I found out about the versatility of touchpad gestures. I’ll need to practice some of them.

Win 10 Cut Paste text (unformatted)

Win 10 Cut Paste text (unformatted).  I watched a video that suggested if you cut/copy from say a web page with formatting , when you paste to say Word, the formatting comes across. You can stop this by using Ctrl + Shift + V instead of Ctrl + V. I tried that but it didn’t work for me. I have had a few issues with this and looked into it further:

  1. Copying from webpage which has formatting on it

since Ctrl + Shift + V didn’t work I used Ctrl + V and pasted with formatting, but at the bottom of the pasted data there is a little Box with Clipboard & Ctrl, if you click on that it gives you options:

If you select the far right option it only pastes Text.

  Someone else suggested you paste it into notepad first, this will only accept text, then paste it into another document. A 2 step approach though. But a good backup.

I also note, inside Word, there are some advanced configurations as to how you want to do cut/copy/paste too.

Invoice360 (this is just added because it looked interesting- I haven’t tested it at all)

Invoice360. A free invoicing app. If you have a lot of products that you sell, this looks like an interesting app. I have not downloaded it as I charge per hour and my Excel process works fine for my accounts. I used the Epic Pen to highlight some bits in the screen capture, not elegant, but interesting.

I’m not sure what the method is to get your invoicing data out for your own books is, if you can only get PDF then you may need to consider a free UiPath OCR reader for invoices. I think there is a video on that.

The company does have other products so I’m sure this will be a cut down version to get people to try the programme, but if it has basic functionality it may be usable as a free programme. I did look at some of the docs and the backup/restore is an xml file, so not an accounting standard like CSV so you’d need to use an online converter from XML to/from CSV if you wanted to load the data to another programme.


Go here for other video tutorials. Overview video below:

End comments

The Wox one I will definitely be using, as well as QuickLook. Epic Pen is something I’ve been looking for but I don’t quite think its what I want. I will definitely be trialing it. ShareX I will definitely be testing, but its initial setup may take a little configuring.

I like the idea of Whiteboard & Process Street but will need to find the right job to test them out on. Also with Sway & Teams. We’ll see how they work on an actual project.

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