10 PC apps to increase your business productivity

The tech world is full of seemingly little apps that can make a huge difference in your work life. Here's a list of 10 indispensable PC applications to help you work smarter

10 PC Apps to Increase Your Business Productivity
Credit: Thinkstock
10 PC apps to increase your business productivity

We are all creatures of habit, and it's no different when it comes to software: We tend to rely on the same tools and processes. However, a lack of awareness about better tools is usually a primary reason. For that reason, we've drawn up a list of 10 indispensable PC applications to help bolster your business productivity.

7-Zip File Archiver
7-Zip file archiver

7-Zip is an open source file archiver that was created to support the 7z archive format for a high compression ratio. Moreover, it also supports a range of popular formats, such as ZIP, TAR, BZIP2, and GZIP -- the latter three make 7-Zip perfect for Window users who need to work with Linux. In addition, the highly-versatile 7-Zip app will extract an even larger list of file formats that includes ARJ, ISO, MSI, RAR, and VHD. 7-Zip is available for various platforms; the Win32 version integrates with the Windows Shell and also provides self-extracting capability for 7z format.

Nuance Dragon NaturallySpeaking
Nuance Dragon NaturallySpeaking

Nuance Dragon NaturallySpeaking is the gold standard in speech recognition software for the PC. Indeed, the company's technology is widely licensed and deployed and can be found in some of the most popular smartphones. For the desktop version of the software, Nuance goes beyond speech recognition by integrating simple voice shortcuts for common tasks, with support for most popular productivity software, including Word, Excel, Outlook, Internet Explorer, and many other Windows applications. Other features in the Premium version include out-of-the-box transcription feature and Text-to-Speech technology that can read on-screen text aloud.

FileZilla FTP client

The FileZilla Client is a fast and robust FTP client with an intuitive graphical user interface that is available on multiple platforms such as Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X. Moreover, the application supports FTP over SSL/TLS (FTPS) and the SSH File Transfer Protocol, and it comes with drag-and-drop support. Other capabilities include FTP resume, configurable transfer speed limits, and the ability to transfer files that are larger than 4GB. FileZilla Client is open source software.

Irfanview graphic viewer

Irfanview is a fast, compact graphical viewer for the Windows operating system. The primary strength of this app lies in its capability to view practically any media format under the sun, including Multipage TIF, Photoshop PSD, and even the RAW formats for most digital cameras. Moreover, Irfanview is able to save in many of the most popular formats, effectively making it a handy graphic converter tool. Other features, such as advanced batch processing and basic image editing, make it is a must-have tool for your software arsenal. Irfanview is freeware when used for non-commercial or educational purposes; commercial users should contact the developer for prices.

Notepad++ text editor

Billed as a Notepad replacement, Notepad++ is a free source code editor that is especially popular with programmers and IT professionals. Aside from its small memory footprint, much of the popularity behind Notepad++ can be attributed to its support of plug-ins. A thriving community has sprung up and created a large number of plug-ins that dramatically expand upon the app's basic capabilities. Indeed, the default Notepad++ installation itself comes with several plug-ins, such as a spell checker, a plug-in giving it FTP capabilities. and a plug-in manager for downloading additional plug-ins. A comprehensive list of plug-ins can be viewed here.

ResophNotes for Simplenote
ResophNotes for Simplenote

ResophNotes is a simple freeware app that you can use to access text-only notes stored on the Simplenote cloud service. Obviously, the value of ResophNotes resides in the fact that Simplenote is supported on various platforms, such as Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, and even the BlackBerry PlayBook. Created for the Windows operating system, ResophNotes is a robust application that supports most of what Simplenote offers, such as tags, global search, and sync with the Simplenote service. There are two versions of ResophNotes available, a desktop version and a portable version for use with a USB flash drive.

TechSmith Snagit
TechSmith Snagit

Ever wondered if there's a faster way to speed up the creation of those repetitive screenshots for your next training PowerPoint, or how to capture a long Web page that extends right off your screen? Well, chances are that Snagit by TechSmith will prove to be a huge time saver for you. The software supports more than 40 ways to capture screenshots of applications or selected areas of the desktop, while an included editor makes short work of minor editing work, such as drawing attention to specific areas or adding watermarks and markups. Snagit is available for Windows and Mac.

Trillian Instant Messenger
Trillian Instant Messenger

The Trillian Instant Messenger is a multi-IM application that runs on the major platforms, such as Windows, Mac, iOS (iPhone), Android, and BlackBerry. For tablets that support Flash or for a quick chat at a cybercafé, there is even a version that runs on the Web browser. Just about all IM networks are supported, and its makers pride themselves on the speed and low memory footprint of its client, which the company says is always built "technology native" to support each OS. Moreover, Trillian supports a "continuous chat" feature that allows a conversation to be picked up from another device without missing a beat -- recent chat history is synchronized between all devices.

Slysoft Virtual Clonedrive
Slysoft Virtual Clonedrive

The Virtual CloneDrive by SlySoft is a free utility that emulates a physical CD/DVD drive using common image formats like ISO, BIN, and CCD files. These image files can be located on the local hard disk drive or over a network drive; up to eight virtual drives are supported on a PC at the same time. Compared with other software offering similar functionality, Virtual CloneDrive is robust and is completely ad free.

dBpoweramp Music Converter
dBpoweramp Music Converter

dBpoweramp Music Converter is a Swiss army knife for effortless conversion among audio formats. The software will work with multiple file formats, such as MP3, MP4, M4A, Windows Media Audio, Ogg Vorbis, AAC, FLAC, and Apple Lossless, just to name a few. In addition, multi-CPU encoding support, batch conversion capabilities, and the ability to apply a whole range of DSP effects that includes advanced DirectX and VST plug-ins makes it unmatched in terms of features and versatility.