When it comes to software you often get what you pay for, but especially when you’re a poor student it can be hard to afford the tools you may need to get the work done. Fortunately there is a number of free software packages that can help. You may not get all of the bells and whistles that come with their paid counterparts, but they can still be really helpful. If you do decide you need to buy some software see if you can get a student discount — Microsoft and Adobe often offer student discounts on their software packages. Also many educational institutions have special relationships with software vendors — such as Microsoft’s DreamSpark program. Check to see if your school has any such arrangements before purchasing software.
Code Editors (WYSIWYG)
Note: Expression Web is no longer supported by Microsoft and that is why it is free however it may still be a useful learning tool for those new to HTML and CSS.
- Sublime Text (free trial available)
- Adobe Photoshop (Raster)
- Adobe Illustrator (Vector)
- GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program) Check out the plugins to extend basic functionality
- Mischief Free
- Artweaver Free
- Chasys Draw IES
- Apache OpenOffice Draw
- LibreOffice Draw
- Serif DrawPlus Starter Edition
- Serif PhotoPlus Starter Edition
- Serif PanoramaPlus Starter Edition
- TechSmith Jing (Screen Capture)
- Dia (Diagramming Tool)
Finally I want to make special mention of PortableApps.com — a collection of apps that from portable USB storage. It includes many of the applications we’ve already mentioned plus many more.
Can you think of any free tools I haven’t mentioned here? I’d love to hear them. Please leave me a comment outlining your suggestions.