Admins are always looking for the latest, coolest, most efficient tools they can find to make their jobs easier. I have numerous programs and websites that I use to keep me organized, connected, and smoothly sailing along each day at the office. So today, I want to share my top 10 list of free tech tools for admins.
1. Evernote – www.evernote.com
Have you ever wished you had a one stop shop for capturing all of the things you find that you’d like to save somewhere, but don’t know where to put them exactly? Problem solved with Evernote! Their website sums it up best: Remember everything. You can save almost anything in Evernote, and it works with nearly every computer, phone, and mobile device out there. When you download the software, it installs a web browser tool so you can capture information from websites you visit with the click of a button on your toolbar. Once you capture things with Evernote, you can search for them again later by keywords, tags, or even printed and handwritten text inside images. If you print things so you don’t lose them and then struggle with where to file them so you can easily find them later, Evernote will be your new best friend!
2. Dropbox – www.dropbox.com
If you’ve ever needed an online file server that was easily accessible from any computer or mobile device without the headache of complex IT administration and support, check out Dropbox. Dropbox is a free service that lets you access all of your photos, docs, and videos from anywhere. Any file you save to your Dropbox will automatically sync to all of your computers and phones where you have installed Dropbox. As a backup, you can always access your Dropbox from the website if you don’t have your own computer or phone handy for some reason. Dropbox also makes it super easy to share files and folders with others so it’s an awesome tool for collaboration as well. The first 2 GB of space is free, but for most, that’s more than enough to get started. Check out the video demonstration of Dropbox at www.dropbox.com today!
3. Animoto – www.animoto.com
Sharing videos and photos with friends, family, or coworkers has never been more fun than with Animoto! You can create 30 second video creations from photos you’ve taken. Then you can upload or choose music from the available online collections at Animoto and share your completed video clip with anyone you choose via email links, burned to a DVD, or via your favorite social media site. This is a great tool for personal or professional purposes. I’ve used it several times to promote upcoming association events or meetings using pictures from past events. If you are looking for a great way to capture the attention of others, create your own video clips with Animoto!
4. YouSendIt – www.yousendit.com
Have you ever tried to send a HUGE file to someone by email only to have it bounce back that the file size was too large for their email server? You need YouSendIt! Sending large files online is quick and simple with YouSendIt. With a free “lite” account, you can send large, individual files by uploading the file to their site, composing an email to accompany it, and clicking send. For more extensive corporate use, they do have upgraded versions that are even more robust.
5. Any Meeting – www.anymeeting.com
If you’re looking for a full featured, free tool for holding webinars and virtual meetings, you must try AnyMeeting. You can hold meetings with up to 200 participants via webinar or audio conference. It has the ability to send meeting invites and create custom registration pages for your even through the AnyMeeting website. You can share your computer screen or use your webcam to add a personal touch to your events. Plus you can record a live meeting so it’s available for replay later. They also have the ability to create polls and surveys for attendee follow up. Best part – no downloads required! This is one of the simplest tools for the non-techie to use for online meeting facilitation.
6. HootSuite – www.hootsuite.com
HootSuite is my social media dashboard. When you have multiple social media sites you are interacting on, you can coordinate all of your activities from one central site. You can monitor and post to multiple social networks from HootSuite. Since it’s a web-based tool, you can access it from any computer you’re at without any software downloads required. For locations that block Facebook and Twitter, Hootsuite may provide a way to connect with your favorite social media sites without added hassle. Download the app on your mobile devices for ease and simplicity when you’re on the go also. This tool is especially helpful for corporate environments where you want to track analytics, schedule posts, and monitor what’s being said about your brand and company.
7. Skype – www.skype.com
My new favorite all-in-one communication tool is Skype. I use Skype for local, long distance, and international phone calls, instant messaging and online chatting, and video calls. It’s a simple technology to use, and it’s free! On occasion, I’ll pay for a day pass to do group video calls with friends or colleagues. It’s a great way to connect and collaborate whether it’s by phone, chat, or video.
8. Wave Pad Sound Editor – http://www.nch.com.au/wavepad/index.html
If you haven’t been asked to edit an audio file yet, it’s just a matter of time. Audio and video are two of the fastest growing ways companies are using to connect with their target markets online especially with social media. If you don’t have a team of audio/video specialists on staff, knowing how to edit a simple audio clip can save a lot of time, hassle, and expense for your employer. Plus it’s a lot of fun! So the Wave Pad Sound Editor is one of my favorite tools for recording audios, editing audios, and converting audios to web-ready formats to share with others. Audio editing is one of those skills you can add to your resume BEFORE you’re asked to do it with the assistance of the Wave Pad Sound Editor.
9. When Is Good – http://whenisgood.net and Doodle – http://doodle.com
So I couldn’t choose between these TWO resources for scheduling meetings. I use them both depending upon the type of situation and the complexity of the schedules I’m trying to coordinate. When Is Good allows me to put all kinds of time options out there and the attendees can paint over all possible times and dates that might work for the meeting we’re scheduling. Doodle allows me to just give the specific options I had in mind and then attendees can check a box to indicate which ones will work or not. Investigate both and make meeting scheduling with external parties a lot simpler with these free online tools.
10. Goo.gl URL Shortener – http://goo.gl
Sending long, complicated website URLs by email or in documents can create headaches if the links get broken or don’t stay intact. URL shorteners like Goo.gl are exactly what you need to make long URLs short and concise, plus you can track the number of clicks and referrers on any shortened URL. These are especially helpful when you want to track social media metrics, email click through rates, and more. It will also create a QR code (quick response code) that you can use to graphically promote the link online or in printed materials as well.
These are my top 10 favorites for this week anyway. I’m sure you have a few favorites yourself. Technology changes fast! The only chance we all have of staying on top of it is to collaborate and share what we know with each other. So be sure to comment on this article and share your favorite admin sites and resources for staying organized, connected, and smoothly sailing along each day at the office. I can’t wait to discover some more new favorites from you!
© 2012 Julie Perrine International, LLC
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Julie Perrine, CAP-OM, is the founder and CEO of All Things Admin, providing training, mentoring and resources for administrative professionals worldwide. Julie applies her administrative expertise and passion for lifelong learning to serving as an enthusiastic mentor, speaker and author who educates admins around the world on how to be more effective every day. Learn more about Julie’s books — The Innovative Admin: Unleash the Power of Innovation in Your Administrative Career and The Organized Admin: Leverage Your Unique Organizing Style to Create Systems, Reduce Overwhelm, and Increase Productivity. And request your free copy of our special report “From Reactive to Proactive: Creating Your Strategic Administrative Career Plan” at www.AllThingsAdmin.com.