Working smarter with your laptop

Graham WilsonHave you ever thought to yourself; if only my laptop could do that, it would save me so much time? Most people have; but then done nothing about it.

Perhaps you didn’t realise, but there is a whole industry out there that that exists to fix the minor irritations you and I have with otherwise excellent mainstream software.

In this short article I will share with you some of the low-cost software that bolts onto my laptop, and which makes my life just that little bit easier. Just go onto the Internet and search for the names below for further details.

BarLaunch 8.1
If the Microsoft Office shortcut bar is not to your liking, try this inexpensive shareware programme and file launcher that sits at the side of your screen as a bar with single or group buttons you link to your favourite programmes, files or folders by “dragging and dropping”.

You’re not still working on just one computer screen, are you?

Buy a second one and, for example, have Microsoft Word or Excel open in front of you and simultaneously run Microsoft Outlook on the screen to the side.

Ultramon is a utility costing $39.95 that creates two new buttons alongside the normal ones that appear on the Microsoft Windows title bar in the top right hand corner of the screen. The “move window” button, for example, means you can switch applications quickly from one screen to another.

Ever wanted to save Outlook emails as though they were Word documents? For €25 this utility does it for you with relative ease. Attachments are saved too.

FirstCap 3.0
If, like me, you keep hitting the “Caps Lock” key by mistake, this freeware utility will disable it for as long as you choose. It will do the same for the number lock key.

I’ve saved my favourite until last...

Why pay £445 for Adobe Acrobat 9 Pro, when for $49.95 you can get CutePDF Professional? It does pretty much all that the more expensive software does, which is why we bought a licence for everyone in the office.

These useful pieces of software work well and save me time; they could work equally well for you. Conversely, if you have a favourite piece of freeware or shareware, please drop me an email and tell me about it; you might have found a fix that I haven’t.

Graham Wilson is partner at Beever and Struthers incorporating Waterworths.