Collaboration and Sharing Software

Share and get feedback on documents (Word, Excel), Powerpoint, images (including Photoshop PSD files), webpages and free-form text. Backboard also features multiple versions of a project, email integration – you only need to send an email with the file for review – there is also the option for desktop upload and SSL encryption.

Share any content from anywhere, you can see versioning of docs, who did what and when and you don’t necessarily have to have a naming convention.  You can upload any file type, share individual files as well as folders and it has a really simple interface.  You can also access content on the move, on any device from the iPad to the Android which could be useful.  Password protected sharing, document sharing history and google apps integration are also included.

Free software which organizes all your diary events and synchronises them as well as linking to google apps it can also synchronise with Outlook, Google calendar, Facebook and Twitter.  If you have a google app account you can use this with single sign on.

File sync from anywhere with a web interface, download the app for your PC, gives you instant access from a desktop icon where you can “click and drag” files from your pc to the drop box for sharing.  Or just access the files from the web interface.  Upload files of any size or type, it automatically detects when changes have occured and keeps a history of every change that has been made to a file, allowing you to undo any mistakes and even undelete files. The default is 30 days of history for all your files.

Several people can collaborate on the same files and see instantly any changes that occur, it also has FREE Mobile apps for iPhone, iPad, BlackBerry, and Android to allow dropbox access on the move.

Similar to but perhaps not as user friendly and there is a space limitation

This looks interesting as a very basic collaboration area, see what you think at

Is a type of blog where posters can be created and shared.  You can set it up for a group of students who can then embed it into their blog.  All you need to do is create an account, say how many students you need it for and it will create areas for each student to create their posters.  It’s private and allows students to embed any type of resource into their design.

NB:  for each account you would need a different email address!  (Guide available at

A Google Apps for project planning & collaboration, very cool and you get a lot for the basic package.  If you already have the apps then this is a very useful addition as you can create projects and assign tasks to different collaboators,clients or users.

This could be useful as it is not only a file upload and collaboration tool but also a project planning tool as well.  It has an in built mail system where files can be sent as attachments to members of the team for discussion and annotation.  You can also allocate tasks and collaborators.

Like Backboard, ProofHQ has the ability to annotate a variety of document types – PDFs, PSDs, JPGs, Word, Powerpoint – and webpages. It also includes email integration, version control and the ability to create workspaces. You can customize the look and feel to give it some branding.

ReviewBasics FREE
Upload different document types, review online, share, annotate and mark up images, videos and documents.

Stixy (Beta) FREE
This is quite cool for collaboration and you can tag and sort images, unfortunately you can only load one file at a time.

Zoho and google docs
Are very similar to drop box, but zoho and Google can be linked together.  The FREE Google account has a maximum file upload size of 1024MB and up to 50 users.

Alternatively, you can obtain a Google Apps for business but there is an annual cost of $50/user/year with unlimited users.

Other sharing options

Wiki’s and Blogs

Others, more for personal use, like Facebook

FREE & Open Source Software

Office Equivalents

Open Office (PC) & Neo Office (Mac)
Both of these are great alternatives to Microsoft office, easy to use and if you like the office interface, these aren’t too different and have the main features.
You can open any existing office file in these packages as well as creating normal Word, PowerPoint or Excel documents, but be warned, when opening an old Powerpoint some of the animations may not work.  Also, any images that were saved as .tiffs will be a problem as they too will not display properly so it is best to reformat the images into .gif or .jpg formats.

Toms Planner
Is a Project Management tool for the production of Gannt Charts online, these are printable, downloadable, save-able and sharable.

Graphics – Photoshop Equivalents

GIMP (PC, MAC, Linux)
This Photoshop equivalent open source software is very popular and if you’re familiar with Photoshop you should have no problems using it.  It has all the normal features such as resizing, filtering and retouching and just like Photoshop, you can save your photo to a web friendly format.  There is also a type of layering system which is useful if, like me, you like to build a graphic using many images.  If, like me, you work with brochures and wish to use the same graphics for teaching material you can import them into Gimp and customise accordingly.

However, there is one small problem with GIMP in that the user interface is not as intuitive as it could be as you don’t get one window but several movable panels, which is a pane if you are using other packages at the same time, but this is just a small gripe for what is basically a nice graphic editing package.

Photo Plus (PC)
Another alternative to Photoshop is Photo Plus Starter edition by Serif but, unlike Gimp, the user interface here is much better with all the standard photo editing tools such as paint, resize, filter etc. that you would expect to have. But it does have some drawbacks in that, technically, you are only allowed one copy per person and it only exists for PC’s – sorry MAC owners!  There are a number of good features included in the free version but so much more is available with PhotoPlusX4 if you don’t mind parting with some cash, but its still cheaper than Photoshop and is a great alternative once you get used to the interface.

Screen shots software

Inkscape (PC)
An alternative to Adobe Illustrator, and there aren’t many of those, you can easily create vectors using pre-made shape tools and the pen tool.  One feature that was very impressive was that you could easily edit vector points/anchors, something quite difficult to do in illustrator.  The interface may be more ‘clunky’ but it doesn’t take long to find what you need.

Print Screen key (PC)
Most people have come across this at some point as it’s one of the easiest ways to grab a picture of the screen.  Simply hit the Print Screen (PrtScn) key on the keyboard, an image is created and stored in the computer’s memory, then open MS Word or other and click Edit > Paste.

Grab (MAC)
This piece of freeware is pre-installed in all MACs that have OSX. You can take shots of a screen, window or parts of the screen.  One of the best features is the fact that you can set a timer to take a screen shot in 30 seconds. This gives you time to set up the view you want to take.

MW Snap (PC)
This excellent screen capturing software for the PC lets you take screen shots, window shots or shots of parts of the screen. Unfortunately, it does not come with the timed screen capture feature that is included in Grab and some other software’s.

Jing (MAC and PC)
Captures the PC screen as you use it and allows you to draw the dimensions of the capture area on the screen, record with Audio and saves only as SWF (Flash compressed format), it can only be 5 minutes maximum but you can pause while you are recording the screen if you need to make any adjustments.  It is easy to install, free and comes with a very simple user/help guide.  However, you can upgrade to Snagit for a few extra pounds which will give you more functionality and save options.

PDF Software (Acrobat Equivalents)

Scan Soft PDF Creator
This is an excellent replacement for Adobe Acrobat contains most of the features that you would expect to find in Adobe Acrobat.  You can create PDFs from all Microsoft documents (Word, PowerPoint, Excel etc.) add bookmarks, security features and page numbering.  However, one of the features that has not worked too well in the past was inserting PDF’s.  This option should allow you to combine two different PDFs into one, which it did intermittently but at other times it crashed the program.  However, this is only a slight complaint and overall this is a decent alternative to Adobe Acrobat.

HTML/ Web Page Creation Software

Page Breeze
Free HTML editor with a simple interface, similar to Dreamweaver and doesn’t take too long to become familiar with the interface.

Coffee Free HTML
May not be free but is a very easy to use HTML editor and like PageBreeze, the interface is similar to Dreamweaver so this too is easy to get use to.

Online HTML Editor
Real time online with preview, really easy to use and you can copy the code into notepad and save as a HTML page.  It is great for checking code for errors and the look of a page before using it on a live site.

Free HTML editor
Is another free online HTML editor, similar to the Online Editor but without the preview function.  It has a really simple toolbar and is great for anyone who just needs to knock up a quick web page, it too has a very simple interface and easy to use by anyone.

Has a WYSIWYG HTML editor and comes with prebuilt templates which make building your first website nice and simple.  The interface and toolbars are similar to word so finding your way around is relatively easy.  all in all this is definitely worth considering as analternative to say, Dreamweaver and is a very useful HTML editor.

This web hosting and site builder is a great first step into web design as it provides the novice designer with a set of templates for some nice looking sites, where you only have to add your own content. The prices are reasonable and provide a simple solution for anyone who needs a site quickly.

Creates Flash presentations from PowerPoint and is a useful piece of software that allows you to create Flash Presentations from PowerPoint.  Making them into Flash presentations means that they can be published easily to a number of sites such as SlideShare and the format also protects your work so that no one can edit, change or delete it. One of the unique aspects is that you can retain any audio and animation that you add to your PowerPoint and when ISpring is installed it works as a plugin in PowerPoint, appearing in the PowerPoint toolbar, just click on Publish to create the file.

Audio Software

AVS Audio Editor
This is a PC software which is easy to use for recording quick items.  You can save in different file formats such as WAV and MP3 but it’s no longer free.

Simply the best audio editor for Mac and PC, enough said.

Flash MP3 Player
Play MP3 audio files in your webpages, choose colour, size etc, you just download to get the code.

Free MP3 to OGG converter
Brilliantly easy to install and use, such a simple conversion tool, any audio type can be converted very simply and run in the background…now all I need to find is an image converter that is just as simple!!

Convert Genius
Free trial, converts any video format for popular output devices including DVD player, iPad, iPod, iPhone, Apple TV, Zune, PSP, PS3, Blackberry, 3G phones and many more.

Microsoft Sound Recording and Easy Screen Reader

Image Conversion

Advanced Batch Converter
At last I have found a fairly reasonable batch image converter easy to use, it only took me about 10 minutes, it is very quick to convert EPS to JPG.  My only complaint is that you select the files in the right pane of the window the when you select add it shows them in the left pane, but that’s only a small problem which most people won’t even notice!