14 Free Online Tools You Should Know About

14 Free Online Tools You Should Know About

When web browsers first began to support apps and interactivity, the functionality was basic and slow—but now online apps can do almost as much as desktop apps can, and, more importantly, these online tools are free.

So, if you’ve got a quick computing job that needs doing, you can open up a web browser to get it done—there’s no need to pay for a Windows or macOS utility to download and install. Here are some of our free favorites when it comes to tasks you can quickly do inside a browser tab.

1) Convert Word files to PDFs

Screenshot: ILovePDF

Online tools can take care of all kinds of conversions, including Word to PDF if you don’t already have something that can do the job. ILovePDF is a good option here: It’s really simple to use, requires no configuration, and can convert back in the other direction, too.

2) Create a GIF

Screenshot: Giphy

You might want to create a GIF for all kinds of reasons, and you don’t need any special software for it because Giphy will do the job for you. You can get started by loading an existing set of images or by pointing the app towards a video somewhere online.

3) Compress images

Screenshot: Image Compressor

Smaller images are better for sharing online, sending over messaging apps, and attaching to emails. If you’re of a certain age, you’ll remember the pain of compressing images in the olden days, but now you can load up Image Compressor.

4) Edit PDF files

Screenshot: Smallpdf

Back to PDF files, we like Smallpdf for applying quick edits to a PDF document inside a web browser. You can highlight text, drop in text boxes, draw scribbles and overlay shapes on top of PDFs, introduce images, and even sign forms using the editing tools available.

5) Unzip file archives

Screenshot: ZIP Extractor

Another computing job that’s much easier than it used to be is extracting files for compressed archive formats. If that’s something you need to do, then the aptly named ZIP Extractor will get the task done for you (it even supports Google Drive, if needed).

6) Generate QR codes

Screenshot: QRCodeMonkey

It feels like QR codes are now as widely used as they’ve ever been, and generating your own (to point to a website, your contact details, or something else) couldn’t be more straightforward: Head over to QRCodeMonkey to find a bunch of options.

7) Convert between units

Screenshot: UnitConverters

Once upon a time, this would’ve been the perfect job for a little Windows or macOS utility, but now plenty of web apps are ready to take it on. One of the ones we like is UnitConverters because it covers a wealth of options through a clean, simple interface.

8) Add watermarks to images

Screenshot: iLoveIMG

You’ve got a bunch of images that need labeling with watermarks, and iLoveIMG is ready and waiting to apply those watermarks for you. Pick the pictures you want to work with, choose the text or image you’d like to apply as a watermark, and the app does the rest.

9) Remove image backgrounds

Screenshot: Canva

This is another image manipulation one you don’t need to install any software for. Load up Canva, choose your image, and it’ll take care of the rest. Of course, Canva offers plenty of other impressive graphics tools through your web browser, too.

10) Extract text from images

Screenshot: Image to Text Converter

Point your browser towards Image to Text Converter, give it an image, and it’ll pull out the text from that image for you. When the conversion is done, which won’t take long, you can save the text to disk or copy it to the clipboard—quick, straightforward, and accurate.

11) Trim audio clips

Screenshot: Audio Cutter Online

Need to trim the start or end of an audio clip? No problem—you don’t need any special software for the job; you need Audio Cutter Online. Upload your file (all the popular formats are supported), and you get a simple interface to do your editing inside.

12) Pick out colors

Screenshot: RedKetchup Color Picker

If you need to know exactly what color is used in an image, then the RedKetchup Color Picker can help: You can load in an image from disk, paste one from the clipboard, or drag and drop one into your browser window, before identifying the color of any pixel.

13) Translate text between languages

Screenshot: Google Translate

This may well be one you’re already aware of, but it’s worth mentioning nevertheless: Google Translate offers a lightweight, powerful online translation tool for text, images, documents, and websites, and it’ll even identify the languages involved if needed.

14) Make calculations

Screenshot: Calculator.net

If you need to work through calculations of any type, then Calculator.net has you covered: From an advanced scientific calculator to sums involving finances to figuring out calories and weight, there’s not much that this suite of online apps can’t do with numbers.


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