FastStone Capture (3.25 MB) is the best piece of software I have found for capturing screen information. It allows you to print out sections of your screen, capture while scrolling a window, record movies of what you’re doing on your screen and much more. The files can be saved locally, or automatically sent to an email message or to your clipboard. Later versions of the software are now shareware, but you can still download the last free version (5.3) from this location.
XN View (32.2 MB) is the easiest high quality picture management software around. it allows for easy image re-sizing and canvas re-sizing, and you can edit EXIF information, do cropping and basic image adjustment plus a bunch of other cool functions. It works flawlessly and it’s as simple as it can get.
WinSplit Revolution (1.55 MB) allows me to snap windows to predefined screen regions. Let’s say I have a full HD screen and I want to have a window snapped to the left half of the screen, and 2 other windows sharing vertically the right side of the screen. You only need to define the screen zones once, then you use shortcuts to snap the windows to the right place. It works with any software and on any screen and it makes for a very fast way to access lots of information quickly and easily. It is especially useful if you have a large monitor of course.
Key Tweak (454 KB) is what I use to re-map keyboard keys. For instance I always re-map my CAPS key to a SHIFT key because I never use this key and it’s very frustrating when I unintentionally activate it and start typing all in caps. You can also re-map the other buttons on your keyboard, including the F1-F12 buttons (e.g. I remap F7 -F10 to the media player buttons STOP, PLAY, FF, RWD. By customizing your keyboard efficiently you can save a large amount of time during day to day computer tasks.
Max Tray Player (1.69 MB) is a simple music player that sits snuggly on the Windows task bar. I used to use AIMP or WINAMP snapped to the right upper side of my screen, but they were always getting in my way when I wanted to close, minimize or maximize windows. Tray Player sits quietly on the right of my clock and allows me instant access to the player without interfering with the rest of my work. Despite being a tiny program, it comes with an excellent selection of options, including skins, visualization, placement options and an equalizer.
So these are the programs I use to improve my productivity. All of them are supplied free of charge and with very small memory footprints (we’re looking at less than 65MB for all of them!!!) and and most of them are portable except for Max Tray Player and Trillian. However with a bit of tweaking you could make them all portable if needed, and carry them around on an USB stick, which is perfect if you want to create your own personalized work environment. I would love to hear about your favorite productivity freeware in the comments. How do you improve your daily work routine?