On Computing

Apps to Improve Your Literacy and Productivity

Joel Howell

Article by Joel Howell Newsletter Editorial Board


Apps both old and new continue to improve your literacy and productivity. Here are several on both counts, with a few thoughts on what you may not know about the old and details on the new.

Adobe Acrobat Reader [both Android and IOS] (acrobat.adobe.com) is free through the Android and Apple stores. Notable functions include viewing and annotating PDFs. Many users give this app a high rating due to its reliability, price point, and annotating markup tools which are great for group projects and editing in general. The annotating feature works with a variety of paper sizes and can be paired with the next app.

Adobe Scan is another app provided free through the Android and Apple stores and can be paired with the Adobe Acrobat Reader – allowing easy document upload and storage to begin your work projects through the annotating features previously mentioned. Adobe Scan can be used on both a tablet and phones.

Clip Stack. This app is free through the Android store and functions best for those who need to use copied texts. When you copy a line of text, Clip Stack stores that copied information, allowing you to access it whenever you need. Also available for tablet use.

DocuSign (docusign.com) is also free through the Android and Apple stores, but there are paid plans available from $120/year per person. Users find this app is best for electronically signing documents on the go. The app’s purpose is to enable secure and official signing and delivery of documents, and has quickly become a staple in many fields.

Evernote (evernote.com) is free through the Android and Apple Stores, but plans for Premium membership are $69.99/year. This app offers great functionality, allowing you to take notes in many formats including: type, voice memo, checklist, text note, or an image. With its optical character recognition (OCR) technology, this app allows for both typed text and handwriting to be scanned by your phones, then making the text searchable. There are also many notebook/ writing pad options through Evernote for converting handwritten notes into a digital format on the phone or tablet.

Google translate is free through the Apple store. One of its best features: through the use of your camera, text can be automatically translated into your preferred language. This app is great for quick and reference on the go. Google Translate app has the ability to translate up to 103 languages with internet connection and 59 languages without internet connection. Additionally, the conversation feature allows for translations to be processed through the speaker on your phone as well as speaking your translated text in over 32 languages.

Hootsuite (hootsuite.com) is a social media managing app that allows you to update a company’s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and LinkedIn pages, all from the same screen (and without having to log in to each individual account multiple times). Many users find the scheduling feature to be what really makes this app shine. It allows users to schedule hundreds of messages at a time, and then it will post your chosen content at your specified time. Plans start at $29/month after a 30 day free trial. https://hootsuite.com/plans/free

Toggl (toogl.com) is for those who need to keep track of time. Available for your phone, tablet, and computer, it allows you to go anywhere and still have access. Many users like the reminder feature, which allows you to never forget. Once you’ve completed a task, Toggl will calculated the time spent, all you have to do is analyze its findings and adjust where needed. Toggl is free, but premium features start at $9/month.

HelloSign (hellosign.com) is great for IOS users needing to sign documents on the go. HelloSign allows you to sign contracts which are organized inside the secure HelloSign system, allowing you to have digital copies wherever you go. This is a free app for limited use; upgraded plans are available starting at $13/month.

Duolingo (duolingo.com) is for those trying to learn a new language in order to better communicate with clients or co-workers. Many users find Duolingo is easy to use and provides simple daily exercises geared towards making you more familiar with your chosen language to learn. One of its many features include interactive games designed to get you started in the language learning process. Duolingo can customize the amount of time for each session, offering daily lessons for as little as 5 minutes a day, all the way up to 30 minutes a day. This app is available through both the Android and Apple stores.

Questions or comments? Drop me an email: jwh3@mindspring.com