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Free online tools for 2012

To help your organisation get off to a flying start in 2012, our expert team has hand-picked 12 free web-based tools for better workplace communication, collaboration and productivity. We proudly present them to you, in alphabetical order.

Alfresco

Alfresco runs on an open source stack and includes document management, web content management, records management and collaboration tools. The Alfresco Community version is supported via its developer forums. The software needs to be installed and configured on a web server.

Big Blue Button

BigBlueButton is an open source web conferencing system that runs on Mac, Linux and Windows. It is perfect for remote learning, online training and web meetings. Features include web cam, presentation, integrated VoIP, desktop sharing, whiteboard, record and playback. The software needs to be installed and configured on a web server.

eXe

eXe is an open source authoring tool that assists educators, content developers and instructional designers to publish web content. eXe authored resources can be exported in IMS Content Package, SCORM 1.2, or IMS Common Cartridge formats or as simple self-contained web pages. The software is downloaded and installed directly on your computer.

Google Docs

Google Docs allows for the creation of  online files which can be accessed by another desktop computer, laptop, table or smart phone anytime. Allows for creation, access, sharing and collaboration on documents, spreadsheets, presentations and forms. The software is cloud-based, no download or installation required.

Jing

Jing is a screen capture tool. It is ideal for creating video screencast, tutorials and demonstrations. The videos can be instantly shared on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. There is a free version for Mac and Windows users.  The software is downloaded, installed and used directly on your computer.

Mail Chimp

MailChimp is an email marketing tool that helps you manage newsletter campaigns, mailing lists and track results. It is free to have up to 2,000 subscribers and send up to 12,000 emails per month. The software is cloud-based, no download or installation required.

Mockups

Mockups is an interface design program for quickly creating low-tech wireframes, prototypes and mockups. It is great for application design, usability testing and demonstrations. It is fully cross-platform for Mac, Windows and Linux. There is a free 7-day trial. The software is downloaded, installed and used directly on your computer.

Open Office

OpenOffice.org is the leading free open source office software suite for word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, graphics, databases and more. Under the LGPL licence, it may be used for any purpose – domestic, commercial, educational, public administration.  The software is downloaded, installed and used directly on your computer.

Sugar CRM

Sugar is a customer relationship management solution. It is designed to help your organisation communication prospects, share sales information, close deals and keep customers happy. The Community Edition is open source and freely available. The software needs to be installed and configured on a web server, however, there is also a commercial cloud-based version.

Survey Monkey

SurveyMonkey is a tool for designing online surveys to collect and analyse user feedback. The free version of Survey Monkey allows up to 10 questions and a 100 responses. This represents a cheap survey solution for the whole organisation. The software is cloud-based, no download or installation required.

WordPress

WordPress is an open source content management system for creating amazing blogs and websites. It includes custom templates, integrated statistics and automatic spam filtering. The software needs to be installed and configured on a web server.

Zen Desk

Zendesk is a web-based support system that can be used to support your clients, staff or end users. Features include tickets, triggers, automations, forums, satisfaction ratings, and custom branding. There are also some nice integrations and a mobile app for agents. There is a free-trial, however, there is a monthly fee if you decide to continue beyond the trial period. The software is cloud-based, no download or installation required.