Organizing work and free time via PC can be much easier. But be careful when choosing: Many tools only help to a limited extent. The tools presented here actually make everyday life easier.
Appointments, notes and Co. – these tools make your life easier.
© Photo: © Rawpixel.com – Fotolia.com
If you regularly archive texts from the Internet, manage your private appointments on the screen and maybe also work with other people online in a team, then you may know the problem: There are dozens of programs for these tasks, but many of them are of limited use. They are cumbersome to use or lack exactly one function that you would like to have. Ultimately, you end up with the triumvirate of Outlook, browser and word processor.
More about home office at NewsABC.net
There are certainly tools with which you can simplify the usual routine work on the computer. The fact that they are little known is often only due to the fact that the manufacturer does not stir the advertising drum enough and the circle of users is simply too small for effective word of mouth. Sometimes the price just scares you off. In recent years, many users have gotten used to the fact that software either costs just a few euros or is completely free. It is often better to spend a double-digit amount on a good program than to use more or less useless free tools.
In the following, PC-Welt presents a selection of software for organizing your everyday life with the PC. You may know some of them, others are largely unknown. In addition to freeware and open source tools, there are also some outstanding examples that are available for a fee.
Plan tasks with Microsoft To Do and Zenkit
Microsoft To Do has taken over the beautiful, clearly structured user interface from Wunderlist and offers itself as a simple task planner.
Microsoft To Do
has emerged from the popular tool
, which was originally developed by a Berlin company. It was taken over by Microsoft in 2015 and the group discontinued the program in early May 2020. Before that, however, he adapted the already existing Microsoft To Do in terms of appearance and operation to Wunderlist and built in an import function for its lists and tasks.
Microsoft To Do
is suitable for creating shopping slips as well as for private daily planning. Versions for Windows, Android and iOS are available, which can be synchronized via a Microsoft account, and there is also a web application. To Do also takes over tasks from Outlook, but the user has to save their Outlook data online. Microsoft To Do particularly impresses with its clearly structured, simple interface. You can create several lists of points that you want or need to do. You can set it to today or tomorrow, send it by email and finally mark it as done. Sharing the lists with other users is also possible.
An alternative is the German software
Zenkit To Do
. Its design and functionality are based on Microsoft To Do / Wunderlist and can take over its task lists. You can sort the tasks according to different criteria, attach files, there is a search function and the possibility to share lists with other people. In addition to a Windows version, a web version of the tool is also available, as well as apps for Android and iOS. Annoying, however, is the currently incomplete German translation of the program interface and the purely English-language help function that can only be accessed online.
Microsoft To Do and Zenkit are primarily designed for private use. There are better alternatives for working together on a project, for example
. Both are web applications that are started in the browser; However, Trello now also offers versions for Windows, Mac OS, Android and iOS. Trello has been part of the English company Altlassian since 2017, which produces the Kanban board Jira, among other things.
Monday.com with its modern, tidy interface is not only suitable for professional users, but also for smaller, private work groups.
orients itself with the icon-filled bar on the left side to the design of the Windows 10 start menu. The interface looks modern, is clear despite the many elements and helps at all corners with assistants to set up and configure the boards on which builds the web application. The manufacturer, the Israeli company Monday.com, has also produced videos that explain the individual functions and, above all, make it easier for beginners to get started.
The Monday.com boards are equally suitable for organizing the everyday work of individuals as well as for project management of small and large teams. You can assign due dates and priorities to your team members. It is even possible to describe dependencies for individual tasks – only when this work has been completed can the next one begin. This is cleverly solved in Monday.com, in the form of pre-prepared if-then formulas: Pre-prepared cards, the automations, contain texts such as “If a task has reached this date, then start a subsequent task”. Simply insert these automations into your project and specify the respective tasks, done.
Unfortunately, the user interface of Monday.com is only partially translated into German, large parts, and this includes the automation, are only available in English. On the other hand, I liked the option of exporting boards to Excel and importing them from there. In this way, many adjustments can also be made on the Excel interface.
You can try Monday.com for free for two weeks, after which you have to choose one of the packages offered. Prices start at 39 euros per month for five users and the basic package, for the more functional standard, pro and enterprise versions, with a corresponding number of users, quickly becomes due several hundred euros per month.
Try Monday.com for free for 14 days
The web-based project management software Trello is quickly learned thanks to drag & drop and an intuitive user interface.
is somewhat reminiscent of a blackboard on which a joint task with post-it notes is organized. The post-its are called cards here and can be put together on boards using drag & drop to form nested diagrams. You can add files, links or checklists, set deadlines or label them with labels. You can also add additional members to each card, who are identified by their email address. In this way, simple teamwork is possible. All actions of the team members are logged in the menu column on the right, so that everyone can see what is currently happening with the project currently being viewed.
Onenote and Evernote: The fight for the best notebook
Like Evernote, Microsoft Onenote allows you to quickly drag and drop the images and texts on a website onto one of the program’s digital memos.
When it comes to taking notes, saving website snippets, sketches or photos, there is no way
past. Both tools share a peculiar tradition: there is a relatively small group of ardent fans, for whom the two programs form the basis of their daily work, while the rest of humanity just shrugs their shoulders when it comes to digital notes. Casual users, on the other hand, are rare.
Both programs are used to store everything that can be digitally recorded in virtual notebooks. Users simply drag and drop content from websites, word processors or Excel.
uses a kind of ring binder with colored inserts, which it calls sections. Texts, pictures and other things can be placed freely on the ring binder pages like a graphic program. You can group the sections into groups and nest them on several levels. This is not a must – you can easily find the entries later using the search function.
Onenote 2016 is part of the Microsoft Office suite, you can also go to
NewsABC.net a slightly restricted version (without local storage option) free of charge or start the program as a web application. To complete the confusion, the program called Onenote Universal App is now an integral part of Windows 10. However, this edition lacks a number of functions. Further versions are available for Mac OS X, Android and iOS as well as Windows Mobile. With the exception of the Office edition, they require Microsoft Onedrive to save the notebooks; The notes can also be synchronized via the cloud service.
At times it looked as if Microsoft wanted to stop developing Onenote. However, the company has now changed its mind: At the Ignite 2019 conference, Microsoft announced that Onenote’s support in 2016 will be extended to 2025. In addition, the program was again integrated into the Office 365 and Office 2019 packages from which it last disappeared. Microsoft also announced that the apps and the desktop program will have a common code base and that the functionality will be expanded.
In contrast to Onenote, it works line-oriented and does not allow organizational structures as extensive as its competitor. An entry can be assigned to several categories here, so the tool works similarly to a database. It is free in a functionally restricted basic version with 60 MByte upload per month. You can get more functions and 10 GB by subscription for 6.99 euros per month. You get 20 GB or 2 GB upload per user and month for 13.99 euros per user and month. There are also differences in functionality, maximum note size, or the number of devices supported per account. Evernote is not only available for Windows, but also for Mac OS X, Android and iOS.
Digital pens for digital notes
With a digital pen such as the Wacom Intuos, you can digitize paper notes instantly and automatically.
Creating digital notes with Onenote or Evernote always requires input with a keyboard and mouse or, more rarely, with a graphics tablet. However, many users find it difficult to draw with the mouse, the resistance of a paper surface is simply missing. But also handwritten entries are often difficult. And if a digital document requires a signature, it often has to be carried out on paper, scanned and finally inserted as a graphic.
Digital pens are more suitable for many of these jobs. These devices look like thick ballpoint pens or fountain pens and have a ballpoint pen refill, a small infrared camera, a processor, memory and a battery. In most cases, writing is done on a kind of dotted graph paper, which the user can sometimes even produce by printing a PDF. When writing or drawing, the camera records the movements on paper and saves them as vector data in the pen. The data can then be transferred to the PC via USB or Bluetooth. Some models are compatible with Onenote, Evernote or Facebook, for example, and allow data to be transferred directly to these applications.
The market for digital pens is small, many users today prefer pens with which they can write directly on the display of tablet computers. Paper-bound pens, among other things
forth, the prices range between 100 and 200 euros.
Manage and synchronize passwords
The password manager Keepass is open source and is therefore considered to be particularly secure. The software is also available free of charge.
With the rapidly increasing computing power of CPUs and GPUs, passwords can be cracked faster and faster. The only way out: The passwords have to become longer and more complex to withstand the attacks. However, no one can remember dozens of passwords with ten or more characters permanently. Since the use of a standard password is strongly discouraged, all that remains is to switch to a sticky note in digital or paper form – or to reach for a password manager.
A warning in advance:
Password managers are undoubtedly a fine thing. You save all your passwords in an encrypted, digital safe, enter them yourself in log-in masks and, if you wish, even generate randomly long strings that you can use as passwords. Your weak point is the master password that you use to protect your password collection. If it falls into the wrong hands, all of your access IDs will be completely unprotected in one fell swoop.
There are a number of good, secure password managers. One of the best known free programs is the open source software
. It not only protects your passwords with a master password, but also with two-factor authentication if required. To do this, it generates a key file that you can save, for example, on a mobile drive such as a CD or a USB stick. Keepass can only be activated if the correct password has been entered and the key can be accessed at the same time.
NordPass is now 1 month free with a 2-year subscription
The program supports outsourcing the database to a share on the network, to a cloud service such as Dropbox or via additional plugins to FTP or other servers on the Internet. This allows you to access the same passwords across multiple computers. However, Keepass does not offer its own synchronization service.
Keepass is offered in two versions, they have version numbers 1.x and 2.x. They are not compatible with each other, so a quick change is not possible. If you have not yet worked with the program, use the version number 2.x.
A popular paid alternative is
. The range of functions is similar to that of Keepass, but the manufacturer offers its own synchronization service and support for Dropbox, iCloud and local network shares as well as a mode as a WLAN server. Because this is the third important distinction to Keepass: 1Password is not only available for Windows, but also in official versions for Mac OS X, Android and iOS as well as a browser extension for Chrome, Firefox, Safari and Opera. There are only unofficial ports from Keepass, which cover a much larger number of operating systems with various Linux distributions, Mac OS X, Android and iOS.
Reading tip: The best password manager for PC
More on the subject:
The best free online calendars
Organize files and folders perfectly – so it’ll work