By Kim Komando, Signal Contributing Writer
If you know where to look, there’s a number of free, useful things you can find online.
Free online storage in the cloud
Cloud storage is a great way to access and share your computer’s media library remotely. If you save documents, photos, and videos in the cloud, you’ll be able to reach them at work, on your laptop while traveling, or on your phone or tablet wherever you are located.
If you’re already a Google user, Google Drive is a versatile option. This free cloud storage system gives you 5 gigabytes (GB) of free online storage, and you can buy more storage as needed.
iCloud is the online storage program available to Apple users. This service makes it easy to transfer and view files across your iPhones, iPads and iMacs. You get an initial 5GB free and can purchase more space if and when you need it.
If you are an Amazon Prime member, you get 5GB of Amazon Cloud Drive space for free and unlimited photo storage at no additional cost.
Dropbox is another reliable cloud storage site. It gives you 2GB of space for free when you sign up, and you can earn more storage when you recommend others to sign up for a Dropbox account.
Free office software
Microsoft Office remains the most popular productivity software around. It’s not free, of course, and many people waffle on whether to buy it. Fortunately, you can get pretty much the same power and performance without the hefty price tag.
First, there’s the free and open-source office suite LibreOffice. This suite offers six programs that will feel instantly familiar if you’ve ever used Office. Writer, Calc and Impress are equivalent to Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. Even better, it can open and edit the documents you made in Office and can save new files in Office formats.
Another great free online option is Google Docs. Google Docs is more than just a word processor; it’s an entire suite of productivity programs that have become steadily more powerful over years of development. Next time you need to start a spreadsheet, build a presentation, create a form, or make a digital drawing, try Google Docs, Sheets, Slides or others and see if it’s something you can use.
Free photo editing software
If you know a professional photographer or a serious hobbyist, they’re using Photoshop. For everyone else, GIMP is a compelling, top-quality, free alternative to Photoshop.
GIMP stands for GNU Image Manipulation Program. It has a lot of the same capabilities as Photoshop. There are filters, brush tools, gradients, smudging, cropping and erasing tools. You can add colors with a pencil, a paintbrush, or fill in whole areas of your image.
If you’re comfortable exploring new software programs, plunge into GIMP. Open a photograph or image that you want to manipulate.
GIMP is useful in that it puts almost all its tools into pop-up boxes surrounding the image. If you want to touch up an image’s shape, or angle, add text, erase parts of the image, or add on layers of texture, you’ll find all the tools right in front of you.
For information on Kim Komando on today’s digital lifestyle, from smartphones and tablets to online privacy and data hacks, visit her at Komando.com.