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Useful free computer programs.

Cartoon of man and documents. Foxit pdf reader
- the official pdf reader is free from Adobe (www.adobe.com/uk) but is a big 22.3Mb to download, slow to open files and offers more options than most of us need. Try the free one from www.foxitsoftware.com/downloads which is just 2.13Mb in size. It opens and displays pdfs very quickly.
Squared Five logo. MPEG Streamclip
is a powerful video converter, player, editor for Mac and Windows. It can play many movie files; encode movies to many formats; extract from DVDs; can cut, trim and join movies. It is free from www.squared5.com
Photo of an audio level meter. Audio Level Meter
- Paul Marshall has devised a range of software meters (click here) - all available for free. They include PPM (Peak Programme Meters), Analogue and VU ones. There is even a calibration tone wav file.
Banknotes. How much is that?
What does that cost in my currency? Buying on the internet, planning a holiday abroad ... we all need to have some idea of what prices are in our own money. xe.com provides exchange rates between almost any currencies.
Scan of a DVD disc. Making and Burning a DVD
- there are many file converters but fewer free DVD authoring programs which will make everything required for a DVD to play on most set-top boxes. DVD Flick is simple to install and use as well as being very effective.
A sample stock-shot photo of bread. Free Stock Photos
- Stock.XCHNG is the free section of a Stock Photos website. You register but pay nothing to use the pics ... fine for websites, posters, magazines and leaflets. Possibly a problem using them in films as the movies would have to be made freely available.
Screenshot of GOM video player. Playing video
- there are plenty of media players but GOM has codecs for just about anything. It even plays damaged AVI files and has a good screen-capture facility ... simple to run but with oodles of control options if you want them. And it is just 4Mb download !
VLC Player logo.
- or VLC Media Player which handles almost everything you throw at it and has such useful tools as a snapshot option for taking screen grabs - and saving them in the correct aspect ratio. Free download from here: www.videolan.org/vlc/index.html
Picture of a generated fake newspaper. Make and Fake
How often have you needed a fake newspaper headline for a drama? What about a new brand of cigarettes (so you do not get sued). Or even your own clapperboard image? fodey.com makes it easy to generate those and more.
Firefox logo. Fast web browsing
- with Firefox  the free alternative browser which offers Windows, Mac and Linux users a better way to browse the internet.
Symbol for IrfanView. Image Editing
- there are lots of programs for manipulating still images. Few can match the power and speed of Irfanview which is free. The official website www.irfanview.com will point you to several shareware websites where you can download it.


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Page updated on 29 October 2013
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