Nov 5, 2015 | Events, News, Resources


Here is a quick guide to some of the top picks in free and open-source software to save you and your business money, for:

  • Office Suite Software (Microsoft Office Alternatives)
  • Photo Editing, Graphics, Art Software (Photoshop etc. alternatives)
  • Online Cloud File Storage and Sharing
  • Send/Transfer Large Files
  • PC Maintenance, Backup and Recovery
  • Anti-Virus Protection Software
  • Video Editing
  • Management & Organisation
  • Social Media Management

We all spend a lot on software licences and buying programs! The full price software is often the best bet if you rely heavily on it. However, if are looking to fill your digital tool-belt with useful software without the expense… here is how to save money in different areas on the software for your business.

There are many alternatives to most of these, but this is simply a list based on the ones we have tried and tested. We would always recommend you researching the latest alternatives before committing. Mainly though it just highlights HOW MUCH good free software is out there!


We don’t think you really need to pay for Microsoft office if you are an individual or SME, here’s why:

      • Includes Docs, Sheets, Slides (alternatives to Word, Excel, Powerpoint) amongst many other apps, and is available for free with a personal Gmail address
      • Works in conjunction with Google Drive
      • All on line! So its always saved, and can be accessed on all your devices with Google Apps/Google Drive installed.
      • Multiple people can edit a document live at the same time!
      • Compatible with Microsoft document formats
    • Includes Writer, Calc, Impress, Draw (alternatives to Word, Excel, Powerpoint, Paint) and more.
    • Free full office suite, it’s open-source.
    • Compatible with Microsoft document formats, you can both open and save in Microsoft file types.
    • With 100,000,000+ downloads it has a huge following.


We use Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, InDesign and the rest of the Adobe Creative Cloud software, because we use it every day it is a necessity. However, we recommend these for people who have some image editing requirements that don’t warrant splashing out on the real deal:

  • InkScape – Draw Vectors https://inkscape.org/en/
    • Inkscape is a free/ Open source vector drawing package, in the same style as Adobe Illustrator and Corel Draw.
    • Draw in vectors
    • PDF compatible
      • Basic but effective
      • Crop and edit photos and more
      • Bulk edit multiple images by setting actions
    • GIMP is a free/ Open source Photoshop alternative.
    • Retouch and edit photos
    • Create artwork
    • Paint.NET is free image and photo editing software for PCs that run Windows.
        • Less in depth than GIMP so may be easier to pick up
      • Fast 3D modelling
      • Rendering
      • Animation
      • Game creation


  • Dropbox- https://www.dropbox.com
      • 2GB* of Free Space to start (But you can earn more) *Correct on 10/2015
      • This is arguably the main one for team file sharing and storage, although there are other options.
      • Sign up to dropbox/ get the app, and have cross-device sharing, and share your folders with other dropbox users in your team or clients.
    • 15GB of free space to start
    • Cloud storage for files and folder organisation
    • Share files and folders with multiple users
    • This all comes by just having a gmail address, and you can store any files on Google drive, or take advantage of Google apps (Google’s Microsoft office alternative)


      • Wetransfer offers multiple large file transferring for free up to 2GB per transfer.
      • It also has a mobile app in Google Play/ Appstore.
      • Simply visit the site, skip the ‘Plus’ Intro screen, and drag+drop you file. Add your email, and recipients email, then send! Easy.
    • Open-source (GNU GPL) FTP client for Windows, Mac OS X and GNU/Linux.


Piriform https://www.piriform.com/ provides loads of cool free small programs to keep you PC ticking over:

      • Clean up you hard disk and registry
      • It should speed up your machine, free space, and boot faster.
      • Not for a total novice
      • Read all instructions before use, we won’t take responsibility for you messing up your computer!
      • Accidentally deleted an important file? Lost files after a computer crash? No problem – Recuva recovers files from your Windows computer, recycle bin, digital camera card, or MP3 player
      • Works on mobile hard drives
      • Works on failed hard drives to recover any files in tact
      • No need to take your PC to the shop to recover files!
      • Read all instructions before use, we won’t take responsibility for you messing up your computer!
      • See what your PC is made of!
      • Useful when seeing if your machine is compatible or up to the task
      • Monitors the temperature of components.
      • Hot chips are less efficient, it may be time to hoover the carpet fluff out of the PC’s air vents!
      • See how busy your WiFi Channel is with surrounding Wifi networks live scan
      • Changing channel to a less crowded one can improve WiFi Signal!
      • Set backups and syncs of your files and folders
      • works with mobile hard drives
      • use this for a ‘hard copy’ of your files
  • Cloud storage backup
    • Many options! Google Drive, SkyDrive, The Cloud etc. etc.


I won’t go too heavily into this, as it’s a wide world, but here are a few that are generally understood to be as good as any that you might pay for, but I won’t recommend a specific one as I’m happy with windows defender to be honest!:


      • Comes with newer windows editions already
      • Crop videos
      • Add captions and animations
      • export to Youtube and facebook
      • Capture video as you use your PC
  • Gspot – Codec analyser  http://www.headbands.com/gspot/
    • Establishes what codecs (audio and video) are required to play an media file.
    • Determines whether these codecs are installed on your system.
    • Isolates problems associated with these codecs. and with media files
    • Shows framerate, duration, aspect ratio, bitrates, “hidden” info, and more.
  • DaVinci Resolve https://www.blackmagicdesign.com/uk/products/davinciresolve
    • Billed as: “Professional non-linear editing with Hollywood’s most powerful colour corrector!”
    • Truly intense video editor, with a very comprehensive free version.
    • Really worth a look if you want to get into video editing further.


      • Organise, list and share with colleagues.
      • Create companies, boards, projects, schedules and more
      • Assign users, deadlines and labels
      • Upload images and files to your boards.
      • A good review here:  https://thefreelanceeffect.com/trello-review/
    • Send invoices online


Manage multiple social media accounts at once!

  • Hootsuite
    • hootsuite.com
  • Tweetdeck
    • https://tweetdeck.twitter.com/
  • CoPromote
    • https://copromote.com/
    • This site encourages sharing and boosting of posts, it really works we tried it!
  • RebelMouse
    • https://www.rebelmouse.com/
    • Social frontpage site for all your SocMed

We hope you find this helpful and please have a look round our website.

Ergo Creative Team

PLEASE NOTE: We would also say please use any free software with care, make sure you are downloading safe software and follow installation guides from the developers. We accept no responsibility for any use of software the list above, it is just a list to help illustrate the options.

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