The best free web tools
Free is good, especially when it helps you be more productive at the same time. And while there is no shortage of free web apps, here are a few gems that can help you complete common tasks throughout your workday, all without installation and at no cost.
Scr.im: share your email address with humans only
Bots. They are everywhere. Constantly scraping public websites for email addresses. Quite!
A free service called Scr.im offers a unique approach to sharing your email address that makes it only accessible to humans. It’s a great way to put your address on your social profiles and other online presences without putting it completely in the open for the bots to abuse.
On the main Scr.im page, you enter your email address and then choose a unique Scr.im URL, something like Scr.im/Doug if available. Then when and where you want to share your email address, delete your Scr.im URL instead.
When real humans click on the URL, they are faced with a quick CAPTCHA-style check which involves correctly identifying a distorted five-character image that cannot be read by bots.
If the match is correct, your email address is revealed. It’s a delicate but thoughtful balance between fighting spam and building the brand.
Photopea: a photo editor to rule them all
Need to edit an Adobe Illustrator file once a year? Maybe update a PDF file quarterly? Or just a very sporadic image enhancement?
Check out Photopea, a free web editor that can handle just about any format you throw at it.
The tasks you take on can be as simple as resizing and cropping, or as complicated as an advanced Photoshop session. You’ll want to invest a little time in learning how to use it, but if you’ve used image editing tools in the past with any skill, you’ll feel right at home here.
Loading a file into the editor is a simple drag-and-drop operation and there are a ton of built-in filters you can use to spruce up your images a bit.
Photopea is free and comprehensive, but supported by discreet advertisements. Or you can pay for a premium account to remove ads, which starts at $ 9 per month for a single user and goes down from there with multi-month and multi-user discounts.
Web2PDFConvert: Easily view websites
If you do a lot of web work and want to show off your designs before they’re fully baked, try Web2PDFConvert.
Drop a web url into the bar, click the big blue button, and watch the website you dropped there format as an easily shareable PDF file.
This works pretty well right off the bat, but you can also fine-tune the settings a bit to wait a certain number of seconds before converting (in case the site takes a little while to fully load), turn off consent messages to cookies, adjust margins and window size, and make a handful of other settings.
You can also click the small drop-down menu next to the “Convert Web to PDF” heading to convert a web page to an image, convert HTML code to PDF file, or convert HTML code to image.
It’s simple, fast and free for up to five conversions per day. You can get unlimited conversions for $ 6 per month or $ 60 per year.
Privnote: share sensitive information on the fly
Tell me if this sounds familiar, “Could you email me the password for this service where we store all these important, sensitive, and devastating files?” “
Uh, no you definitely should not do this. You can, however, use Privnote.
The free service provides an easy way to create and share notes fast and easy with anyone with an email address.
Your recipient will receive a link to read your encrypted message, which you can password protect, set to disappear after a certain time, or self-destruct immediately after reading it.
When a message expires or self-destructs, it is completely deleted from Privnote’s servers: “there is absolutely no way to get it back,” according to the site’s privacy page. And if a self-destruct note is never read (and therefore cannot self-destruct), it will be automatically deleted after 30 days.
Check out the FAQ here and the blog here to learn more about how the system works.
OpenClipArt: Gussy up presentations and websites
Finding decent footage can be a chore, and often times it’s not cheap either. The venerable OpenClipArt.org website has an ever-growing collection of free, searchable clipart that can be used freely by anyone for any project, including commercial use without attribution.
As of this writing, there are just under 170,000 images to choose from with new ones being added all the time. The artists release all rights to the images they share with the site, and a team of volunteer “librarians” help ensure their quality.
The images are downloadable as web-friendly SVG files, but can also be downloaded as small, medium, or large PNG files, which are ideal for presentations.