Creativity and Productivity Enhancement Utilities

Market overview of recommendable creativity and productivity enhancement utilities, especially in connection with the creation of technical documentation and user assistance


Price: free (open source)


Price: free (open source)


Price: free (open source)

vym – View Your Mind

Price: free (open source)


Price: free (freeware)

Mindjet MindManager

Price: approx. €399; there are also free versions for iPad, iPhone, and Android available


Price: approx. €190

Visual Mind

Price: approx. $109 (“Basic”) and $249 (“Business”)

MindGenius Business

Price: starting at approx. €176

ConceptDraw MINDMAP

Price: starting at approx. $199


Price: approx. $99


Price: approx. $59


Price: approx. $400 (“Standard”) and $1250 (“Pro”)

AXON Idea Processor

Price: approx. $135; there’s also free version with limited features available

Visual Understanding Environment (VUE)

Price: free (open source)


Full-screen text editor that provides a distraction-free environment.

Price: free (open source)


Distraction-free writing environment combined with a hide-away user interface that you can access by moving the mouse to the edges of the screen.

Price: free (open source)

Dark Room

Another full-screen text editor.

Price: free (freeware)


Very similar to Dark Room. Also available for the Mac.

Price: free (freeware)


Full-screen editor for plain text files.

Price: free (freeware)


Lets you apply various background colors and typing sounds while writing.

Price: free (freeware); Extended version: donation


Distraction-free editor for the Mac.

Price: approx. €5


Helps to organize all sorts of information.

Price: approx. €40; there’s also a free standard edition available


Lets you gather, save, and organize information into a personal offline reference library.

Help authoring tools

You can also use a help authoring tool for organizing and storing information. If you don’t already use any other help authoring tool, HelpNDoc is an interesting free option for this purpose.

Price: free for personal use


Downloads entire web sites for off-line browsing and archiving. Rearranges the original site’s relative link-structure so that all links within the downloaded site work locally.

Price: free (open source)


Advanced, browser-independent bookmark manager.

Price: approx. $25 (“Pro”); there’s also free version available for noncommercial use

Timesheets Express

Flexible time tracking software for individuals and small organizations.

Price: approx. €98

Subject Marker

Utility for Microsoft Outlook that assigns a predefined subject category to your emails with just two clicks. This helps you to identify the content of an email more quickly and makes finding and retrieving archived emails more efficient.

Price: approx. €10

A Note

Creates sticky notes on the Windows desktop. Also lets you configure alarms and sync notes with other users.

Price: free (open source)

Mozilla Sunbird

Cross-platform calendar application.

Price: free (open source)


Web-based ERP and project management software. Integrates CRM, sales, project planning, project tracking, collaboration, timesheets, invoicing and payments.

Price: free (open source)


Project management software similar to MS Project. OpenProj has equivalent functionality, a similar user interface, and can open existing MS Project files.

Price: free (open source)

Open Workbench

Powerful desktop application for project scheduling and management.

Price: free (open source)


Project management software for small projects.

Price: free (open source)


Lets you review documents centrally via the web. All review comments can be made and discussed in an online version of the document, without exchanging multiple emails and files.

Price: approx. $49 to $154 per month for up to 10 authors


Text-To-Speech (TTS) program that can use all voices installed on your computer. By listening to your texts instead of reading them, you can discover many mistakes that you otherwise would overlook.

Price: free (freeware)

True Crypt

On-the-fly disk encryption software.

Price: free (open source)


File compression and archiving tool.

Price: free (open source)


FTP and SFTP client and server.

Price: free (open source)


Synchronizes folders.

Price: free for private use; approx. €25 for commercial use


Disk usage statistics viewer and basic cleanup tool. Based on the Linux program KDirStat.

Price: free (open source)

1-4a rename

Powerful file renaming utility.

Price: free (freeware)



Some providers of free and commercial backup and recovery solutions are:


Compares or merges two or three text files or directories.

Price: free (open source)

Compare It!

Text comparison utility for text files, Microsoft Word files, Excel files, RTF files, and PDF files.

Price: approx. €27


Visual text file comparison and merging tool.

Price: free (open source)


Compares PDF files page by page, either textually or visually.

Price: free (open source)


Compares documents. Finds changes in fonts, sizes, deletions, inserts, spelling, and location. Capable of inspecting unlike documents, for example a Microsoft Word file vs. a PDF file.

Price: not published


Screen zoom and basic annotation tool for presentations.

Price: free (freeware)


Resizes any window to a predefined size. Can be helpful when creating screen captures of windows that must have given dimensions.

Price: free (freeware)


Extension to the standard Windows clipboard.

Price: free (open source)


Provides a number of Windows enhancements. Makes it possible to set a window to stay on top of all other windows. Adds an extra button to all default Windows Open and Save dialogs. This button enables you to select user-defined favorite folders and files.

Price: free (open source)


Helps you to choose a suitable typeface by writing a small text in all typefaces that are available on your computer.

Price: free (web application)


Statistics program for translators and authors who bill their work on the basis of typed texts.

Price: approx. €79

Total Assistant

Word count, character and line count tool.

Price: approx. $30

PractiCount and Invoice

Counts text in multiple files of various formats and generates invoices based on the results.

Price: approx. $60

Take Command

Makes the Windows command prompts easier to use and more powerful.

Price: approx. $100

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This page was last updated 10/2014.


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