Eight Software Secrets

There are several user-friendly software programs known only to a select few but still powerful enough to significantly improve your capabilities and productivity. Here are my favorites. 1) Color Cop

This program lets you match any color on the web just by dragging an eyedropper icon over it to get its eight-digit index number. It's perfect for branding as you can reproduce the colors of your company web site in your e-newsletters or Twitter home page.

2) TweetDeck

This program lets you monitor and post to your Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn accounts from the same interface. It also provides an automatic function to reduce the length of any URL sent via


3) Nitro PDF Professional

This program provides the most comprehensive solution for converting PDF documents to Microsoft Word, Notepad, etc. It provides several different ways to treat graphics and a time-saving interface to convert multiple documents all at once.

4) Paint.net

This program lets you easily crop images by clicking on canvas size, anchoring one side, then changing the corresponding width or height.

5) Norton 360

This program provides the best anti-virus and security software by constantly updating its virus definitions through a Live Update feature to monitor the latest hacker innovations. It also provides a password management feature to automatically remember and fill in whatever passwords you use for any given web site.

6) Acronis

This software program lets you backup your computer by saving either files or partition images. Most backup programs only use partition images, and that can become problematic if you switch to a new computer.

7) WS-FTP Home

This program from Ipswitch makes it easy to upload and download files from your web site. It provides two windows, one on the left from any folder you choose from your hard drive, and one on the right from any IP address you wish to access (all you need is the FTP address, user name and password). Two arrows point in opposite directions in the column between the windows, and you just highlight the file and click in the appropriate direction to transfer it online or to your hard drive.

8) FreeTwitterDesigner

This program lets you create a professional Twitter home page starting with a blank template. You can use Color Cop (see above) to reproduce your web site colors for branding purposes. Choose one color for the background, another for the left column and another for the links based on the ones you're already using. You can also add your company logo or any other graphic. Then, preview your final page design and upload it directly to your Twitter account.


A Harvard graduate with more than 10 years of experience in public relations, Willy Gissen founded Cut-It-Out Communications in 2003. See his other articles at public relations content and his blog at New York Times Leader.

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