In this post I will expose the freewares and apps that make my life much easier as a freelance designer. Of course I’ll put aside the expensive design software that most designers out there probably own and use.


FastStone Capture
The best screenshot software I have found so far. You can do all kind of captures, and it features a nice screen magnifier to be accurate when capturing.

This is my favourite to quickly compress or unzip files in about any format. Even better, it’s open source.

Everybody knows this software already, a great money saver and nice communication device. I think this is ideal for the freelancer since it will probably the most frequently used by your customers.

Great and easy open source FTP software. Suits all my designers need, even if it will probably not be good enough for the programmer.

Mindmapping software (open source too). I use it a lot now to handle my own promotion or get organize for bigger projects.

Multiple IEs
I hate it, but it’s necessary for website testing (these browsershots websites never work for me…).


I use it mostly to debug Javascript, but it’s much more powerful than that.

Web Developer toolbar
My favourite, I use it to edit CSS mainly, but it has many functionalities (validating stuff, resizing windows, get ID and classes details,…).

Great tool to find out which color the logo your customer’s logo is. I use it all the time.

Measure any element on a page.

HTML Validator
Quickly see if a page is valid. Gives you errors and warning based on Tidy. Even helps you fix it sometimes.

IE Tab
Unfortunately you must have this one too. Renders a page in IE or in a tab.


I’ve never been so confortable using emails than with gmail, I would really recommand it to any freelancer on the productivity point of view.

Google Reader
Thanks to RSS, I keep it all in one place: design news, friends blogs, job boards, twits,…

Google Calendar
I keep my meetings and deadlines on this, and get alerted via Google Reader in case I forgot something.

Remember The Milk
The first to-do list application that I really use, simple and straightforward.

Bookmark and share links online. A great place to find tutorials when you are stucked.