10 Brilliant Tech Writers Tools That Cost $0
Note: In our routine work, we do usually face different time-consuming tasks. Сonsidering pace of technic development it is rather likely that your life easing software already exists. Modern software developers take into account user experience and make releases based on customer feedback. That is why keeping your eye on the ball is so important: pick the most appropriate software and avoid investing time and money in unsuitable stuff.
Developers usually use 4 license-based modules to make users evaluate the capabilities of the free software:
A) full freeware (add included);
B) full functional trial for 7/15/30/etc days;
C) cut-functions software without time limits, pay for extra features;
D) full functional software for a limited number of projects or users.
Here is the short review of free technical documentation tools:
Technical authoring tools
Original wiki software that is used for Wikipedia and other projects. Is good to be used as online help for your project. Also, the pages you have created can be integrated into Wikipedia directly.
Service for creating, organizing and publishing technical documentation. Simple and intuitive tool, oriented mostly for beginners in tech writing but is also suitable for experienced specialists. Doxter supports WYSIWYG, Markdown and has reach editing templates. Service provides free trial, free access available for a single user and for teams of ANY size.
Free illustration software
free online editor
Fully functional online editing tool. Free alternative for PhotoShop: has the same interface, many of PhotoShop windows, the same tools. Online editing has its pros and cons. On one hand, online editing can trouble you if the internet connection goes bad. On the other hand, in case of emergency you can get access to Photopea from any device and no extra software is required.
Capterra rating 4.5 / 5
GIMP is one more PhotoShop alternative and comes with almost the same basic functionality of image manipulation. It is as powerful as the other distinctive apps, being able to cope with the great results achieved by other creative suites. GIMP is cross-platform and will run equally well on Linux, Windows, and Mac. unfortunately, advanced functions are not intuitive, but there are plenty of forums and videos on the internet to get most anyone up and running with GIMP fairly shortly
G2crowd 4.3 / 5
Inkscape is a straightforward and simple vector software that allows you to make clean logos, illustrations, infographics. While obviously, it is not Adobe Illustrator, Inkscape still has a lot of essential features. It also allows importing popular vector-based files like AI and EPS. Inkscape takes a little while to get used to, but there are plenty of online tutorials that help a lot.
Capterra rating 4.7 / 5
Lightshot is simple, lightweight and functional screenshots tool. Allows sharing a region of the screen in seconds, with the click of a button. It also has a small editing panel so you can add arrows, simple shapes or text. Unfortunately, it supports just one screenshot format and there is no wide range of fonts, but most of the time current options are enough. Available on Windows and Mac.
Capterra rating 4.6 / 5
Grammarly is good and fast software to check incorrect spelling, grammar, punctuation and unclear sentence structure in real time. Grammarly is cross-platform software so you can use it on multiple programs and web browsers on Mac/PC, as well as on apps on your phone and tablet. Supports only English language.
Capterra rating 4.5 / 5
Draw.io is a software that draws and customizes diagrams online. It allows to make several types of diagrams such as UML, entity relationship, flow diagrams, infographics, Gantt among others and export them in multiple formats. Draw.io works directly from any browser and is very fast and responsive.
| yEd |
Capterra rating 5 / 5
yEd is designed to help create diagrams and flow charts. Can be used as free Vizio alternative, also supports import/export to Vizio. User Interface isn’t completely intuitive, but after getting used to it you’ll appreciate how easy diagram creating has become. yEd is available for Win, MacOS, and Linux, and you can even run a live version from a browser.
Capterra rating 4.5 / 5
Visme is quick and straightforward graphic design tools. In minutes you can create an infographic that you can brand to your organization by selecting your specific org’s colors, inserting your logo, etc. But also it has a variety of icon library, high-quality infographic templates so you can quickly create design pivots and last-minute design projects. It is very intuitive, but if you need any assistance there are plenty of YouTube tutorials.
See also - Technical writing tips
Instead of a conclusion
Nobody is perfect. Each software has its pros and cons. Free software gives you the opportunity to test it, invite colleagues to evaluate how convenient for work this tool is. On the other hand, when you pay for the software you give the developer an opportunity to improve the product. Free software also needs investments to be improved, so if you do not pay for using the software directly that means you’ll have to deal with add (sometimes too much of it) or limited functions.
From the marketing point of view, freeware works the same way as the samples do: gives you the opportunity to feel the product, face its whole glory.
There is a really weak correlation between how popular and how suitable for you the software is. Happens that small niche product - created first as a decision to cover developers’ company needs - can be more helpful for your team than world-famous analogue.
Anyway, listed software is free so you lose nothing.