As developers we all know what a pleasure it is to use a tool that works, that does what it's supposed to, and that saves us time. Tools for authors are no different. The good news is, there are free tools available that are every bit as good as expensive ones.
- HTML-Kit 292 - This easy-to-use and powerful HTML text editor really does it all. It has handy built-in help for HTML tags, spell check, quick preview that is only a click away, and many useful plugins. Its snippet feature is fantastic - just put all your most-used HTML tag sequences into separate files (that you name), and when you click on that file name, the snippet will be included. How easy is that? Now I don't have to hunt for that last article where I used a table with alternating row colors.
Plus, even though you don't pay a cent for HTML-Kit, there is an on-line support forum. I've asked several questions, and always gotten an answer within a day. There are also many on-line FAQS to help with the learning curve.
- TNT Screen Capture - This screen capture utility is made by the same company that makes the excellent Help & Manual help authoring system. They are now offering this utility completely free. This is an excellent, high-end tool, and has many of the same features as the expensive ones. One feature that I particularly like is the ability to crop screenshots using a "torn edge" effect. This is a quick way to reduce the size of screenshots so they will fit within the CodeProject guideline of 600px max width, and yet still retain the essential details.
- MS Paint - This image editor is useful for a lot of basic stuff where you just need to move an image on the canvas, increase or decrease canvas size, or touch up an image to get rid of unwanted background. No fancy features, but I find myself using it for nearly all of the screenshots I do for my articles.