5 brilliant (free) online tools I use

It would be impossible to work these days without various online services. Everyone knows about Google Drive and Dropbox and so on, but these are some other sites I use weekly if not daily. I work with a lot of text and they really speed up the process of extracting, copying and moving it about.

1. Percentage Calculator – https://percentagecalculator.net 

I don’t have a degree in Mathematics, and thanks to this site I don’t need one. It enables three simple equations which are very useful when crunching data for reports and articles: “What is X% of Y?”  “X is what percent of Y?” “What is the percentage increase/decrease from X to Y?” 

2. Otter.ai – https://otter.ai 

Otter.ai converts speech to text and has a generous free monthly allowance. You can upload mp3s or it can do it on the fly. There’s a great iOS app too – you can run it while you’re on a Zoom and it will transcribe everything with very high accuracy, providing clickable timecodes so you can easily re-listen to specific sections.

3. Unlock PDF – https://smallpdf.com/unlock-pdf

Sometimes I’m sent pdfs as background material that are locked/encrypted, which means text can’t be copy-pasted from them. However most can be cracked open by running the pdf through this site. (Bonus tip: Zamzar file conversion can create a compliant pdf for Ingram Spark publishing, it’s the only creator I’ve found that does so, without buying Adobe. The internal Mac OS one doesn’t satisfy Ingram’s criteria). 

4. ConvertCase – https://convertcase.net 

When someone sends you some horrible text in ALL CAPS and you don’t want the hassle of retyping it, this site does that for you. You can choose “Sentence case”, “all lower case” or “Capitalised Case” and others. You can even put normal text into ALL CAPS should you wish.

5. Online OCR – https://www.onlineocr.net

OCR – “optical character recognition” – converts a photo or screenshot of text to actual text. It saves a lot of retyping, and can also extract the text from pdfs that have been saved as images or are password-protected. If you have a printed document but have lost the digital version, this is a quick way to recreate it.

Anyone else got any vital online tools they’d like to share?