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The five best downloads for small businesses

Make yourself more efficient

Running your own business is certainly a time and cash-consuming venture. We've rounded up five downloads that can help you make better use of your time by making some computing tasks more efficient. They're also free, which means your wallet won't take a bashing either.

1. OpenOffice 3.3.0

An office suite is one software package that necessary when it comes to running your own business, but with Microsoft's Office priced at around £239.99, it's certainly an expensive purchase. However, if you don't already own Microsoft Office, why not consider one of the free alternatives on the web. OpenOffice is arguably one of the bets available. It ships with document writer, a spreadsheet, a presentation maker and many other modules. That's everything you need to run your business. You can save documents in format compatible with Microsoft Word or in the open document format (ODF) meaning that they can be opened within other free office suites, such as Lotus Symphony.

2. PrintConductor 1.5

The print dialogue box in most software can only handle one document at a time. This is fine most of the time, but what do you do when you need to print a large batch of documents of different file types – for example a couple of spreadsheets here, a few PDFs there and a handful of word processing documents for good measure? It's certainly time-consuming loading each program and then opening the separate document and selecting Print from the File menu.

This is where PrintConductor 1.5 comes in. Simply select the files you want to print, and the app sends each one to the print in sequence without the need to start-up the software and load the documents yourself.

3. Wunderlist 1.0.0

One of the keys to success is preparation and one of the best forms of preparation, whatever task or project you are working on, is creating a to-do list, this means you can concentrate on what actually needs to be done rather than getting bogged down with other activities. Wunderlist is a cross platform to-do list manager that subscribes to the GTD ideology and, thanks to an online synchronisation feature, allows your to-do list to be accessed from any computer with an internet connection.

4. Google Calendar Sync 0.9.3.6

Google's free Calendar tool, is popular with personal and business users alike, especially those with Android-based smartphones. However, chances are you still probably use the calendar in Microsoft Outlook, particularly if that's your default email client.

This handy free tool allows you to synchronise the calendar you maintain online with the one in Outlook. It's a simple idea that works incredibly well and is far more versatile than opting to simply view an iCal calendar in Outlook. Synchronisation can be performed manually or automatically and is a great way to ensure that you never miss a date again.

5. Workrave 1.9.4

An unfortunate side-effect of the hours we spend typing on our laptops keyboard, or composing emails on out smartphone's touchscreen (not to mention the hours spent playing Angry Birds) is repetitive strain injury (RSI) and ruined eyesight. Karen Haslam, editor of PC Advisor's sister publication, Macworld, unfortunately experienced this first hand.

However, this free download could help you combat these side-effects encouraging PC users to take regular breaks from working, in the form of either micro-breaks that last for 30 seconds along with rest intervals, which designed to last around 10 minutes. There's even a daily limit, after which you're expected to shut down the computer – useful if you're recovering from RSI or don't want to spend all day trapped at your desk.

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