There are plenty of free services available on the web, from photo-editing to social-networking. However we've identified 18 that can be used in place of chargeable services, helping you save money.
Turn scanned docs into text, at no cost
OCR (optical character recognition) turns pictures of text into a document that you can edit. For example, you could read a photo of a book page, but OCR software lets you perform searches on that page's contents or make changes to it in any text editor.
Typically you have to pay for such software or get it bundled with a scanner you purchase, but you can access free OCR tools online.
OCR Terminal can import 20 pages of documents each month for free. Just upload your items as PDFs or JPEGs, or in other image formats, and it will convert them to Word, text, and other document formats.
Then you simply download the best format for your needs, and use it as you would any other document.
Read free e-Classics
Because copyrights eventually expire, anyone can (re)publish works by William Shakespeare, Mark Twain, Jane Austen, and countless other writers. In general, if you're paying for material that was written before 1923, you're being fleeced.
Instead, download thousands of classics for free, for use on your computer, phone, ebook reader or other device.
Project Gutenberg houses 30,000 free ebooks and includes links to a total of 100,000 hosted on other sites. Just search the site for a title, or browse the top 100 downloads to get a sense of the catalogue.
Download books in a format that your device can read, and transfer them over. You'll gain access to a deep library without paying a cent.
Beat the text-messaging swindle
Stop paying to send text messages. Several free options can transmit them from your PC or phone; just make sure to keep your missives under the 160-character limit.
Within AIM, you can send a message just by chatting with the country code and mobile number of a friend. Your friend can reply, and the text will route to your chat program. Google offers a similar add-on for Gmail, although this currently only works in the US.
In a web browser, try txtDrop or Krypton. For the former, you just enter your address and the recipient's number. For the latter, you need to know the recipient's carrier, but the iPhone-friendly formatting looks great on many handsets. They're currently only available in the US though.
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