The 4 best free business apps you're not using

Boost your productivity without touching your budget.

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scannable.jpg

Scannable can tell when your document is in view and automatically capture a scan.

Evernote

The best things in life are free: hugs; the smell of freshly baked bread; and apps. Yes, apps -- especially the ones that can save you time or money without costing you time or money.

Below I've rounded up four of my favorites, all of them business gems, all of them free. If you're not using them, you should be!

Hurdlr

Do you drive for work? Then know that mileage is money. Every mile you log, you get to deduct 54 cents from your taxes.

OK, but how do you log those miles? Forget the paper logbook; use Hurdlr instead. Hurdlr will automatically record your trips, then generate a report you can use for reimbursement or tax filing. Amazingly, it's free.

Actually, there are premium versions available, but the free one ticks the important boxes -- most notably unlimited, automated mileage-tracking; income/expense logging; and tax reports. Make a resolution to start using this in 2018!

LastPass

With apologies to Claude Rains, I am shocked -- shocked! -- to learn how many otherwise brilliant people still aren't using a password manager.

It's madness. A password manager not only preserves your sanity so you're not constantly resetting the passwords you forgot, it also helps you maintain different (and robust) passwords on different sites.

There are lots of these tools out there, but LastPass is the only free option I know of that will sync between your various devices (laptop, phone, tablet, etc.). LastPass also offers a team version for organizations needing password sharing, user management and the like. It's not free, but it's there.

Scannable

Probably my favorite app in the group, Scannable makes document-scanning ridiculously easy. Point your phone at a page, then another page, then another. The software automatically straightens and cleans up the documents, then syncs them directly to your Evernote account. (You can also save and share scans, naturally.)

Not an Evernote user? Try Microsoft Office Lens, which offers similar features for OneDrive users, or Adobe Scan, which is more platform-agnostic (and includes robust text-recognition features).

Signal

Messaging is crucial to modern business, but many of the most popular messaging platforms are, shall we say, questionable when it comes to privacy and security. So why aren't you using Signal?

Open Whisper Systems' Signal is widely regarded as the single most secure communication platform. Available for Android, iOS and desktop, it supports not only text messaging, but also voice and video. Everything gets encrypted from end to end, and because it's open-source, there's no advertising or tracking.

For further proof of Signal's supremacy, look no further than ZDNet's May, 2017, story: "Secure messaging: Signal's the best, and then there's the rest."

What free apps do you find indispensable for business productivity?

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