Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Tech Tools for Writers

by Cynthia Owens @EfficiencyAdict

Take advantage of all the time-saving tools for writers
In today’s publishing world, authors have to wear many hats. Beyond being the creators of inspiring stories, we also have to be bloggers, website managers, publicists, marketing planners, and social media experts. With all these areas requiring our attention, shortcuts are a necessity. Below are a few online tools I use weekly to make my non-writing tasks easier.

3 Little-Known Tools That Are BIG Timesavers.

What It Does: Let’s you save or print articles from websites.

How It Helps: Ever try to print an article from a website only to see that it’s 13 pages because it’s filled with ads and sidebars you can’t seem to remove? Print Friendly lets you eliminate any ads, extraneous pictures or text that may be clogging up an article. This saves you paper if you’re printing it and makes it easier to read if you want to save it as a PDF for future reference.

How to Use It: When you find an article you want to keep, copy the web address and paste it into the URL box on Print Friendly’s home page.  Click the Preview button and it will generate a document you can edit in the following ways:    
  • Change the text size. You can make it larger for easier reading or smaller for easier printing.
  • Remove pictures or unnecessary text. Point at any text or picture on the page and the section will be highlighted in yellow with Click to Delete text hovering above your selection. Click the area, and it’s removed from the document.
  • Choose your delivery method. When you’re finished adjusting the article, go to the top of the page and select the delivery method for your trimmed piece. The three options include print, PDF, or email. Click the appropriate button, and your selected method is completed in seconds.

Bonus Feature: This Print Friendly tool can be added directly to your website, helping others easily save the articles they value from you. Simply go to the Print Friendly button page and select the option that matches your website. They have versions available for WordPress, Blogger, Drupal, Joomla, and HTML.

What It Does: Tells you the theme and main add-ons used on a WordPress website.

How It Helps: Sometimes you see a website and love its design, but the name of the theme isn’t listed in the footer. Other times, you may like a website’s social media icons or its stylized tweet box, but aren’t sure which product created it. WordPress Theme Detector will tell you what theme a website is using, the main add-ons it has, and where to locate these items for yourself.

How to Use It:
  • Copy the URL of the website and paste it in the Site to Check box on WordPress Theme Detector’s home page.
  • Press the “Experience the Magic of WPTD” button on the right and the website’s details will appear in under a minute. Details available include:
    • The name of the theme or plugin.
    • How popular this item is.
    • A short description of the theme or plugin.
    • Whether this item is free or is a paid (premium) feature.
    • A link to where you can download the item or learn more.

Originally, my third item was a great color-matching feature found in PicMonkey called the “eyedropper.” Unfortunately, PicMonkey ended its free version last Friday (9/29/17).

In the interest of keeping your resource costs down, I’m including this alternate, still free, photo editor—iPiccy.com. If PicMonkey was your go-to photo manipulator, you may want to give iPiccy a try. Also, Canva.com still has a free version available.

So there you have them, three useful but lesser known resources. What tools do you use for your non-writing tasks? Please share your top picks and how they help you in the comments section below.


Cynthia Owens is The Efficiency Addict, a technical trainer helping writers, speakers and small business owners work more effectively. She runs www.TheEfficiencyAddict.com, which specializes in computer training, business organization, career development and event coordination. 

Connect with Cynthia on Twitter and Pinterest.


  1. Thank you so much for the useful information. I love "timesavers"!

    1. Thanks, Jim. I'm glad you found them helpful.

  2. Love these so much I'm sharing on Twitter for the whole month!

    1. Wow! Thanks for sharing these, Patricia. I hope they help your followers save lots of time!

  3. Great information. Thanks for sharing.
    Write on!

    1. You know I will. If there are any timesaving areas you want covered, just let me know!