Y’all know I specialize in finding free and super cheap tech tools to make our lives easier, but when I find a tool that is extra special helpful, I pony up the money for a full-featured version.
In the last two weeks, I’ve upgraded three tools I used to use for free because they’ve evolved into awesome.
Canva: Graphic Templates and Much, Much More
I have loved Canva since the beginning. It was in beta the first time I tried it out many years ago, and I knew it was going to be my go-to tool for creating quick and easy graphics.
I always thought the $10/month/user price was excessive, especially since Canva has so many competitors. But in the past year or so, they’ve enhanced the tool itself so much and added value to the Pro version, and I just couldn’t resist.
Some of Canva’s best new(ish) features (some need Pro, some are free):
- Hundreds of thousands of images, illustrations, etc.
The main benefit from the upgrade was one I didn’t expect. I subscribe to Envato Elements to get stock images, video clips and more. So when I did Canva graphics, I’d grab images from Envato Elements first then import them in. But now that I have Canva Pro, it takes me seconds to find and insert high-quality graphics rather than searching one place, downloading then uploading.
Prezi: Presentation Tools for Videoconferences and More
You might have seen my review of the insanely awesome feature that Prezi created for videoconferences like Zoom.
Prezi Video lets you create a presentation that superimposes on your screen while you are presenting, rather than the awkward “share my screen” feature to show your PowerPoint. Yes, I could have continued to use the free version, but that means I can’t download the videos to my computer, and I don’t have access to other advanced features. So I paid $228 for a year of the Plus level, which gives me offline access and all kinds of features that I had to tiptoe around before.
WeVideo: Easy Online Video Editor
adorable nephew, errr, my ultra-professional intern Jamison Barcelona turned me on to WeVideo, a super-easy online video editing tool. I already have a half dozen or so video editing tools that I use, but this one is so fast and easy that I fell in love — especially since I was teaching a lesson to the Nerdy Best Friends Book Club on video editing.
The biggest downside of WeVideo is that the free version has a really obnoxious watermark. Bleh. So I upgraded to a year of the $6/month level.