Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Useful computer programs

Just to let you know what programs I've found to be the most useful. I won't talk today about the usual Genealogy programs tailored to family history.

This is the best image editing program. It takes quite a lot of brain power to learn to use. I'm fortunate in having tech help in the next room which has been invaluable, my brain cells are a bit grey.  But if you want a challenge and have the money to purchase this expensive program, you won't be disappointed. Photoshop Elements just looks so amateurish after using the parent program.

Treepad lite
This has been of value when compiling the information on my district of choice, Coromandel. Although I haven't used it lately, its best value is its search facility and the way it allows a tree like structure for saving articles and information. Best of all, it's free.

MS Excel
Excel is amazing for manipulating data and revealing gaps in research or for compiling data of any sort. Of course, it is mainly used for number crunching in business but for text it is equally good. For instance, you find a list of data on the Internet and want to keep it in such a way that you can add to it and sort it - then excel is the way to go. By using notepad and word, then excel, you can bring in data and sort it into columns, combine columns, divide columns of text, ask it to remove things, change things - all in a few clicks. It's well worth learning.

This is a genealogy program for family historians but it's is also used by government departments to get a sense of families they are investigating because its so graphical and can display all kinds of relationships. I only put in the barest data to get a sense of family structure and for displaying to others sometimes. Some people can only absorb words so much, they need a picture. There is a free trial and the program to buy is very inexpensive.

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