Windows and Mac software: My 11 essential apps and services


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One of my most popular posts for 2020 was a tour of my home office. That story focused on hardware (and a particularly distinctive piece of furniture), but it left out the other half of the equation: The software that actually does most of the work in my office.

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In this post, I offer a behind-the-scenes tour of the full-strength apps I use in my office every day for productivity and entertainment. (The list doesn’t include a dozen or so utilities that I keep on hand for specialized tasks; I’ll save that story for another day.)

A few of the entries on this list are genuine old-timers that I’ve been using on Windows PCs for a decade or more, but most are more modern and are built for a cross-platform world. One thing that surprised me as I assembled this list is the sheer number of subscription-based apps and services I use. I know that’s a hot button issue for some readers, who are adamant about their distaste for paying monthly or annual fees. I prefer the predictability of those arrangements instead of the big jolt to the budget that comes with major upgrades.

Of course, this selection reflects my work habits and my personal preferences. Your needs are probably different, so your list will undoubtedly be different from mine. I encourage you to share your favorite software in the comments section below.