Three Apps for the Tech Savvy Writer

Do you reach for the same old tools every time you start to pull together a speech or presentation? Many of us routinely turn to Word and PowerPoint, or, in the case of Mac users, Pages and Keynote. Yet, the marketplace offers lots of other terrific options for researching, writing, editing and presenting a talk.

Whether you work on a PC or a Mac, check out these three free or low-cost apps. They'll help you save time and effort and even make your job more fun.

Evernote bills itself as the workspace where you can get everything done. Create notebooks and fill them with your own notes (including handwritten ones), Web articles and photos. Search and retrieve the tiniest bit of information with ease. And, instead of making slides, simply project Evernote pages. Evernote is a great research tool and more. Basic service is free.

Scrivener is a virtual writer's studio where you can create and organize content in many different ways. Store all your research material in the app, generate text and move your ideas around in an index card view. I love to split the screen to follow an outline on one side while I develop a draft on the other.

Hemingway Editor claims it can make your writing bold and clear -- just like Papa's. Pour in your text and watch it turn colour as Hemingway catches wordy sentences, grammar errors and other writing crimes. Purple highlights mark spots where your prose is...well...purple. Compose in Hemingway or run finished speech and presentation scripts through the app for a final polish.