19 free online tools you’ll want to bookmark right now

Why install an app when you can run what you need from a browser tab?
Screenshot of noisli platform
Noisli let's you customize your own background noise. David Nield

It’s true that there’s an app to do just about everything now. But when it comes to computers,  installing programs on Windows and macOS can take time, and quickly clutter up your hard drive.

As an alternative to accumulating dozens of utilities on your laptop or desktop, you can just make use of the many useful online utilities out there: They run instantly inside your browser, need no installation, and you can bookmark them for easy access.

1. Create mockup screenshots in Pika

Pika can show off a website or an app in style, giving you mockups you can use to show clients or to promote your work. There’s a big template gallery to pick from and you can customize a host of settings, from the wallpaper to the framing and the text on the image.

Pika is free to use. You can get extra tools and templates starting at $9 a month.

2. Convert images with Ezgif

Ezgif is a fast and simple way of converting images between formats. It can handle GIF, JPG, PNG, and WebP, and you can either upload the files from your computer or point Ezgif towards them on the web. There are also options for cropping and rotating images.

Ezgif is free to use.

[Related: 10 useful tools built into Google Search you should know about]

3. Organize your work time with Pomofocus

The well-known Pomodoro productivity technique breaks the working day into sessions, with a specific time for work (usually 25 minutes) followed by a 5-minute break. Pomofocus is very simple and helps you keep track of these sessions in your browser.

Pomofocus is free to use.

4. Crunch some numbers with Calculator.net

The aptly named Calculator.net gives you access to a calculator in your web browser so you don’t have to find one on your desktop. Besides basic sums, the online tool can also run advanced graphical calculations, and work out fractions and percentages as well.

Calculator.net is free to use.

5. Cut down audio tracks with AudioTrimmer

Sometimes you just need a simple tool for a simple job. AudioTrimmer matches that description. Just point the web app toward an audio file on your computer (it supports the most popular formats), to quickly chop off the sections that you don’t need.

AudioTrimmer is free to use.

6. Edit PDFs with Smallpdf

Viewing PDFs is pretty straightforward no matter what platform you’re on, but editing them is something else. Smallpdf takes the hassle out of the process, with a variety of features that include letting you drop in images and text and add your digital signature.

Smallpdf is free to use, but you can get more features and unlimited edits for $12 a month.

7. Set an alarm with Kuku Klok

Whatever you need to set an alarm for, Kuku Klok can help. Just pick the time for the alarm to go off, then choose a sound (cockerels and trumpets are two of the options), and you’re all set.

Kuku Klok is free to use.

8. Remove image backgrounds with Adobe Express

Whether you want to put a beach behind your dog or a sky of fireworks behind your friend, cutting out the subject of a photo to put them in front of a different backdrop is one of the most common image editing tasks. Adobe Express uses artificial intelligence to it quickly and effectively.

Adobe Express is free to use. More photo editing tools are also available when you create an account. 

9. Extract text from images with Image to Text

If you need to grab text from the photograph of an address, a menu, or an inspirational quote you saw around town, Image to Text has you covered. Point the platform towards the picture you want to work with, and it’ll let you save the text or copy it to the clipboard.

Image to Text is free to use.

10. Check your grammar with Grammarly

Make sure your writing is up to scratch with the comprehensive Grammarly service. Paste some words and sentences in the text box, and the online app will work its magic. It’ll offer tips, and look for grammatical errors, spelling mistakes, misused words, and incorrect punctuation. 

Grammarly is free to use. Access to extra features like tone checking starts at $12 a month.

11. Generate background sounds with Noisli

Noisli has the potential to make a serious difference to your productivity. The platform lets you generate custom background noise, overlaying sounds like rain, wind, fire, or coffee shop chatter, for example. You can pick one of the preset audio mixes, or customize your own.

Noisli is free to use, but you can get more sounds starting at $12 a month.

12. Check time zones with The Time Now

Many of us have family, friends, or colleagues living abroad, and depending on where they are, knowing if a message will catch them in the middle of the work day or the middle of the night can be tricky. The Time Now gives you an at-a-glance reference to current time zones around the globe, factoring in daylight saving time and offering quick links to major cities if you need them. That way, you’ll never think you’ve been ghosted again.

The Time Now is free to use.

13. Extract files through EzyZip

If you’ve got a compressed archive of files in a format like ZIP or RAR, then EzyZip can do the job of extracting them individually. Point it towards an archive you’ve got on your local disk to see the list of files it contains and choose which ones you want to extract. You can save them one by one, or en masse if you need to.

EzyZip is free to use. 

14. Generate Lorem Ipsum text with TinyWow

TinyWow hosts a lot of different online tools, so it’s worth browsing around the site to uncover its true potential. But now we’ll mention the Lorem Ipsum generator: If you have a block of text you need to fill quickly (for app development or design purposes), TinyWow will fill it up for you with unintelligible words with only a couple of clicks.

TinyWow is free to use.

15. Convert colors with Convert A Color

Those of you involved in graphic design, photo editing or web development know how regularly you’ll need to convert colors between HEX, RGB, HSL, and CMYK formats. Convert A Color will take care of the job for you with minimum fuss.

Convert A Color is free to use.

16. Get artistic with MS Paint

Microsoft Paint is one of the most well-known computer utilities of all time. MS Paint is the faithful remake of the program and runs entirely in your browser. You can get at it from any Windows or macOS computer, and access all the familiar tools—including the spray can and the paint bucket.

MS Paint is free to use.

17. Take notes with Online Notepad

Online Notepad lets you quickly jot down anything you don’t want to forget inside your browser: It could be a to-do list, an idea for your next novel, or an address. You can keep your pad open on a new tab, but you can also save it to your disk if you need to.

Online Notepad is free to use.

[Related: 4 free apps that remove photo backgrounds with little fuss]

18. Convert temperatures and measurements with Omni Calculator

If you need to know how far a hundred miles is in kilometers, or you need to switch between Celsius or Fahrenheit, Omni Calculator can do the math for you on a slick, speedy interface. You can also use it to figure out a kilogram weight in pounds and ounces, and other measurements. 

Omni Calculator is free to use.

19. Kick back with the 2048 game

Web apps aren’t just about utility—take 2048, which is one of the best online puzzles around. Launched back in 2014, this brain teaser invites you to slide and add numbered tiles around the board, matching those of the same value,  until you reach the magic 2048.

2048 is free to use.