5 productivity apps bring effortless cool to your workday

Corinne Hoisington, professor of Information Systems Technology, points us to a handful of helpful apps and software programs:

1. Office Lens is a camera app built into OneNote. It works like having a scanner on you at all times. Got lots of text on a whiteboard, blackboard, sticky note or other document that’s not so easy to share? Character recognition technology will digitize those words in a flash so you can save them forever—even directly to Word or PowerPoint.

2. Sway lets you quickly share interactive reports and presentations, with an emphasis on digital storytelling (you add content to something Sway calls a “storyline”). Dispensing with tired pre-made templates, you add your own text and pictures, then bring in content from outside sources.

3. Google Translate is more powerful than ever. Select your “from” and “to” languages, drop in your text and watch what happens. Instant visual translation lets users focus the camera integrated with the app over a word or phrase and have the meaning display on the screen—great for when you’re lost in downtown Shanghai and need to read the signs all around you! The app will also translate text messages.

4. Flipgrid is a video discussion platform. You gather employee’s responses to a posted topic to simulate a roundtable talk. The “grid” is the hub for all the activity. Ideal for those comfortable with making quick videos on their smartphones.

5. “Enter what you want to calculate or know about,” invites the Wolfram Alpha website. Based on your response, what pops up next is a grid anticipating what sort of specific problems and calculations you might be seeking a solution to. It draws upon an enormous reserve of expert knowledge and algorithms to automatically answer questions, perform quick analyses and generate reports.