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Philosophy and Religious Studies

All Apps, All the Time

This page is dedicated to apps for your computer/smartphone/tablet/etc. that you might not know about that perform functions you will definitely need. Not necessarily for your class assignments, but they're useful.

It should be noted that all apps are one of many and these are examples, will be free but may have a pro version or ads, and we receive no money or compensation for their promotion. 

All Apps, All the Time

Some phone cameras also have a "scanner" mode built in now too! However if you'd like an app to automize and clean up your images, etc. try one of these to start (there are many, many more - free and paid).  If you don't have a scanner, if you have a smartphone, you do now. You can also check out this list of best scanner apps of 2020.

CamScanner by INTSIG Information Co. is a great app for scanning using your cell phone (can also do with a tablet, but cell phones usually have better cameras). This will scan documents and automatically trim out anything in the background, like a table or desk so you have something that looks like you scanned it on a flatbed. You can combine multiple pages, edit the image, turn it into a PDF, utilize OCR (make it a readable PDF image), etc. It's easy to send and share as well.  If you must absolutely fax something and can't find a machine, it will fax, although this might be a paid service. 

Scanner to PDF by Smart Media is essentially the same as CamScanner, but looks a bit different. As always, it depends on your preferences. *This link is to the GooglePlay/Android version. You can see other scanner apps suggested on the page it takes you to. 

You know Facebook, Messenger, Snapchat, Skype, etc., etc. etc. But here are a couple you might find useful as you do group work. You can also check out this list of 30 apps for group/project learning

GroupMe: free group messaging that will work on any device.

Zoom (online video conferencing): you must be an ESU student or staff member to use this text to speech that can be used with any microphone - it has an app or website and can be used easily with a phone. If you create an account you get 600 free minutes of transcription each month. It works great for live conversations, recording meetings or interviews. Here is a tutorial video (start at 1:40, before that is an ad for other software), that shows how to use it. 

Every PC has software built in that takes a screenshot (search "Snipping Tool" or "Snip & Sketch"), which is brilliant and easy to use. Snip&Sketch is on newer versions of Windows, and Snipping Tool is on versions earlier than Windows 10.  

Your phone may or may not have built in screengrab software as well. For example, the Samsung Galaxy offers "Smart Select" which allows not only a screen grab but a GIF creation. If you're not sure what your phone has, you can try to Google it or try Gyazo

Gyazo will take screenshots and allow you to insert them into documents like normal, but it will also allow you to share your screenshots with a link - this makes sharing so much easier via chat, messenger, email, etc. It will also let you create up to 7 second GIFs and videos. It takes a very small learning curve and it has great instructions. It can be used on your desktop, laptop, tablet, or Android/Apple smartphone or other device.

Where do you go to make slideshows, awesome presentations, infographics or more? What if you have to collaborate? Try some of these:


These apps are for any student, faculty, staff, etc. - they may help you with writing, citing, organizing, note taking, time management, etc.!

Listed out are apps in the Top 5 video. In her essential apps video she goes over open/free apps. I have included several additions for free or alternative apps as well, especially where he gives Apple only options:

  • Scrivener or Ulysses [Ulysses is Apple only] (both paid - look for student discounts in apps like UniDays)
  • Endnotes, Mendeley, Zotero or others -  You actually get Endnotes for free at ESU, contact the help desk if you want to download it. Mendeley and Zotero work pretty much the same, the interface is just different, and they're both free!
    • For software that integrates citations and formatting your papers you might want to try something like Perrla (subscription after a 30 day trial)
  • Bear Notes (Apple only; free or paid) -  but any note taking app, like Google Keep for Android would work. You can also use OneNote through your ESU email account - you can try that too!
    • You could also try Scapple for a more notebook like experience (but more legible) that let's you connect ideas and make your notes any way you want. This one is also paid, but is by the same company that brings you Scrivener. They both have a small discount for .edu emails
  • Things 3 (Apple only; paid) - but any app that helps you keep track of your to do list would work.
    • For example you may want to try Asana which is free project management software that works for Apple and Android as well as being web based
  • Toggl - for those who really want to know where their time is going
  • Docear - this is free, open source software that collects PDFs and their notations in one place and helps create thought maps. It can also generate citations for these PDFs and has an area where you can create notes, draft ideas for a paper, and write a paper. This software has a lot of functionality in one place, which some of the above perform the same functions but not all in one place. There is a high learning curve but it may be worthwhile for you and is available for Mac, Windows and Linux. 

For every app mentioned, there are several others that perform similar functions. It's a matter of finding what works for you!

When working on a dissertation/thesis/big projects, it might be useful to use one or several things similar to any of these - note taking, organizing your writing, organizing your ideas, organizing your research, organizing your PDFs of research and/or citations, time and/or project management software.