Best Free Software for Students

Are you looking for the best free software for your student life? We know how important it is to manage your studies and to come up with the best techniques to reduce screen time, maximise your productivity and keep your costs down. One of the ways you can do this is by finding the right software and tools to help you with your studies and the rest of your student life. We’ve put together a list of the best free software for students.  

Drum roll please… 

Free software for students

Free office software 

Microsoft Office is the package that has been familiar to people for generations, providing you with access to Word, Excel and other tools that help you perform to your best. It can be a bit too expensive for the student taste however, so what is the best free software that gives you the same functionality, so you are not minimising your potential when studying? 

Google 

Okay, this may be a given for the modern student but honestly, where would we be without it? We’d have to Ask Jeeves for all the answers for one. Google offers a suite of amazing free software that gives you the simple functionality that you’d expect with a Microsoft Office product, but with the added collaborative nature that makes it the perfect place for university group work. Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides allows you to create documents, spreadsheets, and slides with easy editing functionality as well as the ability to upload existing documents from other formats.  

Collaborating is so easy with Google. Whichever tool you are using you can quickly and easily change the sharing permissions, allowing others to view or edit the content (either any person with a link or completely open). Real-time editing that any user can see when present on the page makes for incredible group work potential and fast editing. This maximises the potential for a high standard of work.

Never fear that you might lose your hard work either, Google Docs and the rest auto-saves constantly and is saved in your Google Drive in the cloud. It is possible to see past versions of the document you’re working on, to compare and contrast if you need to. We can’t think of a better free software to make your life easier as a student. 

Google

Libre Office 

One of the best free software options for students, Libre Office is based on Open Office and is compatible with all the file formats you are used to using with Microsoft software. There are six simple programs that you can download for free – Writer, Calc, Draw, Math, Base, and Impress. This provides you with all the tools you need in much the same way that Word, Excel and PowerPoint are the foundation of a good Microsoft Office suite. 

As it is an open-source platform you can expect the software to consistently upgrade and improve, as volunteers are working on it all the time. The idea is for good software to be democratised and available to all, so make the most of Libre Office and use it to maximise your performance in university.  

Libreoffice

Communication tools 

During the lockdowns of the last couple of years we all got used to communicating with our friends and family from afar, quizzing in groups online, video-chatting instead of meeting in person, and studying online. Now we can go back out into ‘normal’ life there has been a combination of the old and the new ways of communicating, so it’s best to be covered. 

Zoom 

Zoom is a great software for communicating with others online, and you may have already used it during lockdown when lectures and seminars took place virtually (did someone say break out room?!). The free version of the communication platform makes it really easy to stay in touch with friends, to join your university lectures and lessons, and to hold meetings. For students looking for the best free software around, Zoom provides you with an effective platform to communicate with your course mates, especially if you have a group project that you are working on and you need to check in whilst studying at home.  

One of the best things about using Zoom is that it is really secure too, with restricted access to only those the host has invited and a 40-minute meeting time for free. For video conferencing, screen sharing and background blurring for extra privacy, there are few better options for communication software that will help the modern student. 

Zoom

Study management software 

It’s easy to get distracted when you’re trying to study. Finding the best free software and apps to manage your time effectively and to prevent you from being distracted could make a massive difference to how successful you are studying, revising and getting those high grades when working at home or from the library. 

StudySmarter 

This award-winning study app is the perfect tool to help you with your university studies. You can create notes, flashcards, quizzes and more, accessing and sharing study materials and textbooks whilst creating and following study plans for free. StudySmarter really does help you to maximise your study time and is the perfect companion when you are preparing for exams or just as an everyday tool throughout term-time. 

Once you’ve created your schedule in the app it is easy to keep track and to maintain your study goals through careful creation of flashcards, study groups and notes. Smart goals and tracking make it easier to keep up, benefiting from the artificial intelligence and algorithm within the app and the countless shared data and information that makes it a simple yet effective tool. 

Studysmarter

Zotero 

Zotero is the free ‘personal research assistant’ that helps you to save and collate all the sources that you come across during your studies. One of the big differences between school and university is the importance of accurate, relevant referencing. With the help of Zotero you can add references to your essays and coursework in a much more effective way, saving time as you do so. 

You can add sources to different project folders that you have created, with single click actions making life simple and straightforward. Zotero then automatically adds text citations based on what you have collected, as well as putting together the bibliography for you. What is often the most mind-numbing and time-consuming part of any project has suddenly become a breeze!  

Zotero

Best presentation software 

Presentations are daunting, getting up to speak in front of a group of people to put your points across. Creating the slides or accompanying data to back-up your points can also be a chore, so it is good to have a free tool that helps you get to where you want to be quickly. 

Canva 

Canva has a free plan that offers an extensive range of templates and tools. What’s even better is that you can begin creating a design before you create an account with Canva giving you time to sample the software and see if it is the right choice for you. Most of the beautiful templates are available for free and are designed for use within education, making it a winning formula for university students.

Don’t worry about scrolling too far and missing out important slides during your presentation. Canva has a smooth transition that eliminates that problem and makes it incredibly simple for you to add animation, audio, and video files to make your presentation pop and inspire the audience.  

Sharing your presentation has never been easier, allowing for collaboration with the group through a QR code, social media or direct to each individual. Audience members even have the potential to submit live questions if you provide them with a link during the presentation. This is a fantastic way to engage directly with your audience and to allow for expansion of certain items and topics that you feel are too restricted during the presentation and slides itself. This flexibility is important, as sometimes you’ll want to have the freedom to expand whilst other times it might not feel right to do so. 

Canva

Antivirus software 

You always want to take care of your laptop and operating system. Although most will now have some form of in-built defence against potential cyberattack, it is best to be safe. It can, however, be hard to know which of the free antivirus software options is the safest for you to download. 

Avast 

Avast has been one of the best free software options for years, and with good reason. It is a comprehensive piece of free software that protects your operating system from viruses, malware, spyware, adware, and other malicious threats that you don’t realise are always lurking and attempting to attack.  

It is an easy piece of software to install and use, scanning and protecting your browser and emails from spam, viruses, and phishing. Please know though that if you have an older model of laptop or a slow running machine, Avast has been known to make things even slower, so beware in those circumstances. If you have a fast, high-spec laptop though you shouldn’t have any problems running Avast to protect your computer. 

Avast

Meal prep and recipe ideas 

Learning how to cook for yourself and others you live with, alongside buying groceries to a budget and coming up with tasty, interesting ideas for meals consistently, is a big part of growing up and the university experience. What free software and apps can help you out? 

Paprika 

Originally an app that was meant for users to upload recipes, Paprika has since expanded to include recipes from other websites as well as a few other slick features. The free version of the app allows you to create your very own recipe book, saving your favourite recipes within different categories. A grocery list and pantry are tools that give you the chance to add individual ingredients that help create meals. A meal planning tool is the perfect accompaniment to any student learning how to cook, setting up your meals for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and even what snacks you’re going to have! 

You can download the helpful recipe manager app here.

Let us know your thoughts on what you believe to be the best free software for students. Managing your time, utilising cloud storage and Google docs, using video conference platforms and organising your recipes for a delicious menu for the coming week are just a few of the ways in which you can use free software to improve your student life.

There are loads of fantastic options out there designed to enhance your time at university – make the most of it with free software!

Enjoyed the content we explored in this blog? You just have to read our Student Guide To The 2022 British Grand Prix next! 

If you’re yet to sort out your student accommodation for the next academic year, then explore the different properties we have available across the UK here.  

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