Small can be big when it comes to productivity. For lawyers, there are a variety of small apps and programs that simplify common tasks and let you squeeze a few more minutes out of a busy day. Here are 10 worth checking out.

  1. ActiveWords. This simple little utility turns words into actions on your computer. Just type a word to insert blocks of text, start a program, navigate to a web page, send an email, or perform just about any command you can think of. Type “word” to open Microsoft Word, then type “lease” to insert your standard lease provisions. Type “cnn” to open CNN’s website. Type “sig” to insert a rich-text or HTML signature block in any email program. You define the trigger words and actions. An annual license is $30.
  2. Evernote Scannable. Whether or not you use Evernote, its free scanner app for iPhone and iPad is invaluable. The killer feature is that it is fully automatic. Just start it up and point it at what you want to scan – a document, receipt, business card, photo or whatever. It automatically finds and focuses on the document and captures the scan, and then automatically enhances the brightness, contrast and clarity of the image. You never have to touch a button.
  3. CaseManager. There’s a dizzying array of practice management systems on the market, but if you are a solo who wants a cheap, no-frills alternative, consider CaseManager. It was designed by a solo lawyer to use in his own practice, and to work as well as on a mobile device as on a desktop. It includes the basics – case management, contacts management, calendaring, time and expense tracking, task management and even document storage (using Dropbox). But it costs just a one-time charge of $20 for the mobile app and $40 for the PC or Mac version.
  4. Copy2Contact. This simple time-saver lets you grab information from anywhere on your computer with a single keystroke and place it into Outlook as a contact, appointment or note. Say you just received an e-mail to schedule a meeting. Highlight the meeting information, hit a button, and the appointment is added. Highlight the sender’s sig, hit the button again and a new contact is created with all the information in the correct fields. It works anywhere – a web page, document or in virtually any application. The basic price is $34.95 for a one-year license.
  5. Redact Assistant. Redacting PDF documents is easy, because the leading PDF programs come with a redaction tool built in. But not so in Microsoft Word and Excel. To the rescue comes Redact Assistant. It makes it easy to redact Word and Excel documents and then save the redacted documents in their native formats. It also comes with several advanced features, such as redaction of multiple terms in a single operation and of multiple files at the same time. Redact Assistant costs $45.

Read the rest of Bob Ambrogi’s 10 tools for Lawyers here.