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Throughout the last few years, I’ve been learning how to improve my work in terms of how well it looks aesthetically, so that it can be read fluently and appear more comprehensible and attractive for readers. It’s not easy to keep someone interested in a presentation full of words when the topic requires analysis. In this short list, I’ll introduce you to teen-user friendly and mostly free digital tools that have helped me visually improve my college work and extracurricular documents:

Infogram

Definitely one of my favorites. With Infogram, you can present information on any topic you want in a very colorful and organized way to help your readers understand better. If you're a student, you can start with a basic account and then choose to pay for an upgraded version if you think you’ll use it more. It’s ideal for composing dashboards, infographics and reports, and presenting contrast information. 

Datawrapper

Queen of charts and tables. At Datawrapper, you can enter your information or copy it from an Excel table and decide how you want to present it. You get to pick everything from colors and style to type of chart/table and then publish and embed! It’s ideal for comparing information and so easy that entities such as The New York Times and Quartz use it. It’s also free and you don’t need an account.

Canva

This is another one of my favorites. Canva provides many types of templates for you to make your own design on any topic that you want. These templates include everything from Facebook or Instagram posts, to resumes, letters and invitations. It’s updated often, and right now, they even have templates about COVID-19. You can create your own templates from scratch, too. After every finished design, they send you a cute message about how amazing designing is and how important it is. It’s also free, but you can choose to pay if you want the Pro version.

iLovePDF

Anytime I need to convert PDF documents, I prefer to use iLovePDF. It allows you to easily change documents from Word, Excel, Power Point, JPG or HTML to PDF and vice versa! You can also manage a PDF document itself― separating it, unblocking it, and more. There’s a set limit to how much you can do, but you can register for free to keep managing your documents.

Convert.io

If you aren’t a communications major, this website for converting audios is perfect for you. You get up to a maximum of 100MB if you register, but you don’t have to create an account in order to use it. You can upload an audio in more than ten formats and change it to another. Convert.io is a must if you like to make videos for fun, because some programs require specific formats on audios. This platform helped me a lot throughout my degree.

Color-hex

Color-hex helps you find the exact code of a shade of color found within the color wheel. It shows you color models and their respective codes so that you can search them on another app or platform and use them. It presents a variety of monochromatic colors, their complementary colors, and others in the color palette. It’s really easy to use― you only have to insert a color’s name and the whole information will appear. Totally free!

Pixabay

When my Multimedia Journalism professor told me of this tool where I could find pictures to use for my assignments without having to add credits for them, I was relieved, for real. These images can also be used for commercial purposes! Pixabay has more than a million pictures and videos regarding many topics such as food, nature, and even flags― all uploaded by a community who wants to share them, ready to download for free.

Thinglink

Thinglink is a platform used to present mostly images and videos, and tag everything you want within the image or video. You can even add a brief description alongside the opportunity to attach links to other material found on the web. I really like it because it allows you to share a lot of content on a simple image. It’s free, but you have to use it with your teacher’s code.

MapHub

With MapHub, you can create an interactive map. You can choose a real location and pin areas of interest that you want to present in the filters you decide to create. For example, if you want to mark your favorite places around San Juan, Puerto Rico, you pick San Juan’s map and pin all the spots you want to highlight, such as those in the gastronomy category, the entertainment category, and so on. You can also add photos and descriptions, so anyone who clicks on it can see it. It’s a practical platform for presenting information from a sky-high perspective. It’s available for free!

Timeline

Like the name suggests, Timeline allows you to construct a set of chronological events using photos and videos, to which you can add descriptions. The aesthetic is very attractive and you can create links to other platforms, such as embedding a YouTube video or a location from Google Maps.

These apps are all useful tools to help you with high school or college assignments, and I recommend letting your creativity and imagination run free! You can also use them for extracurricular projects that don't have anything to do with academics. You can keep yourself entertained in your free time, maybe updating your resume on Canva or creating a graphic on Datawrapper with statistics of nurses working during the pandemic. It’s all up to you. Have fun!

Journalism and Political Science student at Universidad de Puerto Rico, Río Piedras Campus. Currently, practicing photography, president of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ), UPR-RP chapter and journalist for Latitud 801 and Diálogo UPR. Mother Earth's friend. ?
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