Spreadsheets are essential and hidden, relied on and unloved. They're the unseen tool behind a surprising number of business processes, blamed for financial crises and praised for making number crunching and statical analysis available to everyone.
They're the original killer app, the main reason so many bought their first personal computer. And today, spreadsheets can run on the phone in your pocket or in your browser, for free, and they're still as handy as ever for crunching numbers.
Google Sheets especially so. As an online spreadsheet, you can gather data from websites and pull it right into your spreadsheet, link it with forms, and write scripts to send emails and more right from your spreadsheet. It's a powerful tool, enough that we've written an entire book about it at Zapier.
I'm running out of words about spreadsheets because I've used them all in the book. So stop reading this, and go grab a copy of The Ultimate Guide to Google Sheets. It just might make you fall in love with spreadsheets—or finally kick your Excel habit and switch to the Google Apps side.
Switching to Google Apps isn't so hard if you just need the basic, built-in features. But what if you need more advanced tools—perhaps a specific Excel add-on for a class, or a way to analyze your data with machine learning?
Turns out, Google Sheets is powerful enough for that, too. There's add-ons to quickly format your spreadsheet, pull in research, and crunch numbers with industry standard tools like Risk Soulver.
Backing up your computer was never easy, but at least back in the day all your data was on one computer. A few ZIP disks, CDs, or DVDs later, and you had a complete extra copy of all your documents, photos, and other files. External hard drives made it even quicker.
Then, all your files started moving to the cloud, and your phone became your primary computer, and complete backups suddenly became nearly impossible to make.
Nearly, but not entirely. You can still back up every picture, status update, playlist, document, and more from all your apps and devices today.
Your great idea could turn into something amazing, but it'll take a lot of work to get there. Ideas come out of thin air—real things take blood, sweat, toil, and tears.
And management. Lots of management.
It's easy to think your great idea can lead you to success on its own. But more often than not, you'll need a detailed plan to take turn that idea into reality. That's where project management comes in.
Project management isn't just a category of apps. It's an entire universe of ideas and strategies to break your project down into achievable steps, put them into a workflow to ensure they'll be consistently completed well, and set a timeframe to get everything finished.
You'll need a project management system, and tools to help you follow that system. And you'll likely need some advice from those who've managed projects before.
Zapier's latest book has that and more. In The Ultimate Guide to Project Management, you'll learn about the best project management systems, software, and strategies to make your next project a success. It's the first thing you should read before taking on your next project.
Spreadsheets are the original killer app for PCs ... and they're still one of the most used business apps today. But they're not just number-crunching tools. With any spreadsheet—and especially Google Sheets—you can re-format text, translate it, pull in data from online sources automatically, create complex HTML tables in seconds, and much more.
Looking for a tool to help manage your projects? After breaking down the best project management strategies, the past few months I've been testing and reviewing dozens of project management apps.
I came into the project with a few favorite project management apps—including Trello, Basecamp, and Flow—and came away with a number of new favorites, including Projectplace, Runrun.it, and more. Simple, focused tools are awesome—but I fell in love with a number of apps that include hybrid views, perhaps merging Gantt and kanban for a way to manage workflow and deadlines together.
The thing that's important about a project management app is how it helps you setup a workflow for your tasks, something beyond just checking off to-dos. And so, as I tested apps, I watched for great workflow tools, and selected the apps that do that best. It's fascinating how each app in such a crowded category can still be unique, with its own take on how to manage your projects.
So, without further ado, here's Zapier's roundup of the 50 Best Project Management Apps. It's massive, with over 10k words and thousands more in linked in-depth reviews. And, it even includes a cheat sheet and reference spreadsheet where you can sort through 20 top features to find the app with just the features you need.
If you're looking for a new tool to manage your projects—or just want to see what the best PM apps offer today—it's the roundup for you.
Screenshots aren't that hard to capture—but you do have to know a handful of shortcuts and tricks to take them effectively on any platform. So, as a companion to our posts on writing books and using markdown, here's a guide to taking great screenshots with the shortcuts and apps you need to take screenshots and screencasts for free on almost any device.
"Customer Support" brings to mind lines snaking out the doors post-holidays, hour long hold times when trying to change your phone plan, and the hundredth time you take an item in for repairs that just don't seem to last.
It doesn't have to be that way. Customer support is the best chance a company has to make personal connections with customers, the chance to answer questions, solve problems, make people happy, and at the same time learn how to improve your company's products and services.
It may not be easy, but it is worthwhile—and it doesn't have to be so hard. In our latest book, The Ultimate Guide to Customer Support, the Zapier team dives into what makes great customer support, the apps to make it simpler, how to solve problems before they happen, and more. And, it's free.
It's the book you need to read to learn how to do great customer support.
Rich text is the worst. It's great in theory—after all, it's often nice to add italics to text, link to websites, and break up longer pieces with headers, images, and quotes. But if you've ever copied formatted text from Word into WordPress, or opened a Pages document in Google Docs and lost all formatting, you'll be keenly aware that rich text is fragile and apt to break.
So, Markdown. It's a plain text syntax where you add asterisks and hashtags to text, and they're magically turned into the correct italics and headers when you export your file as a PDF or post it on your website. And since it's plain text, it works everywhere—even if an app doesn't support Markdown, it's still obvious what's what with the asterisks and hashtags.
It's how I format everything I write, in iA Writer and Kirby and on Zapier's blog. And it's the one syntax you should learn if you aren't writing in Markdown already.