Make Office 2013 more powerful with 10 killer apps

Microsoft Office offers more features than most other software, but you can get even more tools by adding these apps.

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8. MindMapper

MindMapper is an app for PowerPoint, Excel, Word and Project Professional. You can try it free of charge and it costs $2.99 to buy. MindMapper shows you what an app can look like if it is intelligently designed. It has a getting started tutorial and is very easy to use. Designers have built the entire app in the task pane complete with Open, New and Save buttons, and with tabs that contain multiple tools for working on a map.

9. LegalZoom

Legal forms are missing from Microsoft Word's own document templates, but you can get boilerplate templates for things like a non-disclosure agreement or an apartment lease from LegalZoom. Once you download its free app, activate it by clicking Word's Insert toolbar, then Apps for Office, and Free legal forms. A menu of forms appears in the task pane. Pick a form, and download it. To make the form your own, make sure to select Enable Editing  along the top of the open document. Naturally, LegalZoom invites you to register with its site for additional step-by-step help, but that's not required.

10. Trim Spaces

If you spend a lot of time in Excel, there's no greater chore than making manual formatting changes. Data that's imported from another source is often riddled with errors, quirky characters, or plain old blank space that yawns from a column of text. The Trim Spaces app from Add-in Express will free you from deleting every blank space by hand. Plus, it's free. Its makers provide additional Excel add-ins, including a random number generator and duplicate data remover. Huzzah!

Use Office apps efficiently

Although we're spotlighting some of the most useful add-ins here, some Office apps aren't always integrated in the most elegant fashion--starting with installation that makes you go back and forth between the Office Store and Office software. Nor is launching an app from within Office always swift. If you have several task pane apps running at once, your document all but disappears in the clutter. And, unlike with a web browser, there's no tabbed organization, so multiple Office windows can clutter your desktop. To make these apps enhance rather than frustrate your Office experience, use them sparingly, one at a time.

This story, "Make Office 2013 more powerful with 10 killer apps" was originally published by PCWorld.

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