Portable apps for productivity

Smartphones loaded with popular apps are often touted as providing us with the freedom to leave behind our desktop and laptop, while still remaining productive. However, this claim is not really true. Unless you have really small fingers and can remain focused on a tiny screen for long, attempting to accomplish productive work on a smartphone is not a smart choice.

An alternative is to take along a tablet loaded with your favorite apps, but the downside is that you will have to lug the additional weight of the unwieldy tab wherever you go. A more elegant solution is to carry portable versions of your favorite productivity apps, or even games, on a small USB and be able to work, or play, by just plugging it in a host laptop or desktop.

Portable apps are an especially efficient and handy solution when you have access to public computers in a library, university or even at your workplace, but do not have the rights to install new software. By using standalone apps loaded on a USB, you do not alter the Windows registry or leave behind configuration files on your host computer. Rather than carry around a USB that could get misplaced, you could even upload the portable apps to a cloud folder and then sync it the device you will be using.

Portable apps, which are lighter versions of many popular productivity apps, are readily available for download. The portable versions are usually smaller in size and functionality to the full-sized apps, but they get the work done. In addition, they do not use any installer, as all the executables and related files are contained in a single folder.

Portable apps are available as standalone solutions — meaning you take along only the ones you need — or can be part of a bigger platform or suite of apps that offer a variety of software to choose from, such as the PortableApps suite, which contains over 400 apps rolled in one suite.

A shortlist of some of the popular portable productivity apps include: Chrome or Firefox (Browsers), LibreOffice (MS Office alternative), LastPass (Password manager), VLC (Media player), Foxit (pdf Reader), GIMP (Image editor)