Monday, 10 March 2008

Tools Of The Trade

“We shall neither fail nor falter; we shall not weaken or tire...give us the tools and we will finish the job.”

Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

As already mentioned, it will be necessary for you to produce much of your written documentation in Microsoft Word format and any pictures in JPEG. The benefit is that you can then readily e-mail your case files to your representative.

I use Microsoft Word for word-processing but is a very good alternative; it is a full office suite including spreadsheet, drawing and database support and best of all it is free.

For basic image processing / conversion, I can thoroughly recommend IrfanView. IrfanView has a wide range of features including rotation, cropping and resizing. It is not a paint package.

You will receive letters and other non-electronic documents. You must preserve / file the originals but it can be useful to convert these into Word documents. TopOCR is an optical character recognition processor. Essentially, you provide TopOCR with a picture of a document and it then converts it into text that you can edit.

I used a flatbed scanner but TopOCR works with any source and that might be from a digital camera or even your mobile phone.

Microsoft Word
Create and share great-looking documents by combining a comprehensive set of writing tools with an easy-to-use interface. is a multiplatform and multilingual office suite and an open-source project. Compatible with all other major office suites, the product is free to download, use, and distribute.

IrfanView is a very fast, small, compact and innovative freeware (for non-commercial use) graphic viewer for Windows 9x/ME/NT/2000/XP/2003/Vista.

TopOCR, Version 3.1. The latest release is completely free to end-users. TopOCR makes it easy to use your digital camera or smartphone as a mobile scanner to capture and OCR documents.

I have only investigated Windows based software - so apologies to Apple MAC users.