Office, Project management, mind mapping

Posted on Sun 26 June 2022 in Scientific software/Office

Knowledge and Project management

Sometimes it is nice to use a specialised knowledge or Project manager to present times and keep track of money and similar things. these are nice tools to make path plans and similar, for all that are tired of colouring excel fields

Project managers:

These are more to make gantt graphs

I recently started making gantt charts and mind maps with PlantUML. There are some great online tools for generating this. A bit like Latex for charts

Main Page of the project:

Great online editor for PlantUML:

Offline (and my usual workflow) I use Notepad++ for pretty much everything. Here there is a great plugin for working with PlantUML: (best installed via the plugin manager)

Mind Mapping

this is one of the thousand good mind mapping tools, or concept browsers (simple mindmaps can be done by libre office by the way too this goes however far beyond this. knowledge oganised with this tools can be easily structured:

Research suite

Docear tries to combine mind manager and reference manager and pdf collector in one suite, it is an intersting free concept:

Live interactive editor, offers a server to work on but also the possibility to work on your own server   Etherpad:

Note taking software

ever more people are using tablets or external pen driven input. Beside note taking, also the function of working with a pen on pdf files (corrections…) is very useful if you are already using OneNote(not free but part of any larger Microsoft office package) then simple drag and drop a pdf file an an empty note and save it afterwards as pdf there are free alternatives

I have now been using Joplin for a while with good success

Jamal is a note taking software that lays a transparent over any file you use (or a white paper) (import pdf as “background”)

Notelab is a very nice note taking software that saves everything as svg, the new version now allows commenting from pdf but still is a bit buggy. It was programmed for writing formulas by hand (hint, if the software does not start the start script has an error, search the line that starts with “java” and change the the “java” to the path your java is installed, if your path contains spaces you have to put the whole path in citation marks (“))

Xournal works in the same way like jarnal but is not as far developed yet


There are many Office packages out there. Most Universities provide site licences for the Microsoft packages. I however prefer the Open source alternatives Libreoffice/OpenOffice - Even if there might be stories, the software has devolved a lot can now open and write all word/excel and powerpoint files) (the drawing module is good for making vector graphics) There has been a split in the project and there are now two software Libreoffice and Openoffice I would recommend Libreoffice, it has all the features the developers of openoffice didn’t want to put directly in the software and it is compatible to all old openoffice versions (maybe the once to come to I don’t know this) advantages:opens svg, presenter view included, has nice fitting routines in the excel module, and is more stable

the new: the old:

A really nice feature for presentations in libreoffice is the presenter view. View the main presentation on the main screen and see the next slides, all slides or your presentation comments on the laptop only

in microsoft office this feature is included in the later versions (after 2003).

A less powerfull but also smaller version is Abiword

a simple editor for changing CSV files (column files with different seperators and/or other forms) especially useful if files are to be imported into software like scidavis

Simple Text editor for writing code! At the end this is what matters and everything else does just distract, or an advanced version with tabs and syntax highlighting (for matlab and co) might be found in

Converter between office versions ODF and openXML (this is actually all you ever will need!)


For software allowing you to write with a pen on pdf files see  Note taking software PDF Tools

PDFcreator (looks for you like a printer, but keeps the Vector data (high quality)

PDF Sam works also fine

if you want to combine PDF, take out pages or other simple things I recommend

With this little tool you can compare pdfs after appearance and content, usefull for proof checking

in the standard free PDF viewer (Acrobat) you can copy text, copy vector graphics, take a snapshot of pictures and comment in the pdf

a faster alternative would be Foxit reader (very strong commenting features)

SumatraPdf  is even faster and does not lock the opened PDF file (good for working with LATEX)

presenting using PDF

Presenting using sofwares like Powerpoint is convenient, but sometimes challenged by the available hardware. These tools can make this easier.

PPSplit is a simple script that splits your slide transitions into separate slides that can then be exported as PDF

PDFPresenter is a simple but powerful java script that offers the presenter view with multiple screens, slide overview and similar things for PDF files. It also has a powerful white board

presentation timers and organiser

If you organize a meeting or conference it is often useful to use a little tool showing the presenter his remaining time. While i didn’t find the perfect tool yet and will try to write my own i found several tools that come close and might be enough for most users: This is a small executable that does a very good job. First white on black last five minutes green last 3 yellow last red and then flashing. it is so small and doesn’t need to be installed and they allow redistribution that i attach it here including the readme file

This version is also very nice, the payed version offers more possibilities but the free one has only a few increments, a bar is retreating and changing trafik light like the colours during the last fractions of the presentation. It needs to be installed and only works with mayor increments, it is however scale able and adjusts the font during the rescale

this page has a totally different approach. It provides a powerpoint presentation with fancy transitions that corresponds to one minute intervals. so simply by running the presentation one gets the wished for timer, nice different designs available.

this is a fancy tool for bible studies but if programmed right can show the next speakers in row, count and show the time and organize a full meeting. to bad that the theme is hard-coded. You won’t get rid of the bible background. (download “congregation meeting timer” on the left side of the page

As usual there is an APP for this: up to three times very simple and straight foward:

several presentations with different times can be programmed in advance and the bell can ring automatically:

simple and does what it should presentationtimer pro (still free!)

Room/resource scheduling tools

Disporoom is a very nice online service that lets people schedule rooms. They offer hosting and everything for up to 10 rooms for everybody and 20 rooms for non profits (registration)

This tool works either on one pc or as a web based application (have not tried):

MBRS requires your own server but looks like a nice browser based solution :

For scheduling on your own server phpSchedulIt is a very nice open source solution. Offering quota and similar things

its own server is also needed for “openroom” including php and mysql:

To schedule meetings is a very usefull tool. But there are some more specialized tools for this (to come later ;o) )

Small Tools

Little tool for post processing of scanned book pages

Online Tool to convert different file formats into each other. Very useful to not have to have one tool for each formats   (attention, you upload your pdf to a server, this means that the company can see your documents, this is not recommendable for sensitive documents, see the “PDF” link for alternatives)

Online tool to create pdf’s also from many pictures. This is the producer from Foxit pdf reader. So I understand their buisness model and this seems reliable (check the top bar for more options and file types).

For smartphones  I recommend Genius Scan:



Pandoc seams to have similar capabilities in an offline program, but i did not test it yet

Font Managing

Create your own font with this tool:

Free font managing for windows: Fontbase: