This month I ventured outside of the Microsoft Store a bit to check out some great utilities and productivity software, but I also found some great apps inside the store such as iDownload Manager. Here are some of the highlights I have to recommend.
ScreenToGif is a simple screen recorder that makes it easy to grab videos off of your Windows 10 device. While reviewing the app, I was impressed by its built-in editor that lets you make basic changes before sharing content and the digital sketch board to record what you draw on-screen.
The app is available for free on Windows 10 or any version later than Windows 7.
WebToApp takes one of my favorite Windows 10 features, Compact Overlay mode, and brings it to just about any website that you'd like. It's great for watching YouTube videos in a mini player that stays above all of your other windows no matter what you open or close. One of the things I liked the most is that important buttons such as play/pause resize well into the mini-viewer.
This was originally a project to bring Mixer to Compact Overlay mode, but the developers rolled it out to everyone for free through the Microsoft Store. It's available on Windows 10 and Windows 10 Mobile.
See in Microsoft Store (opens in new tab)
Microsoft Font Maker
Microsoft Font Maker does exactly as the title suggests. You can use your own handwriting to create a custom font. You can share the exported font to other devices or even with friends or co-workers if you have lovely handwriting.
My handwriting looks like chicken scratch but I had a fun to playing around with the app and creating a custom font. You can adjust things such as kerning to make the font better replicate your handwriting.
The app is free and available on Windows 10.
See in Microsoft Store (opens in new tab)
iDownload Manager is a step above the built-in download managers of many web browsers. It handles multiple simultaneous downloads well and has nice little features like picking up a download seamlessly if you lose your internet connection.
It can download items through links, or as a destination by right-clicking. You can use the app on its own, but I found it to be the most useful when used in conjunction with its browser extension. Both the app and its browser extension are free and available on Windows 10.
- Download iDownload Manager from Microsoft Store (opens in new tab)
- Download iDownload Manager Extension for Microsoft Edge (opens in new tab)
LibreOffice has been around for ages, but an unofficial version showing up in the Microsoft Store gave me a good reason to compare LibreOffice to Microsoft Office. The unofficial version is gone, but you can still download LibreOffice from the official website.
It's an excellent office suite that is free and powerful. It contains a word processor, presentation creator, spreadsheet manager, and many other programs. It doesn't connect as seamlessly to the cloud as Microsoft Office and doesn't have full apps on Android or iOS, but it's hard to beat the value of getting a suite this powerful for free. It's available for Windows 10 and you can also get it on Mac or Linux.
Over to you
We're always looking to check out unique and powerful apps from the Microsoft Store. What do you think of these apps and which apps would you like us to look at in the future? Let us know in the comments below.
Sean Endicott is the news writer for Windows Central. If it runs Windows, is made by Microsoft, or has anything to do with either, he's on it. Sean's been with Windows Central since 2017 and is also our resident app expert. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at email@example.com.
Perhaps an edit is in order before iDownload Manager is seen as suck-y software. ("... some great apps inside the store suck as iDownload Manager.")
There is a sick little pleasure in seeing our own chicken scratch as a usable font, and then torturing our colleagues with emails written in that font.
Very much so! I've had my whole family make "their" font so I have a copy of their handwriting as we go into the future.
I went through the old app recommendations here the other day and saw you recommend iDownload Manager. I've tried SO many and they've all fallen flat so I've been using the built in manager. This is the first download manager that I've really grown to like. (So thanks!) I use Opera, but installing the "Install Chrome Extensions" extension, then going to the Chrome store and download the iDownload extension, restarting, it works like a champ. Just in case anyone else needs a work-around for Opera.
I would like to see a review of the best PWA apps that manage the best experience in deep offline caching for offline consumption. For me its the category apps with the biggest potential for value in Windows and in the Microsoft store.
Check out videotape, it's the prettiest video player out there.
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