Gift Guides: Windows Apps

We’re big fans of free software, but some apps are definitely worth paying for — and giving as gifts. Here are five apps any Windows PC owner would be happy to find in their virtual stocking.

Microsoft Office 365 Home Premium ($119)

With five full licences included, the year-long Office 365 Home Premium bundle is a great gift for the multiple-laptop family. The package includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, OneNote, Access and Publisher, as well as 60 minutes of Skype calls to landlines each month and 20GB of SkyDrive storage.

Breevy ($US34.95)

Text expander Breevy is one of those apps that seems expensive until you use it, when you quickly discover you can’t survive without it. Whether you’re using it to send canned email responses, navigate Windows Explorer, or perform many other clever tricks, text expansion is an awesome tool, and Breevy is as good as it gets on Windows. If you want something that works perfectly with minimal effort, Breevy is well worth the price

Airfoil ($US25)

If anyone you know owns an AirPlay-capable stereo or router (such is an AirPort Express), Airfoil is a great companion. Essentially, it allows you to transmit any audio — not just iTunes or other AirPlay apps — to AirPlay speakers. That means you can stream Spotify, Pandora, YouTube, or whatever else you want to your living room stereo. Airfoil isn’t perfect, but it’s that one thing everyone wants for their AirPlay system

DisplayFusion Pro ($US25)

Have a friend using multiple monitors that doesn’t use DisplayFusion? Show them what they’re missing: taskbars on each monitor, shortcuts to move windows between monitors, multi-monitor wallpapers, multi-monitor screensavers, and a heap more.

Adobe Creative Suite ($599.88)

If price isn’t really an issue and you have a creative type on your list, then a 12-month subscription to Adobe’s Creative Suite — complete with full versions of PhotoShop, Premiere, Illustrator, InDesign, Dreamweaver, After Effects and Muse — will make you very popular on Christmas morning. If $49.99 a month seems a little extravagant for your gifting budget, the Creative Cloud version of Photoshop is a little cheaper at $19.99 a month.