Five Web Alternatives to Desktop Applications

I’m a big fan of web based applications. I don’t have anything against desktop applications, but there are many limitations with desktop software, especially for someone who like me who is constantly on the move. Higher cost, platform dependence, installation problems (space, hardware, buggy installers) are a few of the reasons I try to avoid desktop applications.

My reluctance to use desktop applications led to me using a few highly useful web alternatives. Mentioned below are the five which I find the most useful.

Aviary Tools

If you are looking to edit images then this is the perfect tool for you.  It’s a great alternative to desktop image editors like Photoshop, Illustrator etc. It has a comprehensive set of tools to do all sorts of things with your image.

You can import your own images to do some quick changes and help text pops up from time to time to ease the process. It has a comprehensive set of tools for vector editing and even audio editing. Try Aviary Tools.


Creately is a diagramming application that is a great alternative to software like Microsoft Visio and Omnigraffle. It supports technical diagrams like flowcharts, UML and business diagrams like organization charts, mind maps etc.

Creately's LogoIf you are looking to draw a quick flowchart or an organization chart then this is the tool to do it. It also has online collaboration support, meaning you two people can work together in the same diagram, excellent if you are working with clients that are in different locations. Check out Creately.


As you will probably guess by the name, this is a great alternative to software like WinZip. It supports popular file types like ZIP, RAR and as an added bonus scans the files for viruses as well.

Most downloads are packaged as zipped files so this is an extremely useful tool to have. The best thing is, you don’t have to sign up or provide you email just to get the file. Try WobZIp.

Google Docs

I consider this a must have tool for anyone. It’s a great alternative to Microsoft office and offers controlled sharing with others as well. You can prepare documents, design slideshow presentations, create spreadsheets and much more.

As mentioned, the online sharing ability makes it very easy for many people to work on the same document. You do need a Google account to use the service, but most people have one these days, so that shouldn’t be too much of an issue. Check out Google Docs.


Wunderlist is the latest addition to my online tool set. Wunderlist is an online to do list manager, which also has some cool additional features which makes it very productive. If you want they provide desktop applications for many devices that automatically sync with your online account.

You also have the ability to share lists with other users. This is especially useful if you are working with few others on some small tasks. You can easily see what they have completed and what needs to be done. Try Wunderlist.

Mentioned above are five tools that have helped me become more productive and efficient in my day to day work.  There are hundreds more web alternatives out there so if you can think of a similar one make sure to mention in the comments section. In the meantime try out these services and enjoy the freedom of web based applications.

9 thoughts on “Five Web Alternatives to Desktop Applications

  1. I’m not a big fan of Google Documents. I find the interface to be very annoying. Additionally, it simply isn’t as fully featured as Microsoft Office is.

  2. If you ‘re using Creatley for simple sitemaps or flowcharts then Slickplan ( is a good alternative to Creatley. Whilst it’s not as comprehensive it’s a free tool -(though a pro version is supposedly on it’s way).

    Wunderlist looks like a useful app – especially if it cna sync with the iPad /iPhone etc

    • Christopher (admin team)

      Thanks for sharing that Rich, hopefully someone can find it useful 🙂

      Thanks for your comment, welcome to the community!
      Christopher – Admin Team

    • Christopher (admin team)

      In this modern age with more emphasis on cloud computing, we based applications are becoming much more popular.

      Thanks for the comment Leigh, welcome to the blog 🙂
      Christopher – Admin Team

  3. I use Google Docs a lot! It saves so much time not having to transfer files from computer to computer.

    In the past I used Wunderlist but now I prefer TeuxDeux because I felt that Wunderlist starting to get a bit slow.

    It isn’t really a web based version of a desktop program but I would say if you prefer to have your data in the cloud Dropbox is a must too!

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