Look Before You Leap

Or in this case, before you download.

Here’s a warning to frugalistas looking to save money by downloading free scrapbooking software: make sure your virus protection is updated, especially if you are planning to save files from a website you are not familiar with.

I speak from experience.

Whereas I love that the Internet allows budget-conscious scrappers access to a variety of digital delights, it is so important to know what you are getting into before double clicking. If you are working on an older computer, you should refer to the owner’s manual to see whether or not your machine meets the necessary system requirements to support the free software you wish to download.

In addition to ensuring that your computer is protected, you should also read the fine print before downloading free scrapbook programs. Unfortunately, “free” is a relative term in cyberspace. Some downloads are advertised as being free, but it turns out they are actually trials, which require you to fork over money if you want to continue using the program after a certain grace period. For example, you might think that you are getting free access to all of the incredible features included with Adobe Photoshop Elements, but in actuality the company’s “free” offer is only good for 30 days. After the one-month trial you are required to pay for a serial number which will authorize you to use the program.

Two no-strings attached digital scrapbook computer programs I have had success with include The Font Thing and Picasa. The former is an amazing resource for a litany of fonts that can be used to design eye-popping page titles and journaling blocks. You don’t have to pay a dime to view font samples or print out your favorites. Meanwhile, Picasa is a free program by Google which allows you to organize and enhance photos that you want to insert into your digital layouts. The best part: Neither program will break your budget or contaminate your computer.

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Michele Cheplic

About Michele Cheplic

Michele Cheplic was born and raised in Hilo, Hawaii, but now lives in Wisconsin. Michele graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a degree in Journalism. She spent the next ten years as a television anchor and reporter at various stations throughout the country (from the CBS affiliate in Honolulu to the NBC affiliate in Green Bay). She has won numerous honors including an Emmy Award and multiple Edward R. Murrow awards honoring outstanding achievements in broadcast journalism. In addition, she has received awards from the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association for her reports on air travel and the Wisconsin Education Association Council for her stories on education. Michele has since left television to concentrate on being a mom and freelance writer.