Essential Keystrokes is…

where I share my favorite tips, tools, reviews and commentary on web design, marketing, blogging, new media and related topics. For more about this site and the voice behind it, check out my About page.


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Essential Tools from Inspiration Bit

By Char

Essential ToolsToday’s Essential Tools come from Vivien at Inspiration Bit, where she writes about Web design and development, art and photography, and tutorials.  Vivien is a former college professor who now does freelance work from home. She has also collected some of the best lists of resources for web professions including:

Inspiration Bit

Vivien’s essential tools for success are:

  • Firebug – Firefox add-on: Vivien can’t imagine designing web sites and working with CSS without this tool. It’s a very helpful tool for sneaking behind the scenes on the blog and site designs that she finds fascinating.
  • Any good HTML/CSS/PHP editor: Viven likes to work with Dreamweaver, Eclipse and Komodo IDE.
  • Thunderbird: She can’t live without her emails and catching up with the RSS feeds when offline. She also uses it for saving drafts of her blog posts. (Great idea, Vivien – I had never thought of that!)
  • Of course, Photoshop and Illustrator :  These are two of the best and most powerful tools for optimizing photos and creating graphics for web and print.
  • Her Mac’s Dashboard:  Viviene has got several handy widgets there such as various colour palettes, thesaurus, calculator, Google Dashalytics and sticky notes.
  • And finally WordPress: which almost goes without saying!

Thanks to Vivien and all the Essential Tools guests! It is always helpful and educational to find out what tools other successful professionals are using!

Categories : Essential Tools



Char, thank you so much for inviting me to contribute to your Essential toolkit. Oh, I’m faaar from being a “professor” – just a regular instructor who taught (and actually still teach a little) web design and programming.
But I appreciate a lot your nice promo on me and the highlight of some of my past&recent posts. Thanks a lot.

This is such a great idea – finding out what tools other bloggers, designers find essential. I look forward to reading what others can’t live without.


Hi. Thanks for sharing these wondeful tools. Cheers!


Photoshop CS3 is brilliant if anyone uses it you find it hard to go back to CS2


one thing I find lacking in Photoshop CS3 is ImageReady. I personally don’t find Adobe’s decision to switch it over to Fireworks convenient.


Excellent, some new things to take a look at there.

Vivien, Char, I hope you both have a great weekend!

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