25 practical Windows 8 tablet apps for business users

Work smarter--not harder--with these no-nonsense Microsoft Windows 8 tablet apps for business.

25 Practical Windows 8 Tablet Apps for Business Users

If you have a Surface tablet by Microsoft (or any brand of Windows 8 tablet for that matter) then you're probably in need of a few good apps to improve the experience—especially if you use your tablet for both business and pleasure. Here are 25 practical apps that will help you work smarter on a Windows 8 tablet.

Related: The How-To Guide to Windows 8

Based in Nova Scotia, Canada, Vangie Beal has been covering small business, electronic commerce and Internet technology for more than a decade. You can tweet with her online @AuroraGG.

Breevy Text Expander
Breevy Text Expander: Abbreviate Typing

Breevy is a text expander that's useful if you do a lot of typing on your tablet. You define an abbreviation for words and phrases you type often. For example, if you connect "eml" to your full email address, instead of typing that longer text you can just type the abbreviation. It's a great tool that will replace typed abbreviations in any application.

Breevy (by 16 Software) is $34.95. A free 30-day trial is available.

Check Free/Busy
Check Free/Busy: View Presence Before Scheduling a Call

Check Free/Busy is an app to determine the availability status of people in your email system. It can be a useful tool if you want to know when a coworker is available to schedule a conference call.

Check Free/Busy (by Dirt Viper Software) is $2.99. There's also a free trial mode so you can make sure the app is compatible with your email system before buying.

EssentialPIM Pro
EssentialPIM Pro: Manage Contacts, Appointments and More

EssentialPIM Pro is a personal information manager than puts appointments, to-do lists, notes, passwords and all your contacts in one easy-to-use location. The app features built-in email support; you can sync your information with Outlook and online email services including Gmail and Yahoo Mail.

EssentialPIM Pro (by Astonsoft) is $39.95. A free version of the app is available.

Google Analytics Live
Google Analytics Live: Track Website Performance on the Go

If you need to monitor website performance, Google Analytics Live is the way to go. This Windows 8 application shows an overview of visits and page views. You can see detailed site traffic statistics for today, yesterday, last week and last month. The app will send you to Google Analytics authentication; just log in using your default browser.

Google Analytics Live (by Ilyesoft) is $2.99.

How-to: 5 Ways IT Can Get More From Google Analytics

HoursTracker
HoursTracker: Track Earnings and Overtime

If you're an independent contractor or have an hourly wage job, HoursTracker provides a timer to track work hours. You can manually enter punch times, too. View earnings and overtime within the app or export time/work data in text or CSV format. Features include pay rate assignment to calculate actual earnings in addition to daily and weekly overtime options.

HoursTracker (by Cribasoft) is $1.49.

JustCloud
JustCloud: Cloud Access Wherever You Are

The JustCloud app syncs files to JustCloud storage allowing access from anywhere. You can access your stored music or video files, open documents or view photos from one application. Other features include file sharing using Windows 8 and options to browse and open backed-up files.

JustCloud (by JDI Backup) is free. Business cloud storage plans are available.

LockIt
LockIt: Secure Passwords and Private Information

LockIt uses strong cryptography to store passwords and private information such as credit card data, bank account information and software keys. Once stored, you can sync and share data across Windows 8 devices. LockIt lets you import data from other popular password managers, it automatically fills in passwords and it auto-locks after two minutes of idle time.

LockIt (by RNG Labs) costs $1.49.

How-to: Secure Data by Addressing the Human Element

Mileage and Receipt System
Mileage and Receipt System: Track Vehicle Expenses

The Mileage and Receipt System (MARS) tracks all types of IRS deductible mileage, including business, charity, medical and moving expenses. Information is synced to the cloud and accessible on multiple devices. Features include yearly deduction and expense summary by vehicle and data export in CSV format.

Mileage and Receipt System (by Kool Software) costs $1.99.

mSecure
mSecure: Manage Your Passwords

The mSecure Password Manager helps you store and sync your important information. The mSecure app for Windows 8 tablets provides 256-bit encryption to protect personal information along with an easy interface from which you can view, copy and edit data. It also features auto-lock protection.

The mSecure app (by mSeven Software) is free.

My Server
My Server: Browse, Edit and Search Files on Your Server

My Server helps you connect to server resources using any device running Windows 8. There are plenty of options to manage users, devices, alerts and access shared files in Windows Server 2012 Essentials. You can browse, edit and search files stored on your server and even access recently opened files without an Internet connection.

My Server is a free app from Microsoft.

OneNote
OneNote: To-do Lists in the Cloud

Using OneNote, you can take notes and save them to the cloud for anytime, anywhere access. Features include to-do lists with check boxes, options to email notes to friends and the ability to send information from other apps directly into OneNote.

OneNote is also a free app from Microsoft.

PDF Touch
PDF Touch: Read, Annotate PDF Docs

PDF Touch lets you read and annotate PDF documents just like you would with pen and paper. Touch to highlight and use your finger to add handwritten notes. You can also use a mouse or keyboard to review and take notes. All annotations are saved and can be viewed in other applications.

PDF Touch (by Suneet Shah) is $2.99.

Project Pal
Project Pal: Estimate Projects With Accuracy

Project Pal is a good app for those who need to estimate project time and cost. You can calculate project materials and use visual aids to ensure you estimate with accuracy. The app is suitable for professional contractors and those working on home improvements.

Project Pal (by Taffy Mill Studios) is $2.99.

Quick Encrypt
Quick Encrypt: Encrypt Passwords, Personal Data

Quick Encrypt is text encryption software that can be used to encrypt passwords, credit card numbers, login IDs, social security numbers, email passwords and more. You can encrypt and decrypt any text with a user-defined password.

Quick Encrypt (by Two Square Systems) is free.

Tips: The Do's and Don'ts of Safeguarding Cloud-based Data with Encryption

QuickList
QuickList: A Task Manager for Work Projects

QuickList is task management app that takes care of to-do lists, projects, work items and purchase lists. In the app you can create, view and manage your daily, weekly and future activities and see up to five timeframes in one screen. Activities you haven't marked as completed will automatically roll over to tomorrow, and you can schedule a to-do list for any time in the future.

QuickList (by Knowitsome Apps) is $1.49.

Remote Desktop
Remote Desktop: Connect to Remote PC

The Remote Desktop app lets you connect to a remote PC to access files and work. The app shows all remote connections and opens them with a single touch. You can customize settings for all your connections. Other features include connecting to multiple remote desktops, automatic detection and optimization of connection quality.

Remote Desktop is a free Microsoft app.

Save the Date
Save the Date: Don't Miss Another Special Date

Anniversaries, project due dates and meeting schedules are some of the special dates that the Save the Date app will remind you about throughout the day. Simply add special dates and follow them, or pin any date to your Start screen with a custom background image.

Save the Date (by Revolution Software) is free.

Slideldea
Slideldea: Communicate With Your Audience

SlideIdea is a presentation tool designed to help a speaker and audience communicate better using Windows 8 mobile devices. The speaker uploads slides to the cloud, where the audience can easily download it to a PC or mobile device and follow along. The audience can also participate in polls and send questions or comments to the speaker during the presentation.

SlideIdea (by the company of the same name) is $8.99.

Speaktoit  Assistant
Speaktoit Assistant: Virtual Talking Tablet Buddy

Need a virtual, talking buddy? Speaktoit Assistant uses natural language processing technology to answer questions, find information, launch apps and connect you to different Web services. Use your voice to navigate on your tablet, open websites, get the latest weather report, manage your calendar, play music and do other tasks.

Speaktoit Assistant (by Speaktoit) is free.

Tape Recorder Pro
Tape Recorder Pro: Functional Voice Recorder, Player

Despite its aged look, Tape Recorder Pro is a handy app for recording meetings and interviews or capturing the cute things your children say. The app behaves exactly like an old-fashioned tape recorder—right down to the Rec, Play, FFwd, Rew, Stop, Pause and Eject buttons. The Pro version lets you export the recorded tape to audio files in common formats such as WAV, MP3, WMA and MP4).

Tape Recorder Pro (by Senstic) costs $2.99.

Todo
Todo: Manage Tasking and Sub-Tasking

Todo is a nice little task management app for Windows 8. You can view tasks on the app's live tile and set task notifications so you're reminded when something needs to get done. There are options for setting tasks to repeat, full search support and features for multi-level sub-tasking.

Todo (by Katans) is free.

What's IP Pro
What's IP Pro: Network Tools and Utilities

What's IP Pro gives users a range of network tools, including monitoring, scanning and reporting. The app displays the local and external IP address of your current Internet connection and works in the background but updates when network conditions change. External tools such as NS Lookup and Ping are supported.

What's IP Pro (by S2 Apps) is $2.49.

Work Notes Pro
Work Notes Pro: Record, Save, Share Notes

The Work Notes Pro app turns your tablet into a recording device so you can save and share videos, voice notes, drawings, work notes, pictures and other multimedia files. Business users on the go can document customer and business information and instantly share to the cloud, to contacts and to other applications. Features include a dashboard for viewing all work files, drawing capabilities and an improved Windows 8 touchscreen interface for Microsoft Surface Pro tablets.

Work Notes Pro (by Lucky 8 Solutions) is free.

World Time Clock
World Time Clock: World Times, Country Calling Codes

World Time Clock is a good app for busy professionals who need to communicate with colleagues in other countries. The app lets you choose the cities important to your agenda and view international country calling codes. The app allows you to add up to 40 cities to your favorites list for quick access.

World Time Clock (by Reflected Sun) is $2.49. A seven-day free trial is available.

Yandex.Disk
Yandex.Disk: Free File Storage

Yandex.Disk is a file storage service for photos, videos and documents. Store files online to access yourself or share with friends and colleagues. Features include folder management, online file viewing and editing and the ability to give others access to shared files. You can also restore delete files from the trash if necessary.

Yandex.Disk (by Yandex) is free.

Related story: 5 useful tools in Windows 8