Log Off, Surf On

Not every power tool for navigating the Web keeps you online. Some keep you offline as much as possible, while others help you translate pages and documents into a language you can understand.

Net Need: Save time

One of the best time-savers is FreeLoader. It will grab any Web site you like and store it on your computer's hard drive. You can scan it at your leisure later on, without waiting for all those pages to download. It's one of the easiest offline tools to use (although it still requires some familiarity with the Internet), it works with Netscape Navigator, and it's free.

Net Need: Translate documents

While the lingua franca of the Internet is English, you will run across pages in foreign languages that you wish you could read. How are you supposed to go global if you can't even follow BUTZN Borsen, the German stock exchange online (http://www.boerse.de/) Before you sign up for a Berlitz course, try Globalink's Web Translator ($49.95). It's a Navigator add-on that translates pages from French, German, or Spanish into English (or vice versa) at the click of your mouse. It takes about a minute for the program to translate a document, and the results can be humorous. But you can muddle through without using a phrase book.

Net Need: Convert documents

Sometimes you'll receive documents in a format your computer's software doesn't understand. DataViz's Conversions Plus ($149) is a Net necessity if you deal with a wide variety of file formats. It enables you to convert files from, say, a Macintosh ClarisWorks format into a Windows 95 Excel format. You can then edit the material and convert it back to the sender's format.

Coordinates: FreeLoader, 202-686-0660, http://www.freeloader.com; Globalink Web Translator, Globalink, 800-255-5660, (http://www.globalink.com); Conversions Plus, DataViz, 800-733-0030, (http://www.dataviz.com)

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