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Free App Friday: 5 Tools That Will Spark Your Creativity

Jot down your thoughts, write without distractions, share a virtual whiteboard, and more.

It’d be great to be able to go from zero to maximum creativity at the drop of a hat. Most of us, however, need to ramp up quite a bit. Whether you’re looking for a little shot of inspiration or you’ve got a great idea that you don’t want to get away, these apps can help.

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1. See what everyone else is up to.

If you’re looking for some inspiration, check out Behance (Android, iOS). The app boasts millions of projects from popular creative types working in fashion, design, photography, architecture, and a slew of other professions. You can follow your favorite people to keep up with what they’re working on, and showcase your own work as well. Behance–which is owned by Adobe–claims that big creative companies use the app to look for talent, so it might even be a way to drum up some business.

2. Annotate your ideas.

Should inspiration strike while you’re out and about, Skitch (Android, iOS), from popular online note-keeper Evernote, lets you snap photos and then mark them up with notes and doodles. You can scrawl on photos that are already on your camera roll or even annotate maps if you need to remind yourself to revisit certain places. Notes can be shared via Facebook, email, and messaging services, and you can add the ability to mark up PDFs for $5.

3. Doodle a little.

Available for Android tablets and the iPad, Wacom’s Bamboo Paper (Android, iOS) turns your slate into a sketchbook. Depending upon what you’re trying to get done, there are four styles available–visual thinking, note-taking, journaling, art creation–with a handful of pen types for you to use to jot your ideas down. Your creations can be shared to popular social networks or saved to various cloud-based storage services, and the app works with various styluses (Wacom recommends its own, of course).

4. Write right.

Nothing spoils a good wordfest like distractions, so if you’re looking for clutter-free writing tools, take JotterPad (Android) and Werdsmith (iOS) for a spin. Each features a clean interface so you can focus on getting your ideas onto the page, and cloud-based saving ensures you can access your latest drafts from multiple devices. JotterPad sports features such as exclusive fonts; Werdsmith offers motivational goals and your own writer profile.

5. One big happy whiteboard.

SyncSpace (Android, iOS) acts as a shareable, zoomable whiteboard that you and your cohorts can collaborate on in real time. Synchronization can be done between Android and Apple devices, which is a nice plus, and inviting others to join in on your brainstorming session is as simple as sending an email or text message. The free version is limited to three drawings but is otherwise fully featured.

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