12 Portable Apps for Web Designers

12 Portable Apps for Web Designers

A web designer must always have his or her tools handy. Of course, that is most often the case when you’re working from home or from an office where you have your own work computer.

But if you are constantly on the move or are doing a lot of demonstrations to your customers at their place of business, you’ll need to carry your programs with you.

Scenarios That Benefit the Use of Portable Apps

Most designers just carry their laptop with them. But that is not always possible, and many times, the client wants you to show them how the site or application will look on their own computer, projector and other equipment.

In addition, there are those unfortunate times when your computer crashes and breaks with all the data on it and no ways to retrieve it.

In those cases, a good backup (or even primary) solution is to carry your own toolset on a portable flash/USB drive.

The Feasibility of Using Portable Apps

There are a lot of great applications for web designers that will work without needing any installation, and they make an excellent choice for a portable USB drive.

With today’s USB stick sizes and prices, you can easily have all your work with you in your pocket at all times, and be able to work from any computer without needing anything else.

Here are some of the best portable apps for web designers that are a must-have.

1. KompoZer Portable

KompoZer Portable

KompoZer Portable (previously known as Nvu Portable) is an amazing HTML editor that rivals the functionality of Dreamweaver. Sure, it doesn’t look as good, but it’s much better than Notepad if you want any advanced features and easy code editing functionalities.

2. Firefox Portable Edition

Firefox Portable Edition

Firefox, a popular web browser amongst web designers with its impressive collection of add-ons, has a portable version that you can carry around your USB drive. It’s just like the regular version, but doesn’t need to be installed on your operating system.

3. XAMPP Portable

XAMPP Portable

XAMPP is a great local server (learn all about it in this tutorial), and the portable version does its job amazingly well. It works fine no matter what computer you insert your flash drive in, and you can easily see exactly how your site will look when loaded from a server in a browser. You can be anywhere without an internet connection and still have a working site. Got a web app you need to demo somewhere in the middle of the Mojave Desert? Have XAMPP Portable and any computer handy and you’re good to go.

4. GIMP Portable

GIMP Portable

GIMP is a free alternative to Photoshop, and as you could’ve guessed from the title of this article, it also has a portable version. If you’re used to Photoshop, you might find it difficult to adjust to GIMP’s interface at first, but if you need a portable app that is as powerful as Photoshop, there is no other better alternative.

5. AMP Font Viewer

AMP Font Viewer

This is a simple yet powerful portable font manager that lets you view all the fonts that are installed on a computer. It also allows you to quickly install and uninstall the fonts you need.

6. 7-Zip Portable

7-Zip Portable

7-Zip is a popular open source file archiver that handles many types of formats, including ZIP, RAR, TAR, GZ, and more. As web workers, we always have to deal with various types of archives and — just like a Forrest Gump’s box of chocolates — you never know what you’re gonna get. 7-Zip Portable allows you to be flexible and prepared for opening and creating archives.

7. PhotoFiltre


PhotoFiltre is a simple image-retouching tool and it allows you to do basic image editing on any digital image format. This portable app is a good companion to GIMP as it’s easier to perform quick edits. Use it over GIMP if you just need to perform quick and easy retouching, such as cropping and resizing.

8. Inkscape Portable

Inkscape Portable

Inkscape is an open source vector graphics editor that rivals Adobe Illustrator and looks and acts like Corel Draw (if you ever used Corel Draw, you’ll know what I mean when you fire up Inkscape). It is standards-compliant and its portable version is the most powerful around.

9. AbiWord


Most people, including your web design clients, probably use Microsoft Word docs for rich text files: It’s the accepted standard. But it’s quite hard to find a good portable .doc file editor. If you need a lightweight and easy alternative to OpenOffice Portable, AbiWord is the way to go.

10. PicPick Tools

PicPick Tools

This is an all-in-one tools package for web developers, designers and programmers. There are a lot of tools included in PicPick Tools, from screenshot capturing to picture editing.

11. MobaPhoto


MobaPhoto is a free and open source image manager that doesn’t require an installation (otherwise, Google’s web-based Picasa would be a great choice). It doesn’t look very nice, but it gets the job done. It’s very useful when you have tons of photos to manage and keep track of.

12. ToDoList


If you like/need to keep track of your time, you should definitely have this application in your pocket. ToDoList is a simple task and project management app that will allow you to get your work done faster and more effectively.

Best Portable Apps Around for Web Designers?

Of course, the above apps are by far not the only ones, but they’re certainly the best. They have been used by web designers and have proven to be very useful in their line of work. You should definitely try getting and setting up a USB/flash drive with all these apps installed and carry them around your keychain, pocket, backpack, suitcase, etc.

If you have other portable apps that you use that isn’t on the list above, please share it with us in the comments.

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About the Author

Raja Hostwisely maintains the community-powered web hosting reviews site, He regularly publishes interesting articles on web hosting, web development and the latest hosting coupons. You can follow his updates via Twitter: his handle is @HostWisely.

This was published on Jun 2, 2010


Kenneth S Jun 02 2010

I mostly use the apps at They offer a kind of manager which resembles the start menu of windows.
You can easily add programs by dropping their folder in the applications folder.

Very handy tool which made my life a lot easier.

Vectorbunker Jun 02 2010

Thanks For the Source, I Was Found The XAMPP now :P

Thanks for this very usefull collection of portable apps. I would add the FilleZilla portable version to the list.

Jim Gaudet Jun 02 2010

I am just now getting into using portable apps, except I have noticed some programs run a little slow via USB..

Andris Jun 02 2010

These are pretty handy tools, that you’ve listed here. I hope they are available for Mac and Windows.

notepad++ is one of the best source code editors on win.
…and it is available as a .zip file wich is portable. :)

Kris_fr Jun 02 2010

nice, but this list we might add: FileZilla, WinMerge, Notepad++, OikoCSSeditor and Toucan
A few months ago I compiled a pack of portable applications for webmasters –

Gjergji Kokushta Jun 02 2010

At you may find many applications converted to portable and I would mention here PSPAD – text/code editor with FTP built-in, so you can edit files directly to the server.

Portable PSPAD link:

Rochelle Dancel Jun 02 2010

Wow, and I thought my netbook was as portable as I was going to get! I’ve never considered carrying apps around on a USB drive but I might use this list to kickstart my efforts. Thanks for another useful post :)

tebee Jun 02 2010

I have tons of apps I use including most of these on your list. I also use:

“Attribute Magic” (change file attributes including dates)
“Dia Portable” (flowcharting)
“HeidiSQL” (working with MySQL databases)
“IcoFX” (icon editor)
“InkScape” (SVG vector graphics editr)
“PhraseExpress” (keyboard macros etc)
“ReNamer” (rename files like you wouldn’t believe!)
“Server2Go” (like WAMP but faster?)
“SQLLite Database Browser” (name says it all)
“Task Coach” (manage projects, tasks, etc)

I’ve made a portable app installer for “Kompozer 0.83b” and if anyone wants it email me at tim at netconx dot net. I am working with Kaze to put it on his website but he’s never “in”!

wolfgang Jun 02 2010

Of course I use our own browser based web page editor ;-)
You will just need a computer with internet access.

Rilwis Jun 02 2010

XAMPP has its own portable version in their homepage, we can use it instead of PortableApps package.

I like the picpick the most, and using it for screen capturing. It’s awesome.

Samuel Couto Jun 02 2010

The ToDoList app come an handy sometimes, but the interface is so crappy!
Anyone knows any application/software for the same purpose with a better/atractive interface for windows?
there is one amazing for Mac, Things.

Anwar Jun 02 2010

Wow, this is a great list. I’ve used FireFox and Filezilla portable. I noticed no ftp programs.
I’ve wanted to find a portable HTML editor. I wonder if it has some kind of ftp capability. I’ll be using most of these for sure.

Nice list

linhland Jun 02 2010

some of my tools are;
– notepad++
– xnview = image maanger, take screenshot, resize, convert…
– ColorPicker
– gyazo = Screen-Grabbing (usefull when u need support)
– WinMerge

Neil Fahey Jun 02 2010

The only time I’ve ever needed portable app’s was during my 3 month trip around South & Central America last year… Unfortunately due to the speed of the computers in 99% of the internet cafe’s and hostels, it was an epic fail. Brilliant idea though if you have a different need. The presentation scenario mentioned in the article is the perfect example.

may phat dien Jun 03 2010

Thanks For the Source, I Was Found The XAMPP now

all i need are xampp and notepad++

i even use notepad++ to write a document, not MS words…lol

Jordan Walker Jun 03 2010

Portable applications are a great way to work on other computers quickly and not worry about software.

Gary Trotcko Jun 03 2010

I like this list, almost all applications are free and open source, but not all PC running Windows and not all users love it :-) The best solution for me is to have the desired OS. I have a bootable flash drive with Ubuntu, on this drive installed Vim + plugins, LAMPP, Gimp, Inkscape, Dia, Firefox + plugins.

Jesse Jun 03 2010

I didn’t realize there was a portable version of XAMPP. Great for bringing the DEV environment with you in your pocket. Thanks!

Great list thanks!

Not sure about the to do list application though. I think in this case a web based app is better.

RememberTheMilk and are the market leaders I think.

Foroffline access there is always their respective mobile versions.

S!ick Jun 04 2010

I have been a HUGE fan of portable apps for a very long time.

Notepad++ can be great for a lot of things: note-taking, organizing, brainstorming, “multitasking”, coordinating…

Nikos Jun 05 2010

I’m amazed by the growth of the app and consistency of the guy behind ToDoList that you mentioned.

Great, great application. I’ve been using it for some years now and it has every feature you can imagine (or not)… you can even load a Gantt chart plugin to schedule your todos… definitely worth a download.

CCBTools Jun 07 2010

I love portable apps. I travel a lot and it is a definite plus to have everything on a jump drive!

highblood Jun 08 2010

Great post! Notepad++ for hard coding is a must!

AthensBird Jun 09 2010

I use portable GVIM.

LuciferX Jun 14 2010

For the top portable applications, a single address:

Andrei Jun 30 2010

About 50% program , I’m using every day. Thanks for new apps

Estele Bissette Jul 28 2011

Nice stuff.This is my first time i visit here. I found so many interesting in your blog especially its discussion.Keep your blog updating,good luck…

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