Everybody seems to have their own concept of what a PIM is. It may help to define the scope of "Best Free PIM" at the outset to avoid confusion. I will stay within that scope when selecting products to include here.
Scope: PIMs reviewed here will include several or all of the following functions: Diary | notebook | appointments | events | tasks | address book | contact information | itinerary | These products have names like personal organizer, day planner, personal planner. Their purpose is to help you get things done. PIMs that fall outside that scope will not be included.
See other sorts of PIMs: If what you are looking for isn't here in this "Best Free PIM" category, something in one of the Related PIM Categories below may fit your needs.
Go straight to the Quick Selection Guide
PIMs for tablets and smartphones are displacing PIMs for PCs. Web-apps are also replacing conventional PIM programs for PCs. There are a few good PC PIMS left though.
Pimero (Free Edition) is a relatively new entry in the full-featured, free PIMs category. It is a modestly crippled version of an actively-maintained commercial application. Pimero offers a full range of PIM functions: appointments, events, reminders, tasks, contacts, email -- even a feed reader, and chat. It has an attractive, well-organized user interface.
My brief testing indicates that Pimero is an efficient program to use. Other reviewers report that it is an outstanding Outlook alternative. It will import all your messages, but not your folders and folder-structure. You'd need to rebuild that yourself. The commercial version offers very nice data export, but there is no way to export your data from the free version. You cannot create repeating tasks with the free version either, if that's important to you. [Comment on Pimero | Free Edition]
EssentialPIM is another full-featured PIM based on a commercial product. It also does many of the same things as Outlook, including importing data. You can import CSV or vCard contacts as well. The integral email client can handle POP3/SMTP or IMAP4. A portable version of EssentialPIM is available.
There is no way to schedule repeating To-Do entries with free Essential PIM, but by creating all day repeating events you can effectively create a repeating tasks. They show up at the top of the calendar day grid. [EssentialPIM compared with Outlook]
WinPIM is a product from China, and is based on a commercial product. That's a good recommendation, but Virus Total is currently (2015.09.14), reporting probable Trojan behavior for the WinPim download link [results]. Proceed at your own risk.
The best thing in my view is that WinPIM has one of the essential functions I'd look for in a free PIM -- the provision to set repeating tasks. It also provides sub-tasks as well as top-level tasks.
WinPim is a complete, attractive program. It is intuitive and well-organized. It provides the options to attach notes, photos, files and other documents to almost every function. A portable version can be derived from the installed program.
The download links are on the home page. Look for the download link Download All Editions in One File. That file installs a special version of the program that opens the first time with a choice of versions. Select the free version. There are many more options for the paid versions.
PIM Xtreme would be a good choice if you want to tinker with the program interface, and the way that tasks, events, and contacts are organized and interconnected. It also has a calendar, notes, and a "Today Panel" that gives you a nice overview. PIM Xtreme has a build-it-yourself user interface. Tasks, events, contacts, notes, etc., have their own window pane, and you size and arrange them to fit your needs.
What I want in a PIM: The option to schedule repeating tasks -- strangely missing from many PIMs -- is a key function for me. Sync between PCs and mobile devices is also important. If I was still in the work force, I'd want one product that provides contacts, tasks, events, and reminders. I no longer need that tight coupling, so I use Evernote (notes) and ToDoList (task manager). I use the incomparable Tresorit (encrypted cloud storage) to sync the latter.
Scheduled for Evaluation
- Agenda At Once (Review coming soon -- it looks good, but there is a little hicupp to resolve first.)
- Chaos Free Update: This is a fine product... It does not fit the scope of this product category though. The paid version, Time and Chaos would fit (it adds projects to the mix), and I have used it for some time in the distant past. [comparison]
Related Web-app PIMs
- InfiTrac (wasCloudPIM) is a relatively new online PIM with Web, iOS and Android apps. It also provides a social (sharing) dimension (which you can use or not). InfiTrac has become a polished Web-app. From the web site:
"InfiTrac is a complete personal information manager which lets you safely manage your agenda, contacts, calendar, lists, notes, ideas, chores, 'to-do' items, passwords, and much more. It is available on the web and as a phone/tablet app..."
- Best Free Notes Organizer (Evernote is an example)
- Best Free Reminder and To-Do Program
- Best Free Project Manager (Wieldy is another example)
Pimero Free Edition
PIM personal information organizer planner database tasks to-do todo calendar contacts