Best Free PIM

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Introduction

Everybody seems to have their own concept of what a PIM is. It might help to define the scope of "Best Free PIM" at the outset to avoid confusion. I will try to stick with that scope when selecting products to include here. laugh

Best Free PIM | scope: PIMs in this category aggregate a few or all of the following functions: diary, notebook, appointments, events, tasks, address book, contact information, itinerary and messaging. 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 discussed.

See other sorts of PIMs in "Related PIM Categories" below. If what you are looking for isn't here in "Best Free PIM" you'll likely find it in one of the other categories.

In a Hurry?

Go to details...  Go straight to the Quick Selection Guide

Discussion

PIMs for tablets and smartphones are displacing PIMs for PCs. Web-apps are also replacing conventional PIM programs. There are still a few free ones left though.

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 -- if I had any) is also important. If I was still in the work force, I'd want tight coupling between contacts, tasks, events, and reminders. I'm getting what I want from a few single purpose products. I no longer use an all-in-one myself. wink

Screenshot of PimeroPimero (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]

Function menuEssentialPIM 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]

menu for new objectsWinPIM  is a product from China, and is based on a commercial product. You'd never guess it's from China from the English used in the product or website.

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.

Related Products and Links

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 use as a PIM: My needs are simple these days. I use the combination of Evernote (self synced), and ToDoList, which I sync using the incomparable Tresorit, to capture information and manage tasks. I use Gmail, and good old Windows Contacts synced via Skydirve for my contact information. Your mileage may vary. smiley

Scheduled for Evaluation

  1. Agenda At Once
  2. Chaos Free

Related Web-app PIMs

  • CloudPIM is a new online PIM with a social network dimension (which you can use or not). CloudPIM is currently in beta, and you'll probably want to wait until it has matured before fully committing to it. A good sign is that they have acquired a certificate for their secure connection (https://).
Related PIM Categories
Quick Selection Guide

Pimero Free Edition

4
 
Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
Well organized user interface. Full range of well-integrated PIM functions. Data encryption, automatic backup, and iPhone synchronization. Easy to use.
You cannot export your data from the free edition, and sync and backup disabled. Provides recurring appointments, but not repeating tasks. Imports messages from Outlook, but not the folder structure, which you need to re-create. Cannot export data.
2013R1
27 MB
32 bit but 64 bit compatible
Free for private use only
There is no portable version of this product available.
Windows XP / Vista / 7; Installs Firebird, and .Net 3.5 if required

EssentialPIM

3
 
Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
Another full-featured PIM. Does many of the same things as Outlook and can import your Outlook data and/or Outlook Express contacts as well. Small file size. A portable version is available.
Supports repeating tasks (events), but not repeating to-dos. May have trouble with multiple email accounts.
5.5.7
13.4 MB
32 bit but 64 bit compatible
Unrestricted freeware
A portable version of this product is available from the developer.
Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows Vista, Windows XP

WinPIM

3
 
Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
Full featured, attractive, intuitive and well organized. Has repeating to-dos, and allows sub-tasks. 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.
Syncing via the cloud required another (not-free) program.
12.83
7.5 MB
32 bit but 64 bit compatible
Free for private use only
A portable version of this product is available from the developer.
Editor

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PIM personal organizer planner database tasks to-do todo calendar contacts

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Comments

Regarding Pimero Free Edition
Sync and backup not functional (need to pay to play). If yo have this software running on more than one device it will be a big problem so, keep that in mind. Manually coping data folders will not work and then again, Why would you!... Pimero is inherently slow fetching emails from multiple accounts and forget multi-tasking while that is going on in the background. As a replacement for MS Outlook this is a poor candidate in my opinion and I am no MS Outlook fan.
Now the post mentions upcoming reviews on Chaos Free and Agenda at Once. I have used them both and they are great simple to use PIM's. Chaos Free should definitely be top choice for anyone looking for simple to use scheduling, tasks and contact management.
I have used Chaos Free for over a year now on my desktop and laptop with no hitch or hick-ups.
Looking forward to your insightful review on this product.

Thanks for your useful comments om2mo. Your experiences with Chaos Free and Agenda at Once encourage me to proceed with reviews.

Be very careful of losing your data with Essential PIM.I settled upon this software some years back as after extensive research and trialling it seemed the best overall option. I mainly used it for the calendar.

Just recently 4 months worth of data entries for the calendar, including for next year, suddenly disappeared and not one of the backup files would restore the data.

On contacting their technical support with specifics about the problem, including screenprints, I was amazed to find a lethargic, superior and non-helpful approach. I was informed that "Data can't just disappear" and they kept telling me to try importing from different backup files which I had already told them I had tried to no avail.

After exchanging half a dozen emails and getting increasingly frustrated with the blasé approach I was told: "Such problems as yours may appear either because of incorrect file or some synchronization problems...". Oh, so that's alright then?

I have no trust in the product any more - a fundamental necessity I think you will agree - and the technical support stinks so am back to looking for alternatives which is why I'm here again...

I installed Pimero. It looked good, till I tried to import my emails from Outlook. It will import all your messages but NOT the folders and folder structure! So if, like me, you have many folders and sub-folders you have to manually recreate them in Pimero, then manually select each folder or sub-folder for import. Rinse and repeat ad tedium till you're done.
I didn't have the half a day plus this would take so removed this time wasting program!

Thanks, that's good to know Redschuart. Thanks for your comment. Noted in the Cons.

Thanks for the great article. Am using the awesomeness that is Rainlender Lite for my To-Dos and Reminders for now, and will check out your two top picks.

There are some collaboration platforms online that are free for 1 user. They sometimes provide PIM functions.

For my private needs, I use combo of Essential PIM, ToDoList and Efficient Diary.

I have been using Pimero Free Edition for about a year now. It's a great PIM and pretty good email client. Very intuitive to use, and with most of the functionality anyone would need. If you haven't tried it yet, you're missing out.

Since this is the free version and I've been using it for personal use, I can't comment on the the paid versions or how they stack up in the business environment.

Biggest critique so far: there isn't a portable version available.

I tried most of these tools. Comparatively,MemPad is an excellent one. Free; Portable;Lower RAM usage even than Winpad;Structured index,good for simple GTD and diary.Here is the link for the offical description and download. www.horstmuc.de/wmem.htm

This program fits the Best Free Notes Organizer category best.