These days it is possible to trial most computer software before you buy it. But what does ‘trial’ actually mean.

For me, trial once meant install, play around a bit and then forget. Now trial means use in anger. I’ve found in order to really try software I must put myself in a position of reliance. That is, rely on the software as if I had bought it and used it every day. By doing so I really begin to understand the capability of the software and my need for it (or not). Then I can make an accurate assessment about purchase or not.

More often than not, ‘trial’ translates to ‘buy’ as the value of the software becomes evident.

Some software comes with extras, add-ins and so forth than increase it’s power. When first trying software don’t include them even if they are free. The number of features available swamps any useful assessment. Add them only when you are familiar with and have a proven need for the base product.

Reading the manual also serves as a good generator of ideas on what the software can do for you.