Durham students’ top picks for productivity and organisation tools 2019

Which digital tools do students use to organise themselves and their work? Durham students let us know the tools that they use in the 2019 Digital Insights survey. We count down the top ten answers here:

Forest logo10. Forest

Forest is an app that encourages you to stay off your phone for a specified amount of time…and plants real trees if you succeed!

Mendeley logo9. Mendeley

This reference manager was popular with students, and is free to download: Mendeley.

Google drive icon8. Google Drive

Students particularly liked being able to instantly save their notes to the cloud and the free storage space that Google Drive provides.


Another option for online storage is Office 365, which is available to every undergraduate and taught post-grad for free. This includes 1TB of space on OneDrive and the ability to share files with anyone else at the University.


notability-logo7. Notability

With the ability to use free-hand writing and drawing, photos and typed text, Notability was a favourite with many students.

If you’re interested in note-taking apps, have a look at OneNote: it comes in at number 1 and is free for Durham students!


Google Docs icon6. Google Docs

Students especially mentioned Google Docs as helpful in collaborative work, from presentations to translating texts.


You can also share and co-edit documents in Office 365 without having to create a new account for everyone.


Excel icon5. Excel

Students reported that they used Microsoft Excel for coursework as well as general study purposes. It’s available for free as part of the Office 365 suite.

google calendar4. Google Calendar

Making its first appearance in the top ten is Google Calendar, which students reported using to keep track of their timetable.

Cite this for me logo3. Cite This For Me

Another frequently mentioned referencing aid was Cite This for Me, which extracts reference information from webpages and produces citations in different formats.

Word logo2. Word

Proving that the newest tools are not always the most popular, Microsoft Word was cited as useful for notetaking, writing essays and referencing. It’s also available for free as part of the Office 365 suite.

OneNote logo1. OneNote

Microsoft OneNote garnered more mentions than Word and Notability combined. Part of the Office 365 suite available to all students and staff members, it has been the most popular tool three years in a row.


Please note that this list is drawn from the student survey and is not necessarily endorsed by Durham University. When using any third-party tool, please read the Terms & Conditions carefully. Durham University is not able to provide support for third-party tools used by students or staff.