Matt's Digital Toolkit - 2023 edition

Matt's Digital Toolkit - 2023 edition
Photo by Bram Van Oost / Unsplash

When I first started publicly documenting my favorite tools list (over fifteen years ago, wow!) I was looking for what I called "Trophy-ware". It was a simple a play on words with the idea of freeware/shareware, but trying to highlight the things that were truly worthy of an award.

I tried so many apps and would even call out things that were great to keep on a handy USB drive so apps and settings weren't tied to a single machine. Oh how reliable, online services have changed that mindset!

Fast forward to today, and I still keep a list of these tools, but it's mostly so I have an easy way to share the details of the primary apps I use.


ShareX - take a screenshot with a simple hotkey, with a great palate of tools to markup the screen while I do it. Also has some great mini tools like a color picker to grab any color on any part of my desktop. - powerful enough to do nice layered images, but simple enough that I don't have to go to YouTube or web searches to remind myself how to do anything.


VS Code - super lightweight and easy to use...both on my desktop and in workspace. Extensions are the icing on the cake. My top ones are:

  • Markdown All in One - since much of my work in GitHub involves Markdown, it's nice to have some extra tools around that make life easier.
  • Power Platform Tools - makes working with multiple Environments easy. Great one-two punch with CLI as well as the environment/solution tree.
  • PowerShell - because I'm just dangerous enough to script my way through boring stuff.

Power Platform - the balance of power and simplicity hits my sweet spot. I use the toolset to build productivity tools as well as work with customers to solve their needs.

Postman - for when I want to familiarize myself with an API.

PICO-8 - so much in a little package! I love working through the intentional limitations of this "fantasy console" and game development environment.

Git - for documenting changes and managing source control.

GitHub Desktop - helpful for keeping things up to date between my machine and GitHub.


Notepad++ - because sometimes I need to look at a text file and have a few extras advanced find/replace, language context, and multiple tabs.

AutoHotKey - great for text expansion and little personal scripts that make life easier.

7Zip - the integrated Windows file explorer zip/unzip is fine in many circumstances, but 7Zip is better, and I always end up installing it.

Phone Link - using Phone Link means I can keep my phone to the side and I'm less likely to be distracted by apps, news, etc.

YubiKey - technically this is a hardware tool, but I love the added benefits of a physical option for 2FA. Today I use the 5C but if buying one today I'd take a hard look at the 5C NFC.


OBS Studio - primarily used for more polished video and production quality in online meetings. I use this for screencasting as well. At a minimum, the virtual camera is great to have.

Davinci Resolve - this software is so powerful I barely scratch the surface...but that's okay, it still does the basics and has better performance than most "lightweight" editors that lack key features for my video production needs.

Online services

Microsoft 365 E5 - sits at the center of my work life. I mostly stick to web apps, except for PowerPoint. My use of Loop components grew in 2022 and I am excited about how the capabilities here will expand.

GitHub - after finally getting more comfortable with Git workflow and repositories several years ago, GitHub has been my go-to for source control and community.

Microsoft 365 Family - love having this available--using it for picture backup, Office apps at home, Teams for secure chat (we don't use SMS), and shared OneDrive folders for family collaboration.

Xbox Game Pass Ultimate - the best value in video games, both on a dollar-value as well as a nudge to try out some really amazing indie games that I probably wouldn't have invested in otherwise.

Spotify - the things I like about Spotify are 1) the multi-device experience is pretty smooth, 2) decent enough (though not class-leading) podcast AND music that I can do both in the same app, 3) the deep music catalog.

ProtonMail - sure I have email accounts with major providers, but I also like to have a more disconnected, "privacy by default" option that has easy support for multiple custom domain names and aliases.

1Password - as a long time password manager advocate, it's easy to forget how valuable of a tool it is. My current choice is 1Password because of the solid browser extension and Android integration.