Welcome to my “What’s on My Taskbar” (WOT) series. In this series, I will pick on of my favorite Windows desktop apps and tell you why I think you might find it awesome! I will have another version of this series called “What’s on My Start Screen” (WOSC). That series will be about Windows 8 Metro Style apps.

Today, I want to talk about an app I really rely on when working with multimedia (audio, video, and images). This app is a must have app if you are dealing with any kind of multimedia on your PC or mobile devices. The app, ladies and gentlemen, is called Format Factory.

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Format Factory holds true to the promise its name holds. This free app will convert audio, video, and images from and to virtually any format you will ever need or want. And It makes doing so very easy. All you do decide what format to convert to and select all the files you want to convert. The app will take care of the rest.

The advantage of this app becomes very clear when you have an OS or another app that can’t read the format of your video or audio. You can easily convert it to a format that the OS or app  recognizes. Another headache this app solves for me is when I have to email files to my colleagues. Generally, when working on projects together, I will email my colleagues audio files in MP3 format, video files in MPG or MP4, and images in PNG formats because most apps can open these files. I no longer have to waste time worrying about whether my partners can open the files I send them and vice versa.

Format Factor Multimedia Conversion

To get started, choose if you want to convert files to video, audio, or image formats. For example, you might have a Wave file or Windows Media Audio file that you want to convert to MP3 format. In this case, you would choose the Audio tab; you would then select “All to MP3”. Quick note: you are not restricted to only audio to audio. You can, in fact, convert a video to audio. So, if you wish to extract audio from a video file, this would be a great way to do it.

Now, all we do is click the “Add Files” button and select the files we want to convert. They don’t have to be all the same file types. You can have a heterogeneous mixture of files types. That is, you can have things like a mix of a video file, a wave file, and a WMA file all together and convert them all to MP3s all in one go.

There are some features on Format Factory that geeks are just going to love. You can convert CDs and DVDs to ISO files directly from this app! Yes, you heard me correctly! I was very happy to see I don’t’ have to find other programs to do this. This is a great way to convert your “”disc” based software to ISO so they stay safe and are less likely to be damaged. I converted my Microsoft Office 2010 Professional Plus disc I bought to ISO. Now, I have the office install files safe on my external hard drive. Should my original disc become damaged, I can use the ISO to reinstall Office in the future.

Disc to ISO conversion on Format Factory

There are some other neat tools like converting images to icons. This is very helpful when you are developing software or creating a favicon. Heck you can even use this for simple things like changing the icons of desktop apps to a custom one.

There is more to this app that I haven’t gone over, like merging video files and adding watermarks on videos. See the software’s documentation for more information on these and other features. So, here’s what is on my taskbar. This app is a must-have for anyone working with multimedia. It makes format conversion a snap and worrying about compatibility a thing of the past. Maybe now you will have it on your taskbar as well!

You can get the app from here: http://www.formatoz.com/

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