Cool web-based file conversion tool

As you and your students get involved in multi-media reporting you are going to find that there are times when you need to make file format conversions. Take for instance audio files that are recorded in Windows Media Format, but need to be converted to mp3 for something like SoundSlides or a Quicktime (.mov) file to Flash (.flv) or convert the audio of a Flash movie to mp3.

In the past we’ve recommended applications such as Switch and even iTunes to help with audio files or Quicktime Pro to convert video formats or something like PhotoShop to convert image formats or Adobe Acrobat to convert PDF to Word format. Of course, with some of the programs like Switch you must also download additional plug-ins. While those are good tools, I just found a more versatile web-based tool you might want to bookmark: www.zamzar.com.

The beauty of Zamzar is that it converts all kinds of files, not just audio.

File formats that can be converted are divided into five five distinct categories – Document, Image, Music, Video and Other Formats. I didn’t count how many file formats you can convert to, but the list is long. See it at http://www.zamzar.com/conversionTypes.php.

For fun I converted a Microsoft Word file to an mp3. Okay, the computer voice was a little hokey, but it worked, it cost nothing and it only took a few minutes from start to finish.

Conversion is a four-step process: Choose the file to convert, choose the format you want it converted to, give the e-mail address you want the link to the converted file to be mailed to, and click the “Convert button.” Within a few minutes you’ll receive an e-mail with a link to the converted file that you can download. Because it is web based, it really does not matter whether you are using Mac or PC.

The tool is free, but has limits on file size and numbers of files that can be converted in one session. There are for-pay plans from $7 per month (cancel any time) to $49 per month (cancel any time) that allow you to store and manage your converted files and upload larger files (1 GB upper limit).

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