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Free Software for Student Success: Introduction

A look at a few, free software or apps that can help you achieve success as a student.

Printable PDF
and PowerPoint



Anki is a flashcard software and app. You can create cards, import sound and images, as well as text. You can set how frequently it will review older material, and how many times you need to get the answer right before it is prioritized for review less often.  You can create multiple packs for different classes.


LivriVox is a site of free, public domain (pre-1923) audiobooks. You can download the entire audiobook and listen using various file formats. Great for a literature, philosophy, political science, and other classes that use classic texts.

Project Gutenberg

Project Gutenberg is the largest free, public domain e-books site on the Internet. You can download the entire text using various file formats (epub, kindle, pdf, plain text). There are some links to audio as well, going mostly to LivriVox, but also to a few other sites.


Zotero is a free citation management software that collection citations in a variety of databases, as well as the full text if it is available in the database.  When you are ready to write your paper, Zotero links up with Microsoft Word and creates in-text citations and a reference list in one of many citation styles, such as APA, MLA, and Chicago. Take one of our workshops on this; it is academically life changing.

Dropbox, Google Drive, One Drive

Dropbox’s 2G (or Google Drive 15G including Gmail, Microsoft OneDrive’s 5G) are free cloud-storage software. More storage costs. It allows files to be accessible at any computer or device for printing. Stop e-mailing yourself things and store in the cloud.

Pfau Library-Provided Databases

The Pfau Library's databases are your key to access to free with material such as articles, books, e-books, audiobooks, videos on DVD, Blu-Ray, and streaming. We sometimes have your textbook on reserve or as an e-book.

CSUSB-Provided Software

The campus provides free software such as Adobe Creative Cloud for Students, ESET AntiVirus Software, Azure, HETS Virtual Plaza, JMP Statistical Software, Mathematica, Microsoft Office 365, Portfolium, Zoom Video Conferencing.

Subject Guide

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Lisa Bartle