Review: Bring order to CRM chaos -- free -- with Chaos Free

Manage contacts, appointments, and more with this business-ready freeware.

Chaos Free is actually a good name for this freeware version of Chaos Software's Time & Chaos CRM tool since keeping busy people free from chaos is its mission. To that end, Chaos Free focuses on the basics, omitting some features and support options offered by Time & Chaos (better) and Chaos Intellect (best). Chaos Free organizes and manages your contacts, phone book, schedules, appointments, notes, and task lists. It syncs with the Cloud and connects with a wide range of e-mail clients and other apps, including Microsoft Word. Chaos Free even handles everyday tasks like printing labels and calendars. Yes, it's free, and yes, it does more than some expensive tools. Chaos Free runs in both 32-bit and 64-bit Windows XP to 8.

When we first opened Chaos Free, we chose the option to create a new database, though we could also import data. With its light blue tones, "Start" button, and efficient, well-rendered layout, Chaos Free's Classic theme will fit in with many business environments and mesh well with most productivity suites, including Office, though many other themes are available under Appearance on the Options menu. Like most tools of its type, Chaos Free attempts to pack a lot of windows and data in the available space, including a calendar, search field, Contacts, Appointments, and a subfield tabbed for Phone, Notes, Field, and Photos. Unlike many such tools, Chaos Free succeeds. Its workspace is busy but businesslike and efficient, with welcome touches like draggable frames and full, separate toolbars for subwindows, many with icons directly opening Word. It's not difficult to just start adding Contacts, creating Appointments, and so on, but many users will find the Help menu's resources a good place to start, not just because of its indexed Help file and training video but also its submenus of database tools and reset options, technical support details, and more.

As we noted, there are similar tools that do much less than Chaos Free, and not nearly as well, yet cost money. If you're looking to tame the chaos of your contacts, appointments, and other critical information, this is a good place to start.

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