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The Best Free Palm Software

Published on January 11, 2006 in Palm

This is the time of year where many people are getting Palm handhelds for the first time or upgrading to a new Palm. Thus, I felt is to be appropriate to create a “Palm Best Of” series, laying out what I feel to be the best free Palm software, the best Palm developers, and the best Palm websites. The best free Palm software is presented below, the articles on the best Palm developers and websites are to follow.

Best Free Palm Software

Adding additional functionality to your Palm, outside of the built-in applications, does not require a large outlay of money. While there are several programs on my Palm that I have gladly paid for, Agendus, SmartListToGo and ZLauncher come to mind, there are many high quality freeware and/or open-source programs available in the Palm universe. Some of these programs are as good or even better than their commercial counterparts.

The following is a list of some of the best and most popular free software for Palm handhelds. This is not in all inclusive list. This free Palm software listing has been split up into three categories: Productivity, Utilities, and Fun with several subcategories in each group. I have not included several free niche and device specific pieces of software and also have not included every piece of free software for each category. For example, there are numerous free high-quality ebook readers. Some of these are not included as I selected what I felt to be the best and most complete of the lot.


Calendars and Tasks


A5 is a replacement for the default Datebook and Tasks applications. It uses the same database as its built-in counterpart and adds a week view with an uncluttered interface. Support for repeating events and Icon Manager icons is included.

KsDatebook & KsToDo

KsDatebook and KsToDo are replacements for the default Calendar and Tasks Palm applications that use the same database as their built-in counterparts. They add additional features such as weekly view with text as well as text display in monthly view.


Today gives a one page overview of current appointments, tasks, mail, etc., along with the current date/time and owner information of the device. It is similar to the Today screen on Pocket PC and to the Agenda view found in the newer built-in Palm Calendar applications. Today is very configurable, can be skinned and will work as a mini-launcher.



Pilot-DB is a flat file database with a strong set of features and a desktop component that will run on multiple platforms. Plugins are available for Mobile-DB and JFile databases, for access to the built-in Calendar, and for external memory card access.


HandyShopper is a shopping list database application that can also be used to create any simple kind of list. For more information about Handyshopper see this site or visit the Handyshopper Yahoo Group for ideas and samples on how to make lists for almost anything.



PsMemo is a replacement for the built-in Palm MemoPad that adds several useful features.


SiEd is a text editor with features such as split screen views, editing of plain text files, and support for external keyboards.



eReader is an ebook reader that will read ebooks in both the standard PalmDoc format and in eReader format. eReader is also available in a version on the desktop for both Macintosh and Windows users.


PalmBible+ is a Bible reader program with dual version display, footnote support, highlighted bookmarks, and drag scrolling. A variety of translations are available, including foreign language translations.


PalmFicition is an ebook reader that can read PalmDoc, zTXT, Word and text files.

Palm PDF

Palm PDF is a true PDF viewer for the Palm.

Time, Calculations and Conversions


Chime is a utility that presents the time in speech, chime and vibration.


Converter is a free unit conversion tool that supports over 200 unit types in 23 different categories.


SnapCalc is a simple calculator that can be launched, like a DA or hack, with a simple stroke or button sequence.


ClockPop5 is a clock popup application that can display appointments and phone info on the ClockPop screen.


Power48 is a PalmOS based emulator for the Hewlett-Packard 48SX, 48GX and 49G series of calculators.


Watchmaker is a clock application with configurable analog and digital clocks, as well as daily and weekly alarms.



KMaps is a mobile version of Google Maps which uses Google Maps search results, directions and satellite imagery. It requires a connection to the internet to be of any use. Visit the KMaps Wiki to learn more about the software.


Metro is a guide to public transport systems with data on over 200 cities. Besides offering a map and schedule, Metro also offers information on nightlife, places of interest, tourist spots for selected cities, and lets you link contacts to specific stations. City data can also be stored on memory cards and beamed to other users. You can access the Yahoo Metro Group here.

Tide Tool

Tide Tool will compute tides and currents worldwide as well as provides some sun and moon data.



AvantGo is an offline newsreader and web browser. On each hot sync it will copy a specified web page and store it on your Palm allowing you to access web content offline.


Opera Mini is a fast, mobile browser. It requires the use of the WebSphere Palm Java environment.


Plucker is an offline web page browser and ebook reader. Use the excellent Sunrise desktop converter to convert web pages in Plucker format.




McPhling is an application and DA launcher from which you quickly select from a list of your favorite applications or switch from your current application to the previous one. (Free but developer requests donation).

DA Launcher

DA Launcher is an application that launches a Desk Accessory (or DA). Included in the download are the following DAs: acBaklit, acGraffitiRef, acRomanKbd, acNumkbd, acWordc, Phone, and SimpleClockDA

Other DAs of Note:

  • Cool DAs – Allows you easy view your palm information, execute some commands and change some perferences. (Free but developer requests donation).
  • Julian DA – Performs Julian date conversions.
  • SelectDA – Allows easy access to all DAs from a popup screen.
  • Tiny DAs – Contains four DAs: Flip T3/T5 screen, toggle Clie/T3/T5/Tapwave statusbar, rotate T3/T5/Tapwave screen, and toggle FontSmoother.


ScrBtn is a basic, fast application launcher. It will launch applications from a SD Card applications if the shortcuts has been created by another program.


Switch5 is a preference panel application which can switch immediately to the previous app, or will select an app from a list of recently launched apps.

Button Customization


ButtonsEx will customize the Home buttons and the 5Way button on your Palm.


MapButtons will remap the Voice and Camera buttons on your Palm.


SharkButton will allow for full customization of how the Palm’s buttons act.

File Managers

3X Commander

3XCommander is a file manager. The information can be presented in one panel or in split screen mode.


FileZ is a system utility and file manager application. The file manager provides access to all files on both internal and external memory cards and allows for detailed information about each file to be viewed and/or edited. The general system information provides device, battery, and HotSync information. The system preference manager allows preferences to be viewed and/or removed.

Other Utilities


BatteryGraph is a program for monitoring the battery status of a Palm.


FontHackV is font substitution tool for Palm OS5 handhelds. To manipulate Palm fonts on the desktop get Palm Font Converters. (FontHackV is free but the developer requests donation).


HSNSwitch can change the Palm hot sync name.

Key Color

Key Color changes the Tungsten’s DIA key and icon color.


ShortCut5 is a preference panel application which supports large shortcut definitions with additional support for macro shortcuts.


Speedy is a benchmark utility for the Palm.


Spell5 is a clipboard editor and an English spell checker.


WebSphere provides a Java environment for the Palm.

Palm Screenshots


HRCaptDA is a screenshot utility that will capture the main viewing area of the Palm. It requires the use of a DA launcher.


ZGrab is a full screen screenshot tool.




Aeroplayer is a full featured portable music player that will play Ogg Vorbis files stored on an expansion card. It offers features such as equalizer, screen blanking, volume and bass boost, skins, and album art. Note: If you install the MP3 plug-in, you can try it free for 14 days. If you install the Ogg Vorbis and/or Speex files, Aeroplayer is free.

The Core Pocket Media Player

The Core Pocket Media Player is an open-source audio and video player that can play many formats of video and multimedia files such as mp3, avi, ogg, mpg. etc. A high quality, free desktop tool to convert videos to play in TCPMP is PocketDivXEncoder.



Sudoku is a placement puzzle game.

Pyramid Solitaire

Pyramid Solitaire is a solitare game.

Breakout 480/320

Breakout 480/320 is a fullscreen breakout game.


Crosswords is a Scrabble clone.

Patience Revisited

Patience Revisited is a collection of solitaire games including Klondike and FreeCell.

SU: Additions

SU: Additions is a collection of sixteen Solitaire games.


Feringa is a chess game.


MicroFluxx is a clone of the LooneyLabs card game Fluxx.


PilOth is a clone of Othello.


Yahdice is a clone of Yahtzee. You can visit the Yahdice Yahoo Group here.


FreeJongg is an adaptation of Mahjongg Solitaire. The objective is to remove all the tiles from the playing field by following a simple set of matching rules.



JPGview is an image viewer for JPEG Image files stored on a media card on a VFS compatible PDA.

Icon Manager

Icon Manager is a icon creator and editor. It will create or edit icon sets for programs like HandyShopper, DateBk, and Agendus. You can visit the Icon Manager Yahoo Group here.

Free Icon Manager Icon Collections

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  1. Darryl, January 15, 2006:


    Thanks very much for making these free Palm tools/games available. I played many Niggle games on my Clie, and I had no idea that there was a newer version available (for free, that is). I don’t know if you care very much for card games, but there is a French-written game, Puissance 1000, that is a clone of Mille Borne. It’s quite entertaining and absolutely free. I don’t have the web site, but you can Google it and find it. Keep up the good work!

    Be seeing you.


  2. Leslie Franke, January 20, 2006:


    Good point about Mille Bornes. I have never heard of Puissance 1000 before but remember playing Rally 1000 by Dave Mayes before he quit development because of a threat of legal action. You can still find Rally 1000 floating around on the web.

    Note: You can download Puissance 1000 from here.

  3. Vibration Testing, February 21, 2006:

    What is the easiest way to subscribe to this blogs rss feed?

  4. Leslie Franke, February 21, 2006:

    The easiest way to subscribe to the feed is to just use first link under the feeds section on the far right hand side of the screen.

  5. JOC, March 23, 2006:

    Hi, excellent list, thanks.
    One note… the link for Pilot-DB (which looks tremendous) needs a slight tweak for it to work ;-)

    Lots of Top-class utilities though.

  6. Leslie Franke, March 26, 2006:


    Thank you. The link is fixed and yes Pilot-DB is one of the best freeware programs out there.

  7. Chris, August 11, 2006:

    Does anyone know where I can get a copy of the Preference Manager shareware utility?


  8. Pav (Ukraine), March 6, 2007:

    Dear Leslie,

    Thank you very much for your work and time on these stuff. DEEP RESPECT TO YOU!!!

  9. lesliefranke, March 8, 2007:


    I appreciate your kind comments.

  10. Pedro, December 6, 2007:

    Thanks…what a great collection. Just dowloaded them for my Palm Centro. Hope they work. Regards

  11. RM Vargo, January 21, 2008:

    I am trying to get the HP48 emulator to work but can’t get past this step: To use the converter, copy the executable file p48rc.exe to the directory where the raw ROM images reside, then bring up a command prompt and cd to that directory.
    Can you help? Having trouble w/ the command prompt & “cd” ?? Confused but still trying.


  12. davdi, February 4, 2008:

    I’ve been looking for an application that allows you to browse your Palm device from your desktop, similar to what Card Export II does. I used a free app several years ago, but can’t seem to find it. Any suggestions?

  13. Toni, April 6, 2008:

    Leslie-You are a great person! Need to find the webshpere for java, any suggestions since palm no longer supports it?


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Leslie Franke:[les-lee fran-key]; 1. Husband and proud dogowner; 2. Seventh-day Adventist; 3. Web Designer; 4. Atlanta Braves Fan; 5. Northeast Ohio Native; 6. Bottle Caps Lover; 7. Certified 'Freakonomic';