Useful tools and weblinks for decoding

Continuing with our tutorial series, let us take a look at some tools of the trade.
If you are jumping in midway, take a look at the previous tutorials below.


As each decoder works through the vastness of different types of codes that we come across, he or she tends to use some links very frequently and some only for special cases.
Many times we get the questions of “What tool did you use for that?” or “How did you see how to follow those steps?”

In this post we hope to accumulate the big variety of online and offline resources that we use.

Useful Online Tools

Google Yupe, I am serious. 🙂
Google will probably be the 2nd or 3rd most used tool you will use with decoding. With all the other tools you will find passcodes or the process to decode them, but with Google you will find your indexes, references, links between keyword hint and the keyword, etc.
Multi-DEC This little gem of a site is used by many decoders to quick and easily analyse, manipulate or convert the various codes that we come across. It includes tools as Base conversion, ROT, Atbash, Skip, Rectangles, etc.
Rumkin Rumkin is another great tool for quick and simple decoding. Its long list of Ciphers is easily used and the Substitution section has helped many a decoder to solve a puzzle.
Cryptii I personally use Cryptii for easy manipulation of Morse or Baudot codes since it does everything on the fly and works wonders
dCode Tools This site contains a vast amount of encoding/decoding tools and information.
Geocaching Toolbox A vast collection of ciphers, manipulators and indexes used by Geocaching
Graphemica Unicode lookup website. Here you can search for any Unicode character, or list of characters and find their relevant values.
Very helpful when dealing with codes non Latin characters.
E.g vs vs , they all seem like normal -, but only the first one is. Click each one to see their Unicode entry
Pixlr A very powerful online image manipulator. Can load images direct from a URL or from your computer
Metapicz A good online Image EXIF Metadata extractor.
Note that this tool does not extract all the codes when using the URL function. Recommended is to download the image and then drop it onto the website.
Jeffrey Friedl’s Exif Viewer Another good online Image EXIF Metadata extractor.
Note that this tool does not always extract all the codes metadata and can potentially truncate or mess up the output.
ImgOps A good collection of links to Image Tools. Everything from hosting, manipulation to info extraction.
YouTubes Annotations Data This URL lets you see what annotations are inside a video. Very useful for the Ingress Reports.
To use the tool, just add the YouTube Video ID at the end of the URL
Base64 Decoder to file With this utility you can convert a Base64 string into its corresponding binary file. Has been used before to represent PNG/JPG/MP3 files
JDEJong’s Bitwise calculator A very small tool to help with bitwise calculations. It only handles small sections at a time, so a bit time consuming to use for codes, but still helpful.

Code Tables

Glyphtionary A list of all known Glyphs and their different names
Semaphore Flags The Wikipedia article has a good section for both the “Modern” and “Japanese” version of the Semaphore flag.
GeoCachingToolbox Code Tables This little gem of a site is used by many decoders to quick and easily analyse, manipulate or convert the various codes that we come across. It includes tools as Base conversion, ROT, Atbash, Skip, Rectangles, etc.
Red Luth’s Alphabets list A good collection of Alphabets, containing some that are not in the GeoCachingToolbox. You might want to change the background though 😀

Colours

SpyColor An informative site about colours, easily script-able to gather information quickly. Takes RGB values after the initial URL for fast lookups, e.g. www.spycolor.com/000000
Encycolorpedia As with SpyColor, this is another colours site. Can be used exactly as SpyColor.

Offline Tools

ExifTool by Phil Harvey This simple, single executable is quick to use and extracts most, if not all exif metadata.
Simply drop the relevant image onto the executable and it will generate a textfile for you with all the metadata inside.
ImageMagick’s Identify Another neat little application that extracts the metadata from an image.
To obtain the metadata , you will need to include the “-verbose” parameter.
Paint.Net Paint.Net, like Gimp is a powerful image editor. Not as powerful as Photoshop, but you can do everything needed for finding passcodes in images
(Windows only)
Gimp Gimp is a very powerful image editor with which you can do way more than you should need to for finding passcodes in images 😀
(GNU/Linux, Mac OS X, Windows)

Have you found an online tool that is very helpful and not listed here? Leave us a comment and we’ll see that we can add it to the list.