OneNote – My Favorite Organizer

Microsoft OneNote organizes my writing, recipes, and personal information in virtual notebooks.  With tabbed sections along the top, a good search function, and a page index to help me find things I’ve forgotten, it’s my favorite tool for assembling notes, developing ideas, and composing.  My writing progress is never steadily forward;  I’m always jumping around to expand or correct a section, check consistency, or remind myself of my intentions. 

In OneNote I’ve created fiction notebooks with tabs for characters, research, plot, chapters, etc., and pages under each tab.  I can drop pictures, links to other files, drawings, tables and more on a single page, move them around (like on a scrapbook page), copy them to other pages or notebooks, email, and more.  OneNote comes with a personal information notebook that can be password protected–a great place to store passwords!  Templates are available online for all kinds of tasks like wedding planning, house hunting, keeping track of clients, student notes, etc., and I think there’s an ap for iPhone.  My version is 2007, not the latest, so there are no doubt new features. 

Each time I open a notebook I’m taken to my most recent page and the line where I worked last.  I love that feature. 

Whatever is placed in OneNote saves automatically, a feature that’s good and bad.  It’s bad because if I accidently delete something, I have to select “Undo” (Control-Z) right away or it’s gone forever.  There’s no “reverting,” or going back to a previously saved version.  You need backups.

If you have Microsoft Office, you probably have OneNote in your documents folder.  You can also buy an inexpensive stand-alone copy.

Using OneNote is like being surrounded by a large desk with typed reports, books, file folders, 3 x 5 cards and post-its laid out for easy access as you work.  But unlike OneNote, the clutter on the desk is not easily accessible–you fumble through the desktop mess and spend a lot of time looking for what you need.

If you’re too young to remember working without digital information, search, and storage, lucky you.


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