Thursday, February 10, 2011

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.


  1. I read your post and searched for this wonderful program on my computer. I found it, and I'm loving it. Thanks for the tip!