Tuesday, July 13, 2010

A Writer's Organizational Tool: The OneNote

Kaye Dacus turned me onto a wonderful organizational tool that is  perfect for writers.(Check her link for more pictures on how she uses this tool.) It is Microsoft Office OneNote. If you have Microsoft Office 2007, then you have OneNote. Basically, OneNote is like a Ring Binder with dividers. You can build a notebook for your current WIP and organize the pants off of it!

I am including a screen shot of my notebook section for my book, If My Heart Can Speak.

You can see in the tabs at the top center that I have set up sections in my notebook titled NOVELS. Each section is a book I am working on or have ideas for. I have my book, If My Heart Could Speak, opened up and I have selected the page CASTLES to show you. Each section can have many pages (tabs on the far right). I have set up pages for my synopsis, my main characters, my search on castles, and one on clothing. (If I was just beginning this story, I would add pages for the minor characters, plus other areas of research. But since this is a finished novel, I am not going back to do all the work of working up all the pages.)

Here are a few wonderful things OneNote can do:

  • When researching, you can send a whole page or part of a page directly to OneNote. Ctl +P and your page is sent to an unfiled note in OneNote (which you can move to any section or page).
  • You can create tables and charts directly on a page and then send it to Word or you can email it. (good for tracking characters within scenes)
  • You can send Power Point and Excel directly into OneNote (which is really handy with the cool Casting Book I've been creating).
  • While you are working in a different program or surfing the web and you want to jot down a note, you can pull up a side note by either pressing the Windows logo button + N or clicking the N(OneNote) icon button in the task bar. You may take all the notes you want and it automatically files it in the Unfiled Tab (which you can move anywhere in OneNote and label it).
  • If you have a smart phone, it can synchronize with the OneNote on your computer. 
  • You can create hyperlinks from any page, anywhere, and put it in your notebook page. You can create lists of your favorite research pages, your favorite photos, anything really.
  • You can insert any full color printout in any file type that your computer will print by selecting File, then Print, then Send to OneNote. 
  • You can attach files to any page in OneNote. Say you had a character chart in Word. You could click and drag it into your Page for your character. It then has a little icon on your page that you can double click on to see the  character chart. 
  • You can also do a word search in your Notes to find all pages that refer to main character. 
These are just a few of the excellent things this program can do. What I love about it is I can collect information and files of many different types and store them all on one page! I have part of a web page for research, pictures from my power point casting book, a link to another web page,  and my character chart icon by my pictures. Everything is at my fingertips. 

Doesn't that get you excited about getting organized in your writing? I love finding tools to help me get my thoughts together. 

What great tools do you to organize your WIPs?



Krista Phillips said...

Very cool! I have MS2007 but not OneNote... I think I got the professional version and I don't think it includes it or something. Might have to look into getting it though!

One stupid Krista question.

I thought ctl + P was the print function!?

As for writer's tools... I don't have a lot. Um, a laptop? LOL. Seriously, I keep note cards around for my random thoughts when I can't get to a computer. I have a laptop "desk" so I can write in the comfort of my rocking chair or bed (LOVE my laptop desk!)

I probably have a ton of other things, but it's too early in the morning to think, ha!

Kaye Dacus said...

I have my notebooks in One Note set up as shared notebooks so they sync between my laptop and my desktop computers (I have WiFi at home), and I'm starting to keep everything in it---especially stuff that, for the past 20 or so years, I've always kept on Post-it Notes stuck to the wall or computer monitor. That way, with as much traveling as I do now, all I have to do is sync the computers before I leave the house and I have all of my notes.

Casey said...

LOL, Krista, I don't do anything fancy either. But good to know about great technology out there. Though it makes me want to cry to think of trying to figure it out!

Sidney W. Frost said...

Thanks. I've been wanting to learn about OneNote. This helps.

Meg said...

Ooo. So awesome. I have it, and didn't even know it. So going to play with it now!


Mary Vee Storyteller said...

This sounds fantastic! I've recently nailed down other techy programs like Access, Outlook, and Excel. This would be a great "next" program to learn. Thanks for opening our eyes, Sherrinda.

Deborah M said...

Thank you so much for the info! I've already started setting mine up.
Deboah M.

Jan Marie said...

I just installed Office 2010 and am so excited to have access to OneNote - this is going to be an amazing tool in organizing material for my book(s). I would make the purchase just for the OneNote feature alone.

Sherrinda Ketchersid said...

Just got back from vacation! Hope everyone enjoys getting to know and love the One Note!

Sidney W. Frost said...

I just learned OneNote doesn't come with Office 2007 Professional. I'll make sure I get it when I upgrade to 2010.

Sherrinda Ketchersid said...

Sydney, I hadn't that it didn't come with Microsoft Professional. It definitely SHOULD though! It is a fantastic organizational tool.

Moo Monkey said...

I have OneNote, and although I use it, it hadn't occurred to me that I could use it for staying organized as a writer. Honestly, I hadn’t dilly-dallied around with it long enough to know all that it could do. Your article may have just changed that. Thanks!

Sherrinda Ketchersid said...

Rouillie, I'm so glad you found the post helpful. OneNote is such a great tool in so many ways!