I’ve mentioned before about how I like to have a physical copy of my month ahead when it comes to blogging. I love writing down what posts I want to have published on each day of the month, and then being able to actually grab a pen and cross.it.off. I love that. However, I find it easier to write down blog post ideas on the computer. This year I’ve been really getting into using OneNote by Microsoft as a way to write down all my blog ideas, easily adding to them, and being able to access it everywhere I go. I love it, and I’m annoyed I didn’t think about using for blogging things earlier in my blogging life.
Today I thought I’d share with you 8 reasons OneNote might just be the thing you’ve been looking for. Please note, I’m talking mostly about the online version of OneNote, because I use instead of downloading it to my computer, which is too full and old to handle it. If you want to download it, click here, or if you’re a Mac user, click here.
1. Easy layout and look
OneNote has a great layout, and general look. It’s much like a Word document, in that it has File, Home, Insert, View and Print options along the top, which makes for very easy finding of elements. OneNote is designed so with three levels. First you have your Notebooks (e.g.: Blog Ideas), within that you have Sections (e.g.: Blogging Tips, DIY, Book Reviews etc), and then within that you have your Pages (e.g.: Using OneNote for Blog Ideas). It’s such a brilliant way to have it all set out, and all your levels are on the left of your screen so you can easily swap between them. It also automatically Saves whatever you’re working on, so you don’t need to panic if you accidentally exit the screen. Phew!
It really is just like a notebook. You can write on different ‘pages’, change pen colour (great if you have an idea that you’re not sure about or something you’ve added later but want to differentiate between the ‘later’ ideas and the original ones. More on that soon). It’s also like a notebook in that you can really take it everywhere with you. See next point.
Okay, so when I say ‘portable’ I really mean that because there’s an online option, it really is with you wherever you go. OneNote can be downloaded to your computer, and you can use it without an internet connection. Then there’s OneNote Online, which means you don’t have to have it installed on your computer, but can access it with any internet connection. All your Notebooks, Sections and Pages will all be there waiting for you. If you’re working with your OneNote on your internet-free computer, or on your phone app, you do need an internet connection to then sync anything you’ve worked on online, but with the internet nearly literally being everywhere these days, that’s not a major set back.
4. Insert pictures and links
As well as being a great place to simple type your hearts out, you can insert images, tables and links, and turn your ideas into a more visual collection. If you see a great blog post, or webpage somewhere, you can save it away under either a Notebook called ‘Great Articles’, have Sections within that Notebook for your topics, ‘Recipes’, ‘DIY’ etc, and then have pages within the Sections (e.g.: Desserts, Chicken etc), and there you can paste in the links, or the images, so you have a place to come back to. This is also great because if you’re typing up some ideas for posts, and you actually need to link back to other people’s blogs or find out how to do something, you can paste in the links and go straight to those places from OneNote. Easy.
We interrupt this programme…
Here’s an example page of some of the things you can do. As you can see, I’ve got 5 different text types here: large font, normal font (‘blog this’), linked text (‘pinterest.com’), written text (literally…’text’), and then coloured text. I’ve also drawn an arrow, given ‘Blog this’ special indicators (the ! and the star), and inserted an image.
As you were…
You can share your Notebooks! This is great if you have a collaborative post or series on your blog, and you like to brainstorm with the other people. By sharing the Notebook, and making it editable, you can type in your ideas, they can make notes on them (if everyone was a different colour, it would make note making that much easier too!), add comments here and there, or insert links to resources that you might use. Sharing is also great even if you want to run your ideas past someone. You can share your Notebooks in a way that doesn’t allow for them to be edited, so they can simply read what you’re thinking for a project, or post, or even things like novel writing (especially helpful for months like November, and NaNoWriMo!).
6. Store drafts
At the moment I use Blogger to blog, but I’ve also worked with WordPress for work things. When you draft a post, it will sit along side your other posts if you have selected ‘All’, and while you can just look at your ‘Drafts’, I find that sometimes they get in the way. OneNote is a great place writing and then storing drafts. That way they are quick and easy to get a hold of, but they aren’t in the way on your blog post list. This may not be an issue for you at all, but if it’s something that you get a little annoyed, perhaps that’s another tick in the Pros column for OneNote?
7. Funky features
As well as using OneNote for all these things, it has some pretty nifty features. For example, you can add little icons next to sections of text that will remind you later to do thing, or to check something out. There are so many options, too, like ‘Website to visit’, ‘Source for article’, ‘Remember to blog’, and also things like ‘Question’, ‘Contact’ and ‘Important’. You can even doodle on it! What?! I know! Crazy cool! See above image.
8. Email things
If you use Microsoft Outlook on your computer, there’s a button you can hit when you’re viewing an email, that sends it straight to the OneNote page of your choice. This is super handy. It means you don’t have to copy and paste things, or think to hard about what you’re dong with it. It does it itself!
Perhaps this has persuaded you to have a look at OneNote. Perhaps it hasn’t. But I think OneNote is a great way to keep everything blog-related together. Since I started used it, I’ve been using it every day for jotting down things that I suddenly think of, especially when I’m out and about. I do keep a notebook with me as well, in case my phone goes flat. But it’s super handy!
If you’re more into taking clippings of articles or things you find online, have a look at Evernote a well. While I don’t use Evernote, I’ve heard that it’s better for the visual side of things.