Many years ago I worked for a company full of engineers; a fastidious group that took copious notes.
Spiral bound notebooks where everywhere, every meeting. From engineers to product managers, everyone had a spiral bound notebook, which, when filled, became a collection of notebooks with notes that detailed everything.
Today, for many of us, the Mac is our notebook. Here’s how to make your notebook the best notebook.
Sure, it’s easy to keep track of information on our Macs, notebook model or not. We have to-do lists, folders with URLs, Word documents with outlines, maybe even a simple notebook application to, you know, take notes.
If you’re interested in the ultimate notebook for your Mac notebook then dive into Circus Ponies’ new Notebook.
I’ve used Notebook since the early 1.x days, and watched it grow from a cool notebook metaphor with outline capability, to the one Mac application that actually becomes a notebook that captures just about everything.
Everything, Ron? Pretty close. No email or spreadsheets, but nearly anything and everything else.
What’s so advantageous about Notebook is the learning curve—that time and effort measured from the first time you open Notebook, until you become the notebook guru everyone comes to because you’re so organized and with it.
At the base level, Notebook is a spiral-bound notebook; software on your Mac. It looks like a notebook, fells like a notebook, takes notes, organizes, sorts, can even be customized. Many users like the yellow legal pad look.
For beginners, the basics are there. Notebook is easy to use for outlines, easier for notes, and very flexible so you can organize information in pretty much whatever way you want. Add pages. Add tabs. Add sections. Rearrange them all.
None of the basics requires a class at your nearby night school, or an optional DVD training series from a bald headed TV professor.
Notebook is very good at helping your track your tasks and manage projects, but does so in a notebook on your Mac. Add pages as you go. Set alerts, alarms, and reminders for specific tasks, or meetings.
If you’re like me, and have used half a dozen Mac utilities to capture and store snippets of information, and wish you could store it all in one place, look closely at Notebook’s organizational features.
Drag and drop to store URLs, snippets of text, text from documents, photos, movies, audio, whatever. Notebook holds it. Create multiple notebooks to segregate information, business vs. personal, for example.
Notebook has a patented Multidex™ search function to find information you’ve stored. After all, your Mac can store more information than a huge file cabinet, so what good is it if you can’t find what you’re looking for?
Notes, an outliner, and organizing is easy enough, but what happens when you need more? Notebook provides a bunch of pre-built templates that help modify Notebook’s famed flexibility for specific job categories.
To-do items are easy. What if you need to prepare for a trial? There’s a template for that. How about doing some scholarly research papers? There’s a template for that. Project management? Ditto.
What is so enticing and beneficial about Notebook is two fold—First, the simple, elegant spiral notebook metaphor. We’re comfortable with that. It’s intuitive. It’s customizable. It works.
Second, features and flexibility. Right there behind the notebook you can so easily get into, is the wealth of features we expect from Mac software. Instant search. Custom templates. Drag and drop and store information.
There’s more. In true notebook and pencil style, Notebook 3.x allows diagramming and sketching right on your notebook pages. You can even annotate PDF documents. In other words, mark up a notebook, complete with notes, text snippets, photos, whatever, with handwritten notes or sketches.
Pages of notes can be organized, searched, viewed by date, by keywords, by project, but it all starts as a simple, easy to use notebook; the kind you used in school. If the Mac is the digital hub, then Notebook could easily be your axle.
Using Notebook is easy. At first. It’s an onscreen notebook. How hard can it be? Start slowly, go slowly, otherwise, I find Notebook can be very good at overwhelming you with so many features that reside just beneath the surface.
If you want one piece of software to help you, Notebook is it. Getting started is a snap. Adding functionality, less so. Becoming an expert takes effort and time. The rewards are high, easily worth the try, once you get beyond the initial expense and feature list.