OneNote is possibly one of my favorite computer programs ever. It keeps my life organized. It keeps my genealogy organized. It keeps me sane.
OneNote is a note-taking program created by Microsoft. If you have Microsoft Office, there is a pretty good chance this handy program is sitting on your hard drive. If it wasn’t included in your Office purchase or you just don’t have Office, you can download it from Amazon for $49.99 or buy the PC Key Card for $65.00.
What makes this program so awesome, you ask? Well, it’s simple really. OneNote organizes everything from the random bits of information to full thought processes when working through a problem. It can hold text, pictures, PDFs, video, audio, tables, and just about anything else you can think of. And it’s all searchable and can be synced to your phone, tablet, and the web so you can take it all with you wherever you go.
Honestly, I’m not sure how I lived life without it.
OneNote is set up just like a three ring binder – only digital. On the right hand side, you’ll see all of my “notebooks”, which are essentially binders. Along the top, you’ll see “Sections”, which are essentially tabbed dividers. To the left are pages and subpages.
When it comes to my genealogy, I like to create tabbed dividers for the surnames I’m working on. Then I can create pages and subpages with document images, research plans, lists of documents to order, etc. Here is just a short list of how I use OneNote to organize my genealogy:
- Transcribe records – I’ll often put the image of a document in a page and then transcribe.
- Create research plans
- Write out theories on difficult problems – this helps me document my thought process.
- Create lists of microfilm or documents to order
- Create timelines using tables
- Create research logs
- Store correspondence with cousins
- Analyze documents before entering them into RootsMagic (my favorite genealogy program ever!
- Write random helpful notes to myself
- Keep information about my society members
- Keep links to my favorite genealogy websites
- ….and more!
OneNote has become the place where I put nearly everything and free up my brain. It keeps it all in one searchable place and syncs to my devices so I can take it with me on the go. OneNote is easy to use and has the familiar Microsoft OneNote feel to it. If you are looking for an easy to use program to organize your genealogy, I highly recommend OneNote.