Do you ever forget where you wrote or saved something? Like to do research and need a way to keep track of it all? Wish you were more organized? Don’t keep beating yourself up – you’re probably gifted and need a better method to track it all. The free Open Source application Tomboy Notes which is now available for Unix, Windows and Mac is an elegantly simple solution.
Ubuntu and other Linux based operating systems come with an accessory called Tomboy Notes that is far more powerful and still easier to use than Notepad or Wordpad. Look for the icon that looks like a yellow pad and pencil at the top or bottom of your desktop or click on Applications, Accessories, Tomboy Notes. [NOTE: Available for free download for Windows too.]
Tomboy has better formatting than Notepad or Wordpad and automatically organizes your work for you. There is a list of the primary features below. There is almost no learning curve required. Look for the Start Here note for easy instructions.
It has an interesting differences from any other program I have ever used. You don’t have to save anything; it seems to be saved the instant you type or paste it into a note. Just close a note and the information stays there.
Click on Search from within any note to see all your information or search all notes by keyword. Clicking on the word “note” in the search view puts all your notes in alphabetical order. Clicking again puts them in the order you created them. Clicking on “Last Changed” to sort newest to oldest or oldest to newest.
Here is an example of an everyday task to help you understand how powerful this little tool is:
Click on the icon, select “create new note” and give it a name. For this example I will change the TITLE to “Shopping”. I move the cursor to the underlined text that defaults to New Note # and type in the word Shopping. Where it says “Describe your new note here.” I add the items I plan to buy soon.
Now create another note called To Do List. When I add the word “shopping” Tomboy automatically links your Shopping note to your To Do List note. Anything new added to your To Do List that has an existing note of exactly the same name will automatically be linked. Tomboy will even update the links if you change the name of a note.
If you want to create a new note from within your existing note, simply highlight the words you want to use as the title, right click and select “Link to New Note” (or use the keyword shortcut Ctrl + L). The new note will open. To get back to the original note, click on the name on the bottom of your screen. All the notes you are currently using will stay open until you close them.
Using Tomboy Notebooks to get organized:
If you have a lot of similar notes you can put them in a Notebook. Each note will indicate the Notebook it is in at the top. Click on the word Notebook to add that note to an already created Notebook.
- Create a New Notebook: Click on Search, File, Notebooks, New Notebook and give it a name.
- Add a note to a notebook: From within the note click the Notebook Icon and select the Notebook.
- Organize your notes into Notebooks: Click on Search from within any note. Your existing notebooks are listed in the left column; notes are in the right column. Drag and drop the notes into the appropriate notebooks. Use the process above to add more notebooks as needed.
To continue with our example, you could create a Shopping Notebook and store multiple shopping lists in it. You could create one for the grocery store, and add others by the name or type of stores you frequent (hardware, drugstore, feed store, etc.)
NOTE: You must create notebooks before you can add notes to them. You currently can not create a notebook from within a note. (If this changes please leave me a comment and I will update this post. Thank you.)
Later when you don’t remember what you did with your shopping list or what you called it just open up Tomboy and search for any word you know is on the note you’ve temporarily misplaced to quickly and easily find it.
Main features of Tomboy Notes:
- Searchable by keyword(s)
- Instant hyperlinks – copy/paste or drag/drop Web site links you want to visit again and click to get back
- Clickable email links – click to
- Automatically provides links between notes when you type in a word that has a Note with that name
- Inline spell checking
- Highlighting – improves readability, makes it easy to find
- Undo/Redo – easily correct mistakes and restore anything you accidentally erased
- Bulleted lists
- Fonts – change the size and look of your text right in Tomboy
- Organize your notes into Notebooks
ADDITIONAL RESOURCES ABOUT TOMBOY:
- About Tomboy Notes
- Staying Organized Using Tomboy Notes
- Installing Tomboy Notes on Windows
- Tomboy on Windows
- What Do You Think of Tomboy Notes
- More Reviews of Tomboy Notes
- Wish List and Cool Ideas for Using Tomboy Notes – Check out Application Grouping
ADDITIONAL RESOURCES ON GETTING ORGANIZED:
- Five Simple Reasons You Should Use Plain Text to Store Your Data
If you know of additional resources not listed above, please add a comment with links for this post. We will periodically link them to the additional resources section above.