shakennotstirred Show full post »
westbroek wrote:
How do you use OneNote as your main storage app? Always interested.

I've been using OneNote (ON) since the prior version, 2003 came out. I've shifted to OneNote 2007 now.  I've found ON to be very stable.  It's very quick to just dump something, by clip and paste, or drag and drop, or click on one of the ON buttons in the apps that have them, like Internet Explorer.  If you highlight a section, it will only clip that section, otherwise it does the whole page, and stores it temporarily in a Unfiled Notes section -- or you can copy or drag the info directly to a new or existing note.  It copies graphics, links, text, and automatically shows the URL address if from a browser. You can also do a graphical clip of any part of the screen, including across multiple monitors.  Links to files can be dragged from Explorer, or the whole file can be moved into ON, like with PB.

You can create any number of "Notebooks" and have any number of Folders within the Notebooks, and can drag notes between folders or Notebooks.  I use a file folder arrangement for various subjects within the various Notebooks.  Searching of all notebooks, or various filters is fast, particularly if you also use Microsoft's Desktop search engine.  It also records audio and video clips, and drawings, Tablet PC, etc.

One thing I especially like is that Notebooks can be set up to automatically sync across a network.  I usually run four computers, with seven screens, with different apps for investments, email, internet, etc.  I have OneNote on each of them, and anything I enter on one PC in OneNote in a synced Notebook is almost instantly also in the other three (or more sometimes) locations.  Which ever PC I'm working on, I can dump the info in, and it will be on the other one when I want it.  (This makes for easy copying and pasting between PCs too.)

I've begun to use Evernote to catch some things that I only want temporarily, or just don't care about thinking where they are filed (although they could go in the OneNote Unfiled folder too).  I find that Evernote is not quite as fast on the clipping as is OneNote, at least, to the web server.

I'm working on integrating PB with OneNote, and I've used PB on and off for years, but I feel that I still have a long ways to go to realize PB's full potential. Integrating a PB clip icon with OneNote and other applications would help.  I've started using a Miscellaneous Thought, linked to my Home Thought, as a dumping ground for things I don't want to take time to position with other thoughts.  But, it seems to me that eventually, I have a whole bunch of tangled thoughts to try to sort out that way.

So. with OneNote, I have more of a traditional structured "paper" file format, easily searchable, easily found by the divisions in the structure.  With PB, I have less structure, but easier to see the links, and also very fast search.

Thanks for the additional information.

I like OneNote a lot but I'm starting to spread myself too thin with too many apps having my information
yeah - I'm trying hard to minimize the number of apps I use - otherwise I spend more time managing information and less time doing.  I've found PB works well enough for a wide variety of tasks.  Might not be perfect but quite good.
It's certainly a case of "good enough"

I find that what causes me the most problems actually is the weird GUID-based file folder system. That's causing a lot of friction.

I'm playing around with test brains at the moment to experiment with pointers to the stuff that would go into the brain.

So far using saved searches (like the .fnd in XP) would work best. Saving a set of those I could recreate a "folder" tree *with* all the benefits of the regular explorer window (thumbnail view, right-click context etc.)
Just wanted to add my request about integration with Evernote.
Both Evernote & PB I use heavily. A combination of both would be a dream . At least links would help.

... Furthermore I think TheBrain is unique
regards Hannes from Bavaria
Brain Junky V6.x Pro / WebBrain / V7 Beta /
Win 7 Prof 64 & 32, MS Office 2010 & Outlook & Firefox & IE
PB, OneNote and EverNote are my most used information apps, other than Google, and I'm still wishing for a way to integrate them better.  PB and ON make links to the web easy, and to files on my PC, either copied or as shortcuts, and there's some interconnectivity between PB and ON through ON hyperlinks.  But inter-operation is still cumbersome, mostly requiring searching in each one independently when I want to find something.

I've been exploring the idea of a "Dashboard" that I've been reading about in a couple of Lifehacker websites, but I haven't quite gotten my mind around a good implementation yet.  I vaguely recall some nice dashboard apps back in the DOS days, that didn't survive the move to Windows, and some people have used MindManager in some way to do it, but not in the way we would like, with links among PB, ON and EN.

Some sort of indexing search program that could index PB, ON and EN could do it.  I have MS search indexing running, as well as an old program, Enfish Pro that is no longer supported, but they don't index PB or ON or EN as far as I can tell.

Has anyone in the Forum been using a dashboard approach with PB or anything else?

I have tried Evernote, but did not like it as much as OneNote (2010).  I mainly use OneNote for storing emails.  The nice thing about ON is that you can capture a link anywhere on the page and paste this into a PB thought.  A great & powerful combination!

I have suggested previously that PB reciprocate by allowing the capture of a link to a thought which could be pasted into Microsoft OneNote.  It is certainly simple to drag in attachment from PB to a OneNote page, however.

customized Desktop PC (Haswell i7 4770 3.4 gHz with 32 GB RAM), Windows 10 Pro 64-bit, 256 GB SSD,  and a Microsoft Surface Pro 6, Windows 10, 512 GB SSD, 16 GB ram, i5
PaddyVA wrote:
Has anyone in the Forum been using a dashboard approach with PB or anything else?

I have used a variety of combinations over the years, and like you, am trying to find a good combination of tools that will do what I want. I currently use PB and OneNote extensively, but in different situations. Although I can link quite well between them, it is not as smooth or simple as I would like.

I spent quite a lot of time last year getting OneNote, Outlook and MindManager to link back and forth easily to each other. There is a nice wee free applet called Linker for Outlook that makes it much easier to link directly from OneNote directly to specific items in the Outlook object store. And I like the way that OneNote syncs quite well with a SharePoint server.

BUT... I became sick fed up with Windows instability, updates etc (no, I'm not trying to start an OS flame war... just my personal opinion and situation). I now use a Mac with Parallels and a bunch of virtual machines. The relevance to this forum is that I find that I now more often use PB in Mac mode than on Windows. (BTW, I really appreciate that PB does not charge you double to use both versions, Mac and Windows, and that the brain formats are the same.)

So where am I at now? Well, if you want to do more seamless drag & drop between apps, easy linking etc, then running in just Windows for all the apps (PB, ON and Outlook) works best... until it crashes... which it usually does at some point in a real intense session of cross-linking. Sigh. Now I don't usually lose data because both ON and PB save quite well on the fly... but it is a pain to reboot the virtual machine when this happens... and you do have to reboot. Relaunching the programs leaves you with a persistent instability that crashes again within a few minutes.

So for more stability, I find that running PB on the Mac, and Outlook/OneNote in Windows (in a Parallels vm) works best. But then I am back to a few more steps for cross-linking. And I fully realise that this is not a very generalisable solution. Not many people will have the resources to buy/load such a wide range of programs... especially not our students, which is one group for whom I would love to find a generalisable solution to such idea/writing cross-linking.

I am glad to have found this thread as this is a recurrent theme for me in exploring educational tools. I think that a key issue here is having the ability to hyperlink to items/anchor points within an application's datastore. I, along with many, am very pleased that this is now possible within PB. This message is getting a bit long so I am going to break this idea off into a second post.
topps wrote:

I am glad to have found this thread as this is a recurrent theme for me in exploring educational tools. I think that a key issue here is having the ability to hyperlink to items/anchor points within an application's datastore. I, along with many, am very pleased that this is now possible within PB. This message is getting a bit long so I am going to break this idea off into a second post.

So, a few more points on this. I agree with other posters earlier in this thread that searchability is crucial. Windows 7 does this quite nicely. Mac Spotlight also works well. And I am delighted that PB allows for indexed searching within many attachments, as well as Thought titles etc. Because I have been using multiple applications while doing creative writing/editing/exploring, I often forget where I noted/stored something.

But what I would really like is what Paddy alluded to... a global grab-bag that I can toss elements into and that I can then work with the data elements in multiple ways. PB is brilliant for its cross-linking, free form approach - I now use this for my exploratory thinking, and grabbing stuff from the web. But when I need a more structured left-brain approach, with pre-defined views etc, then I drift back to Outlook, or sometimes OneNote.

Designing such a tool would be very difficult. There are too many different working styles to attempt a one-size-fits-all. But if there were a data standard, that was open, which allowed objects to have a very flexible metadata structure, you could then have your favorite app work with such data. The associated database would need to be non-relational (maybe more OLAP-like?) and similar in style to that used by PB (yes, I know that some grumble about the GUIDs but I don't think you can avoid them with this type of data approach).

I'm not expecting such a data standard to arise, and I don't have the expertise to start it. So at the moment, I think that PB has the best potential foundation... Harlan and the team just needs to find some ways to present the data in more pre-defined views and work more closely with apps like OneNote, Evernote, etc. We're getting there.

Am interested to hear what others have to say on this.
I've found myself reverting to EN ...

I still use EN 2.2x because I haven't found any other software that can structure automatically (!!) almost all of my daily ideas and notes.

Thanks to its ability to tag automatically any (predefined) keyword to any (predefined) category (even hierarchically, if you like) makes this application unique (for me).
You can filter your notes by clicking on the categories you are interested in, and instantly you will see only those notes that have at least one of these categories in common. BUT NOW - and here is the reason why I find EN so unique:
After filtering out the notes of these categories (this first step works just like in PB when clicking on - unfortunately only - one tag)) you will see in an extra area below a subset of categories that share - at least - one (or more) notes already filtered out. This way you can see what else could belong to this search (semi)result and you can track down very easily the notes you are looking for,since EN shows you these remaining categories (and only these). Having understood this unique (?) feature makes this tool unbeatable for anyone who needs to track down instantly certain information in a guided way that otherwise would only be available by a fulltext search (when you still don't know the results).
And: Just as in PB, in EN I restrict myself to only enter/capture one or two Ideas (never more than one paragraph) per Note and save the "rest" in OneNote (that IMO for serious tagging and structuring purposes is pretty useless). In other words: PB and EN for structuring and searching and ON for all the bulk stuff (and for my writings). And since all of them can handle GUIDs, I have created a "pretty cool" knowledge network I'm really lucky with.
It would be really, really helpful, if one day PB allowed us to narrow a "tag search" by clicking MORE than ONE tags in order to narrow a search result.
In EN activating several categories would trigger an OR-Filter whereas the additional activating of the remaining subset of cats as described above would start an AND-Search.
Yes, this is something I want very badly. I know this is the subject of more than one thread.  This request was made in 2008?  It should have been done by now. This would be a very, very substantial increase in usefulness for personal brain.
This isn't exactly the same thing, but within EN I've started manually using the "Copy Note Link" command and then pasting that in the PB thought as a URL.

I just realized I should probably be tagging each thought that I do that way, but....


Christopher Tipper
Palatine, IL
"Seeking a Magic Tool for Personal Productivity" (NYT) -- GTD

The new Twitter search feature in TB 8 beta gives me an idea:  what if this feature could be expanded to search Evernote, OneNote, and other online personal databases?  It would be a big step, at least in one direction, of integrating these repositories into TB.

Referring to Christopher's comment Sept 20 about manually using "Copy Note Link" in EN to paste in TB, yes, I do that too, and also with hyperlinks from ON; but it is a manual discrete multiple step process, so I only do it for things that are especially important to link and recall.

I am reminded today by one of my postings in LinkedIn of a project announced a year ago by David Allen and Intentional Software, to create new software to link together various data applications.  It described the problem very well, there is a video by David Allen and Eric Anderson, but other than a posting seeking employees to work on the project, there doesn't seem to be any new information or reference to it. .  So, I posted the following Tweet:

"@ec_anderson What's happening with the David Allen GTD Project? It's been a year since you announced it, and I only see your post of 5 Feb. "  I hope there will be a positive response with something concrete.

Struggling to get my mind around my own main pools of information and applications, a couple of months ago I created a Skitch diagram, "My Knowledge Network."  I invite comments and suggestions to make the network work better together.  See the diagram on this link:

I just posted my actual Evernote to TheBrain AutoHotkey script framework at

Maybe that helps to get it more convenient at the moment.
TheBrain Win7 x64 J-1.7.0_45
Very interesting, thanks.  I hadn't heard of AutoHotKey.  I remember things like it from many years ago, but thought they had gone obsolete.

I have over 17,000 Evernotes -- wonder how long it might take to copy into TB; not sure I would want them filling up my brain database in this fashion.

Will look into this further.


Newsletter Signup  Newsletter        Visit TheBrain Blog   Blog       Follow us on Twitter   Twitter       Like Us on Facebook   Facebook         Circle Us on Google+  Google         Watch Us on Youtube  YouTube       

TheBrain Mind Map & Mindmapping Software     Download TheBrain Mind Mapping Software