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LostInParadise's avatar

What do you think of the idea of using programs like Microsoft OneNote to create textbooks?

Asked by LostInParadise (32034points) June 23rd, 2013

If you are not familiar with OneNote, you can use it to create a hierarchical structure similar to a directory tree, except that anything that you select at any level shows text. It seems like the perfect way of organizing chapters and subchapters of a textbook.

I don’t much enjoy saying nice things about Microsoft products, but OneNote seems to me to be the best of this class of program, which is unfortunate because there is no free read-only version of OneNote. With OneNote, you could have the chapters appear on the top and, once you select a chapter, you could see the subchapters listed on the side. It would make it very easy to jump back and forth to different sections of a book. This is not something that you would likely do for a novel, but would be handy for textbooks or any other instructional text.

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6 Answers

phaedryx's avatar

I’ve never used OneNote, but how is it much different from a website or a PDF? (both of which are free for me to use)

LostInParadise's avatar

Maybe the best way to describe it is as a note taking program, which is the intended use. Think of a looseleaf with dividers. Now imagine choosing one of the dividers and automatically having that section subdivided.

elbanditoroso's avatar

I’ve used OneNote several times, but I didn’t find it as easily navigable as you are. Maybe it was that my purpose was different than yours – I found it non-intuitive to the point where I eventually abandoned it.

I guess that the real issue I have with OneNote is that I’m not sure it has a real future. Unlike most of the other Office products – Excel and Word have huge takeup and use – OneNote has a tiny set of users and no constituency.

Microsoft has a tendency to discontinue products that aren’t making a splash. (remember FrontPage?)

So I’m not sure I would build a textbook operation on something that (I feel) is not long for this world.

2davidc8's avatar

What you are thinking of doing in OneNote can also be easily done in Word, and Word is probably a more robust publishing platform. See @elbanditoroso‘s comment above.

Here’s how you do it in Word: On the left side you have the Navigation panel. Click on the “browse the headings in your document tab” in that panel. Now, in your document, you make use of the Heading 1, Heading 2, Heading 3, etc., styles. In the Navigation panel, you will see the Headings appear in outline form. That is, any text that you have in Heading 1 style will be listed there. Then under the Heading 1’s, you will see all the text that you have in Heading 2 style. So, Heading 2 is like a sub-heading to Heading 1. As soon as you define any text in Heading 2, Heading 3 will appear in the Styles section of the Home tab as a style that will be available for you to use. Now anything that you set in Heading 3 will be like a sub-heading to Heading 2, and so forth.
The neat thing about using Headings in this way is that now you can click the Heading text in the Navigation panel to jump to that place in your document. This is very handy if you have a lengthy document.

Try it!

LostInParadise's avatar

I have tried it and you make a good point, but I find OneNote more convenient. It is easier to add and remove notes than to add and remove heading levels. I also like the way OneNote puts the section groups on the top of the page and the associated sections for the selected group on the side.

anartist's avatar

Start following Laurie McCarriar’s blog ArtistGeek and she will have many leads and tips like the Evernote one here

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