Organizing Recipes with One Note

Up until recently, I organized my recipes by pasting them into Microsoft Word files.  It was the fastest method I knew, but it had its drawbacks and I was happy to discover a better way — one that had been on my computer all along.  If you have Office 2010, chances are you have it too. It’s called One Note, a digital notebook which lets you file notes and documents in their original form (photos and all), under tabbed folders.  Obviously, it’s great for recipe collecting.  You can grab recipes from various sources, create a page underneath a tabbed category, and paste the recipe and photo right in.  Plus One Note automatically puts in the URL, so you’ll never forget the source.

I’m still kind of new to One Note, but I’m making a lot of progress with my organization goals.  If you have any tips, please  feel free to share.

For me, the easiest way to get started was with a special cookbook template which takes a second to download.  When I opened One Note using the template, I found a file that looked something like this with a few tabs and sample recipes.

One Note

From that point, I started adding tabs for recipe categories, then creating pages under each tab as represented in this screenshot.  Sorry it’s so tiny, but  I was trying to fit in the whole layout so you could see the tabs  going across the top.  On the far left is the list of recipe pages created for that category/tab.

Here’s another view showing the “Desserts” tab.

One Note Sample

For me, this is an organizing tool, but One Note is also a sharing tool. You can read more about it here  near the part that says “Mom, the Chicken Marsala is on it’s Way!”  And it’s probably useful for other types of information gathering as well.

But as mentioned, I am just now really latching onto this  and am interested in hearing from anyone else who’s using One Note for recipe organizing.  If you have any tips, please feel free to add them.  Thanks!

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  1. ladywild says

    I used one note for a while, then switched to google docs. Its free and works kinda like your word docs did, only they are online and easily searchable. I did that so I’d have my recipes easily accessible when I was on the road. If that’s something you are concerned with, make sure you sync your one note with the microsoft cloud. I wish I could give you easy steps to do this, but I don’t remember how I did it. I’m sure there are instructions out there. This way your one note notebooks are stored out on the web and you can open them from any machine that has one note installed.

  2. Barbara says

    I save my recipes as word docs in Dropbox. I now carry my complete collection on my iDevices and can share easily by sending links through email.

  3. Jen says

    I just started using Springpad and I love it. I can access it from any computer and they have specific recipe templates that are great and the way it is organized makes sense to me. I actually have a lot of your recipes there.:-)

  4. says

    Ladywild, thanks for the tip! My husband is a fan of Google Docs. I used it for a while, but kept forgetting about it! I’ll have to compare the two.

    Barbara and Jen, those are two others I haven’t heard of.

  5. says

    I used OneNote for a while and it just didn’t work for me – but that was a few years ago, so I’m sure the interface has improved a ton. I was using for ages, but recently I just started pinning everything to Pinterest.

  6. Gale says

    Have been using OneNote for 2 years now to organize recipes. Love the program. Also have another called Living Cookbook, that I play with now and again. The last one is more for personalized recipes. For simply saving interesting recipes I run across, OneNote is my go to. Thanks for your posts!

  7. says

    Gale, that’s a neat way to do it. I’m assuming Living Cookbook lets you build personalized cookbooks? I may try your method.

    Jessica, Pinterest is great! I never thought of it as a recipe organizing tool, but I do tend to stick things that look really good or that I know I must make soon. I’m not sure how One Note has changed over the years because I’ve only used 2010, but it’s pretty simple and quick.

  8. says

    omg… she says, head hanging low
    “I’m such a dinosaur!”
    It never occurred to me to store my recipes digitally in any format other than word documents. Thanks for opening my eyes yet again.

  9. says

    omg… she says, head hanging low
    “I’m such a dinosaur!”
    It never occurred to me to store my recipes digitally in any format other than word documents. Thanks for opening my eyes yet again.

  10. Louise says

    Anna, How do you correlate your digital recipes with your cookbooks? In particular, similar but different recipes. There’s probably a better way, but I started this literally 20 years ago. I have an actual index book to keep track of things I use in cookbooks or I’d never find them again. But now there is sometimes a printed recipe that I gotten from the web in the cookbook too. Plus notes of course. I’ve had a home computer since 1982, but they haven’t always made software for foodies and I never felt like creating a database to handle it.

  11. Mousewrites says

    One really great thing about OneNote is that if you take a picture you can stick it in there, right click on it, and EXTRACT THE TEXT! This is what I do when I’m somewhere reading a magazine (such as the doctor’s office) and find a recipe I want. Instead of retyping it, I pop it into one note, have the orginal picture, and then then pull the text out. It’s like magic.

    OneNote is also really good for making check lists. If you have a smart phone, you can download the free app and be able to see things on both. I make shopping lists at work or home in one note, and can pull them up while I’m at the store.

    … I’m a little enamored of OneNote at the moment.

  12. says

    Mousewrites, thanks for that handy tip. I have been known to take a picture of a recipe in a doctor’s office, so this bit of information will come in handy.

    Louise, the system for doing that is in my head. It doesn’t work well. If you are seriously interested in correlating your cookbook recipes with what you’ve digitized, you might be interested in Eat Your Books. I haven’t used it, but some people I know say it works.

    Sue, I’d be curious to know if you have even have One Note. Do you have Office 2010?

  13. Deanna Drake says

    I use Evernote, i love it, i just copy and paste recipe i find on the web and it keeps a record of the site it came from and u can organize with tags.

  14. MB says

    I use YummySoup for my MAC, iPad and iPhone and LOVE IT!! I can create shopping lists right from the recipes, make menus for the entire week and even share them easily. I wouldn’t use anything else.

  15. says

    I got a new laptop in December and yes I have One Note!! I can do this! I’m getting all techy with a smart phone too and should be able to do what Mousewrites mentioned. It’s sort of like giving someone driving a model T a race car. 😉
    One of my friends mentioned Evernote but I haven’t taken the time to look into it.

  16. Louise says

    Anna, I spent a couple of hours looking at eatyourbooks. They’ve indexed recipes in popular books, magazines (perhaps since 2009), and some blogs. Unfortunately it’s not an organizational solution for me. 🙁 It’s a digital index into cookbooks so that you don’t need to look through them yourself. They’ve indexed quite a bit, but less than half of the books I’ve used in just the last two weeks are included in their index. They don’t seem too strong on ethnic cookbooks. eatyourbooks also doesn’t seem to provide a way to associate recipes which is really what I’m looking for. I do a lot of “mix and match” when I cook, like a pie crust from here, the cherry filling from there, and the crumbs from somewhere else and consequently keep notes in books. For now, I’ll continue to use my own index to favorite recipes in my 600+ books as it actually works pretty well. At this point, it would probably also take too much of my time to try to totally convert to another system.

  17. Michelle P. says

    I’m using Pinterest to pin all the recipes I want to try now. I used to print every recipe I thought looked good and then have been organizing them in a bunch of huge binders. Now with Pinterest, I’m not having to print until I actually am ready to shop for/make a recipe. I love it.
    Are you on Pinterest? If you are, you should put their “follow me” button on your blog. I didn’t see one anyway. I love following my favorite food bloggers on there.

  18. Megan says

    I use Springpad and absolutely love it. Usually just a click or two to import a recipe from a webpage, I can add tags, pictures, keep track of recipes I’ve tried already. It’s easy to send the recipe (and any notes that I’ve added) to someone over email. I can pull up the app on my Android phone while at the grocery store, so if there’s a good deal on broccoli or lemons I can search my tags for recipes including those things.

  19. Melinda says

    I never thought to take a picture of a recipe in a magazine. I always wish for a piece paper to write them down. Even though I have my cell phone with me. .Now I know what to do in the future.

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