OneNote as My GM Binder

OneNoteI mentioned back in December that I was moving to OneNote as my tool of choice for my gaming material and I thought it was time to take a look at how I’m starting to organize things.

I should point out that this is how I’m currently going about organizing my material and it will likely evolve over time as I add new areas and combine some. I also suspect that once the characters start to interact with it there will be other items that need to be added.

Just a quick note about how OneNote is setup up – it’s just like a three-ring binder. You have a notebook, which contains sections and those sections contain pages (ok, you have have section groups and sub-pages as well but right now let’s keep it simple).

A Notebook for the Campaign

First things first, I created a notebook for the campaign. Since we’re going for simple I just used a generic ‘RPG Campaign’ title for the notebook, I know that title is not very creative but I have a tendency to let the campaign name itself during development. I should point out that you can change the display name of the notebook along with the color of the icon in the properties for the notebook (right click on the notebook name to bring up the menu).

property-window

If you want to change the name of the directory/notebook you need to close the notebook in OneNote and either change the name on your hard drive (if you store it locally) or at the OneDrive website (if you sync it across devices as I do), and then reopen it.

Sections Instead of Notebooks

When I was using Evernote for my campaign notebook I used a notebook stack with a different notebook for each area I wanted to track, not so with OneNote. What I’ve done now is set up an section for each area and will be adding pages to those sections as I move forward.

While I’m still in the planning stages I’ve set up the following:

  • Session Notes
  • Setting
  • Plot Ideas
  • NPCs
  • PCs

section-tabs

One thing I like over Evernote is that I can place the sections in any order (and reorder them when I want) I’m not locked into alpha-numeric order. This allows you to put you frequently used sections on the left while your not so often visited sections can be pushed to the right (or even dropped into a “reference section group”).

Add pages as needed

So now that I have my notebook and initial sections laid out I can just added pages in the appropriate secitons and interlink them (yes, OneNote allows you to link to pages in the notebook). So, each session will get it’s own page, plot ideas can be collected on a single page and then expanded on others (again, linking them together), NPCs and PCs each get their own page, you get the idea.

Tagging in OneNote

I wanted to take a moment and mention tagging in OneNote. Unlike Evernote you don’t tag the page (a note in Evernote) you tag anything on a page. This is extremely powerful as you can add items to a to-do list, reminders, new ideas brought up during a session, it can be anything. I’ll be exploring tagging in a later post but wanted to let you know it’s handled.

So that’s how I’m currently setup and organized – do you use OneNote? If so, how are you setup?

May your dice roll well.

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