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For quite a while now I have been meaning to organise the recipes I use for meal planning. Each week I write my weekly plan up, using the template I created in Excel. On a separate spreadsheet I then copy in the recipes I need for that week – either from a website, magazine or cookbook. This way I can put all of the recipes on the fridge next to the meal plan where they are easy to see and they are all in a similar format which I find easier to read – especially when I am checking what ingredients I need to add to the shopping list. I also make sure to include where the recipe came from. You can see the spreadsheet below.
This works great, however I am noticing that I’m quite often copying in recipes that I have used before. I also quite often look for new recipes when I could use recipes we’ve used before. I’ve been wanting to collate all of the recipes we use for a while, so that I can just search for a recipe and copy/paste all in the one area, but it always seems like too big a job.
At the recent Digital Parents Conference we were able to meet and chat with the team from Microsoft Australia and have a play with some of their new goodies. I also had the chance to win one of their HP Envy’s (a tablet slash laptop) but unfortunately missed out.
One of the Breakout Sessions on the first day was titled “Time is Money: Tech Tips for Getting More Time in Your Day.” I went along and listened to Priscilla del Castillo as she showed us how to use the Microsoft Office suite to make life easier.
One thing that stood out for me was the OneNote program. I’m fairly sure OneNote has been around for a while but I hadn’t heard of it before. It is quite similar to Evernote but I actually like the interface a lot more.
As soon as Priscilla started showing us the different way you can use the notebooks I immediately thought “recipes!!” This was a perfect way to organise my recipes, especially as I could organise them by type (vegetarian etc).
I was given a code to download a subscription from Digital Parents Collective & Microsoft in order to complete this review. I excitedly downloaded the suite (yes I’m a nerd and get excited by new software) but unfortunately discovered that while the Office suite works on Macs it is not the 2013 edition of the software, only the 2011 which we currently have. We also don’t get OneNote! I do probably 99.9% of my work on my MacBook (on the couch) so this was a major disappointment. I’m also down at my parents’ house for the past week and most of this week but they were kind enough to let me download the suite on to their desktop PC (your subscription can be used across 5 devices). This way I was still able to play around with the new editions and OneNote until I can get home and put it on our desktop PC too.
As you can see in the above image I started collating my recipes in to a OneNote Notebook. It is only a very small portion of the recipes I use as I only had the recipes from the weekly plans I had saved on our DropBox plus a few I had pinned on Pinterest.
I created a Notebook called “Recipes” and then created category tabs for each “type” of recipe – vegetarian, beef, fish, side dishes etc. Under each category I can add each recipe as a new page and I can see the list of recipes (pages) on the right.
Adding the recipes is easy. I simply copy the recipe name in to the title section, then copy the ingredients and method underneath. A great feature of OneNote is that if you copy text from a website it automatically adds the link to the website at the bottom. You can also copy images from websites or insert images from your computer.
Another great feature of OneNote is the ability to “dock” the program to the side of the screen to allow for easy note taking or copying and pasting. This is great for copying recipes from webpages – I simply open the page ready for the recipe, dock OneNote to the side, open the recipe and copy and paste over to the page.
I was able to copy all of the recipes straight from my weekly plan spreadsheets and keep the formatting. This means when I want to use the recipe again I can easily copy it back over.
I can easily find a recipe in the future – either by a quick glance through the categories or even searching for a specific ingredient using the search function. Now I just have to work on getting all of my recipes in the notebook (and adding new ones as I find them) and I will have my own fully searchable cookbook!
Now, as I’m not able to get OneNote on my MacBook and I normally do my weekly plan creation and recipe research on the MacBook I was a bit stuck as to how I would able to use it most effectively. I found a way to export the OneNote notebook to Evernote, however this doesn’t keep the categories making it harder to keep track of everything. Also, I wouldn’t be able to add any recipes using my MacBook.
However, I also discovered that if I save the notebook to my Sky Drive I can access it online and use a web version of OneNote. Of course, it is not quite as useful as the PC version but will be enough for me to access and copy my recipes and also add in new ones as I come across them.
All users of Sky Drive get 7GB of storage – with the yearly subscription you get an extra 20GB of storage! I don’t think I have 27GB worth of recipes so I should be ok…
There is also some great new features in the other Office programs. In Excel, Word and Powerpoint you have access to a whole new range of templates in the program, instead of having to search online for them (only when you have internet access). There’s also lots of new features to make your spreadsheets look prettier, as well as easy ways to create tables and graphs from data. Lots of nerdy things that I know I won’t be able to stop playing around with!
Now, the part that I’m sure you’ve been waiting for! Microsoft Australia and Digital Parents Collective have given me 5x 1 year subscriptions of the new Office 365 Home Premium to giveaway to you! That’s 5 subscriptions that can each be used across 5 devices!
If you’re a Twitter user you may have seen the hashtag #OMGTips lately. Microsoft has asked people (including those at DPCon13) to share their best tips for using Office to make life easier. You can see a great selection of tips here.
Obviously my #OMGTip is to use OneNote as a recipe collator. I also shared this tip at the conference:
— Cassie – TFDM (@FlyDrunkMonkey) March 20, 2013
To go in the running to win one of the five subscriptions all you need to do is fill in the form below, sharing your best #OMGTip. How do you use Microsoft Office to make your life easier?
Giveaway is now closed!
Terms and conditions: The Flying Drunken Monkey’s Microsoft Office 365 Home Premium giveaway will be judged on creativity and originality. The competition opens Monday, April 1st at 10.00am AEST and closes on Monday, April 15th at 10.00am AEST. One entry per person only. Australian entries only, sorry. There are 5 subscriptions to be won worth AU$119 each. The winners will be notified via email and published on this blog. Entries remain the property of The Flying Drunken Monkey and may be republished. For full competition terms and conditions, click here
Disclaimer: I received a complimentary subscription to facilitate this review. Digital Parents Collective also covered the admin cost involved in hosting the giveaway. All opinions are my own.