Category Archive: Google Notebook Tips

Jul 12

Google Notebook Tip #10: Printing Individual Notes

At this time, Google Notebook only lets you print out entire Notebooks, not selected Notes. This can become very frustrating, especially if a Notebook contains a LOT of notes, and you only want to print one of them. So until Google adds a "Print selected notes" function, I have a workaround for this that's a bit of a kludge, but it works. Read on for details…

Open the Notebook that contains the note you want to print.

Next, click the "Actions…" dropdown and select "Print notebook". This will open another window or tab containing a formatted page of the entire Notebook and will open the Print dialog. Printing this, of course, will print the entire notebook and that is what we don't want, so…

Dismiss the Print dialog box by clicking the Cancel button, and navigate to the note you want to print.

Using your mouse, click on the beginning of the note, and hold the mouse button down. Drag the mouse cursor to the end of the note or notes you want to print. Release the mouse button, and you should now have a selected section of text and/or images.

Next, click "File" on your menu bar and select "Print…" from the menu. This opens the Print dialog again. Note: If you are using Internet Explorer, do not just click the print icon on your browser's toolbar–you must open the Print dialog!

Finally, click the "Selection" radio button, and then click the OK button.

Only the text you selected should print!

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Jul 12

Google Notebook Tip #9: “Actions” on Selected Notes

Once you have learned to select one or more notes, you can perform several actions. Read on to see what special actions Google Notebook provides…

Once you have selected one or more notes, click the "Actions…" dropdown on the right side of the Google Notes screen. There are currently two actions you can perform on selected notes:

Show note details

This simply displays an additional line under each note title that displays the date that the note was created, and if the note has been changed, it displays the date it was last edited.

Delete selected item

This will delete all selected notes. Google Notebook will prompt you to confirm your deletion just in case.

That's it for the "Actions" at this time. I'll update this if Google adds additional actions.

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Jul 12

Google Notebook Tip #8: Selecting Notes

Using standard selection methods, you can select multiple notes to Drag & Drop and to perform other "Actions". Holding down the [Ctrl] key will let you select multiple notes. Holding down the [Shift] key will let you select a range of notes. Read on for some examples…

Create Some Test Notes

First off, create a notebook with several notes. They can be Web clippings, or just simple random text. The idea here is to provide a few notes to play with. If your notes are lengthy, consider "collapsing" them–this just makes them easier to work with.

Selecting a single note

When you hover your mouse over a note, you should notice that it gets highlighted in a pale grey background, and on the left edge of the note, a grey selector bar appears. Click on the grey bar, and notice that it gets outlined in blue. This means that the note is "selected". When a note is selected, you can perform various actions on the selected note using the "Actions…" dropdown on the right. Example actions include Drag & Drop, Delete, and Show Details.

Selecting Multiple Notes

Hold down the [Ctrl] key, and click on another note. Now, continue holding down the [Ctrl] key, and click on various notes in no particular order. As you click, notice that each note will highlight and remain highlighted.

Release the [Ctrl] key and the notes you selected will remain highlighted. Clicking on any note's selector bar while the [Ctrl] key is not pressed will un-highlight all other notes and highlight just the note you clicked on.

Selecting A Range Of Notes

First, click on any note's selector bar. The note will highlight. Next, click on any other note's selector bar, and notice that both notes, and all notes listed in between the selected notes, are highlighted. This is a quick way for selecting, for example, all of your notes at once. Because you cannot user the [Ctrl]+[A] to select all, you can just select the first note in the list, scroll to the bottom of the list, hold down the [Shift] key, and select the last note in the list. All notes in between are now selected!

Now that you know how to select single and multiple notes, you can move on to performing various "actions" on the selected notes. More on that in another tip…

Mac users: I don't own or have access to a Mac, so I don't know the key combinations to make selections, but this should be pretty basic for Mac users. If you are a Mac user, contact me with proper selection methods, and I'll update this tip.

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Jul 12

Google Notebook Tip #7: Moving Notes Around

OK, so you have captured a number of notes, but you really don't like how they are organized. Google provides a very simple way to move your notes around letting you organize them as you prefer. Read on for details…

Google lets you Drag & Drop your notes both within and between notebooks. This gives you great flexibility to organize your notes in whatever order that best suits your needs.

Moving Notes Within A Notebook

To move notes within a notebook, you must first be logged into your Google Notebook Web page in a Web Browesr. At this time, this will not work while managing notes from within a browser extension–you must be browsing your Google Notebook page.

Next, hover your mouse over any note (collapsed or expanded) and notice that the left margin of the note turns into a grey selector bar. This helps you visually identify which note is "active". Hover your mouse over this grey area, you should see the mouse pointer change to four arrows indicating that you can drag the note.

Click on the grey area to "grab" the note, and drag it up or down holding the mouse button down. If you have more than one note in your notebook, Google Notes displays a horizontal blue line in the notebook indicating where the note will be placed when dropped. When the note is positioned where you want it, release the mouse button, and the note will be moved to its new location.

If you have Section Headings defined, you can also Drag & Drop Notes from Section to Section, and you can Drag & Drop Sections within a Notebook to reorder them! (Note that a Section Heading must be expanded for you to drop notes into it.)

Moving Notes Between Notebooks

You can also move notes from one notebook to another. Simply follow the steps above to grab the note, but this time, drag it over one of the notebooks listed in the left column. The notebook name will highlight. Dropping the note on the notebook will move it into that notebook and remove it from the current notebook. (Note that at this time, Google Notebook does not have a "copy" function–you can only "move" notes.)

Open the other notebook, and you should see the note you moved into it. If you have multiple notes in the notebook, you can then Drag & Drop the note to your desired position in the notebook as described above.

If you have Section Headings defined, you can also Drag & Drop entire Sections from one Notebook to another!

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Jul 12

Google Notebook Tip #6: Organizing Your Notes with Section Headings

Google Notebook provides a nice feature that lets you better organize your notes: Section Headings. These are definable, collapsible, and movable making organizing a snap. Read on for details…

Open any Notebook, and then click the "Actions…" dropdown on the right of the screen. Select the "Add section heading" option. This displays a green Section Heading bar across the Notes pane with a Title field open for you to edit. Enter the name you want to give the Section Heading, and click the OK button. You can create notes within a section, or move notes into or out of a section. Section headings can also be moved within a notebook to reorder them, or moved from one notebook to another. I'll be posting a tip detailing how to move notes and sections.

You can also rename a Section Heading's title. Hover over the Section Heading with your mouse, and you will notice that a "Rename" option appears on the right side. Click on that, and the Section Heading title opens for you to edit.

You can also delete any Section Heading. Again, hover over the Section Heading with your mouse, and notice that a "Delete" option appears on the right. Click on that, and a Dialog box will appear confirming the deletion. Note that deleting a Section Heading will also delete all of the notes contained under that Section Heading. This operation cannot be undone.

One feature I would love added to Google Notebook is more than one level of Section Headings. This would give us the ability to create collapsible outlines. Currently however, we only have one level of Section Heading to work with.

So play around with Section Headings to better organize and categorize your notes!

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Jul 12

Google Notebook Tip #5: Expanding And Collapsing Notes

This tip is a very simple one: If your notes are lengthy, consider "collapsing" them by clicking the small triangle next to the note's title. This toggles the note "open" (displaying the fill notes contents) and "closed" (just the title and note summary displays.) It makes for a nice, neat, organized view…and Google Notes remembers the settings! It works for Section Headings too!

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Jul 12

Google Notebook Tip #4: Images: Are They Permanent?

When clipping an image from a Web page, you need to understand one important concept: Google will nicely display images that you clip, but Google does not actually store the image files in your Google Notebook. It only stores an HTML link to that image on the Web. Read on to see how to manage this, and why this is important…

Because Google only stores a link to the image on the Web, if the Web site moves or removes the image, it will no longer display in your Google Notebook. Google Notebook will display an outline of the image with a "broken image" icon in the corner as a placeholder. This is simply a side effect of the dynamic nature of the Web.

Unfortunately, there are no specific rules on the Web concerning who keeps what content, and for how long. Some images have been around for years, and will continue to be around for years. But many images come and go frequently. The reality is that any image you see today may or may not be available tomorrow.

While this may seem like a bad thing, there are cases where it could have an interesting positive effect. For example, if a Web site "rotates" images periodically, your Google Notebook will display the most recent image. For example, say you clip a page from a cartoon site that displays a different cartoon each day. As long as the image on the page is named the same, your Google Notebook will dynamically update as the site updates giving you fresh and new content every day.

As a point of note, like all Web content, just don't expect images clipped into Google Notebook to remain there permanently. If you must retain an image permanently, I suggest saving the image locally and then uploading it to a more permanent archive such as Flickr or Google's Picasa Web, or to your own Web site. You could then clip THAT image, and it will remain permanent in your Google Notebook. Just don't get stung by a false sense of permanency when dealing with any Web content.

Note: This only affects images–Web site text is stored locally in your Google Notebook and is fully editable.

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Jul 12

Google Notebook Tip #3: Clipping Web Pages

Google Notebook provides an easy and fun way to clip sections of Web page right into your Google Notebook without leaving the page you are browsing. It's the "Google Notebook Internet Explorer Extension" for Internet Explorer, and the "Google Notebook Firefox Extension" for the excellent Firefox browser. Read on to see what the extension does and how to make the most use of it…

When you connect to the Google Notebook site and login, if you have not already installed the browser extension, you will be prompted to do so. Follow the instructions on the screen to download and install it. The installation should be pretty seamless. Once installed, you will probably need to close and restart your Web browser.

I use the Firefox Web browser almost exclusively, so I'll be using its extension as a reference, but the Internet Explorer extension should function almost identically.

The first thing you should notice after restarting your Web browser is a new icon in the Status bar. It's a little blue notebook icon labeled "Open Notebook". Clicking on this opens a small window at the bottom of your browser. It lists all notes in the most recently opened notebook. Here are some basic navigation features:

·    Clicking on the "expand" triangle icon on any of note will expand it for easy viewing.

·    Double-clicking an existing note opens it in the note editor. Like the full-screen version, you can select multiple notes and perform various "Actions" on them.

·    You can also click the "Add note" button to enter your note.

·    Clicking the "expand" icon to the left of the "Add note" button will open a list displaying all of your Notebooks. Clicking on one of these entries will open that notebook.

OK, so now you have the basics, but just how is this any more useful than the full-page version? Well, the first obvious answer is that it is displayable while browsing any Web page. Big deal, right? Well, as the TV commercials say, "But wait, there's more!"

The real power comes while browsing a page. Open up any favorite Web page and right-click on the page. In the context menu, you should see an entry, "Note this (Google Notebook)". Click on this, and the Google Notebook extension will open the notebook window and create a new note for you. The note consists of the words "Empty note" as the title, and a link to the page you are browsing. If you edit that note, you can jot down any notes about that page. This can be very useful for later reference. The handy thing about this is that it automatically maintains the URL of the page you are browsing, so you don't have to mess with copying and pasting. It just works!

There's also another variant that's even more powerful. Ok, so you created a note that points to a Web page, and you entered some textual notes about the page. But what if you want some text and graphics from the page itself in your note? The Google Notes extension lets you clip sections of formatted page content. Navigate to any Web page and highlight any section of it like you were going to copy it. You can include text, links, images, etc. After you highlight a section of the page, right-click the highlighted section. Again, you should see that "Note this (Google Notebook)" entry. Google Notes will create a new note for you with the page URL as above, but this time, it inserts into the note whatever you had highlighted. It's fully editable, so you can add to it, modify it, or whatever you want.

The Google Notebook Extension can add lots of power to your Web surfing experience by enabling you to easily and seamlessly clipping sections of Web pages directly into Google Notebook. The uses are only limited by your imagination!

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Jul 12

Google Notebook Tip #2: Creating New Notes

Creating a new Note within a Google Notebook is very simple: Just open Google Notebook and click on the "Add note" button. A simple editor opens where you can type in your note content. You can format it using some basic editing tools. When you are finished, click the "Save" button. Simple as that! But this, of course, is not the only way to create a note! Read on for some other ways to create notes…

Copy & Paste

You can copy both plain and formatted text from many sources into Google Notebook. This can be as simple as text copied from Notepad or your favorite text editor, to more complex, formatted text from sources such as Word and Excel documents, and even Web pages. Simply Copy the text you want to store, switch to Google Notebook in your Web browser, and Paste into the note editor. Plain text is formatted based on the current editor settings, and formatted text will be pasted with its formatting retained.

One nice feature is that Excel cells will past as HTML tables. Just note that though formatting should retained, it should be close to the original, but may vary slightly.

Web Clipping

You can also install an optional extension for Internet Explorer or Firefox. This integrates slick functionality that lets you much more easily select and clip sections of Web pages. I'll be posting a tip with more details on this.

Currently, these are the methods of adding content to a Google Notebook. If Google adds additional methods, I will post them here!

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Jul 12

Google Notebook Tip #1: What is Google Notebook?

Google Labs has released their new Google Notebook application which is a simple, online repository for storing notes, images, and "clips" of Web pages. With its optional browser extensions (for Internet Explorer and Firefox only for now) you can seamlessly add content to your Google Notebook while surfing the Web. Read on for some details on what Google Notebook is, what you can do with it, and how to get started…

What is Google Notebook?

Google Notebook is a Web-based application that lets you enter and manage notes. While that may sound simple, (and it is) it is a powerful and handy tool to let you store and manage countless bits of content that is easily accessible whenever you have Web access.

To better understand Google Notebook, think of the Google Notebook screen as a bookshelf. On that bookshelf, you can store one or more Notebooks, and within each Notebook, you can store one or more Notes. Notes can contain simple text content to complex Web page clippings. Notes can be ordered by moving them around, and they can be categorized by creating Section Headings. What content you include in your notes is completely up to you, as is how you organize your notes.

In later tips, I'll be discussing some simple operations such as selecting and moving Notes, how to clip Web pages, and some simple navigation and management operations. I'll also be including some tips on how to organize and make the most of your notes.

So, what's it good for?

Let's start with a short list of some things you can do with Google Notebook:

·    Store recipes
·    Store school notes
·    Create online shopping lists
·    Create a repository of your favorite movies
·    Plan a trip
·    Maintain a list of your favorite Web sites
·    Keep a journal
·    Write a book

This list is obviously not exhaustive–you are really only limited by your imagination. Just play around with it, and ideas should come to you!

But Google Notebook does have some limitations. Here is a list of some things that you cannot do with Google Notebook:

·    Store "objects" like programs, MP3 files, or standalone images
Google Notebook is not a file repository–it is a notebook. For storing things like programs and MP3 files, you will have to use other online storage options. For digital photos, check out Google's Picasa Web, a really nice photo album application that integrates with Google's Picasa2 Desktop application. It's at:

·    Print individual notes
I do have a workaround for this, but by default, you can only print entire notebooks.

·    Make notebooks semi-private
A notebook is either private (viewable only through your Google account) or public (accessible to anyone.) There is no facility to restrict viewing Notebooks to specific users.

·    Email Notes or Notebooks
There is currently no facility to email your notes or notebooks. The best you could do is to make a Notebook public and then email the URL. Just remember that a Public Notebook is viewable by anyone.

·    Export Notes
Short of copying and pasting notes into another application, there is currently no facility to export notes. You could, however, select the "Print notebook" from the "Actions…" dropdown, to create a nicely formatted HTML page which you could save locally and than edit it using your favorite HTML editor.

Again, this list is not exhaustive. The Google developers continually work to improve all of their offerings, so I would bet that in the future, you will see refinements and additional features worked into Google Notebook. My recommendation is if you have suggestions for new features, feature changes, or to report bugs, go to the Google Notebook support page located at: and log your request. Google will obviously not include every suggestion into Google Notebook, but they are noted for listening to their user base, so unless you voice your feedback, they won't know what you want!

How do I get started?

Point your Web browser at and follow the instructions. IN short order, you will be ready to create new notes! But first, you have to complete a couple steps:

First, you must have a Google account in order to use Google Notebook. This provides authentication to keep notes private. If you already have a Gmail account, you are good to go. If not, just follow the instructions to create a new account.

The browser extension. Google wants you to install a browser extension in order to more efficiently create and manage notes, but this is optional. If you want to use the extension, by all means, download and use it. The extension works very well, and makes adding Web clippings a snap. I'll be posting a tip detailing its features and functions.

But for now, we want to skip this, so when you are prompted to download the extension, just look for the "Continue to your notebooks »" link and click on it. This will bypass the browser extension download and take you directly to your Notebooks. This is also useful for those times when you are using a public-access terminal. In that case, you won't want to install the extension (and probably won't have permission to do so) because you don't want your personal information to be tied to that device.

You should now be looking at the Google Notebook screen! Click on the "Add note" button, and you are on your way to creating and managing notes! I'll be posting more details about the functions and features of Google Notebook, so stay tuned for more Google Notebook tips and tricks!

Two Points Of Caution

Like any Web-based service, Google Notes is not necessarily a completely secure repository. My suggestion is that if you have sensitive information, you would probably be wise not to store it on Google Notes. This is not to say that Google takes security lightly–far from it. Just assume that anything stored online, especially if it is unencrypted, is simply not secure.

Second, please remember that, as with all online applications, many of Google's applications are still under development, and as such may occasionally be prone to bugs or problems. I recommend that you not store critical or irreplaceable information online unless you also have an alternate online or offline backup. Committing irreplaceable information to an online service–especially one still in development–is asking for problems.

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