After downloading the Notebooks package (it is an .msi file), just double click it to install. When you first start Notebooks, it checks for the presence of “Dropbox/Notebooks” folder on your system. If you are already syncing your iPhone or iPad versions of Notebooks with Dropbox you have a jump start and Notebooks immediately presents all your books and documents. Changes you make on your computer will be synced back to Dropbox and further to your iPhone or iPad. (As Dropbox maintains a version history of all changes, so even if something should go wrong, there is always an easy way to restore the original documents.)
In case the Dropbox/Notebooks folder does not exist, Notebooks asks you to select a start directory as home folder. You can choose any folder you want, it does not need to be empty.
Notebooks does not import your documents into a database or anything like that; instead, it displays the contents of the selected start directory and presents folders as books. Notes and documents you create or change in Notebooks are stored in that folder, which means that your documents are always accessible from Windows Explorer and never locked into Notebooks.
Items you delete in Notebooks are deleted from your hard drive as well.
In case you do not yet have a Dropbox account and want to create one, you can use the following referral link and get a few extra MB of free space: http://db.tt/LWTD7Dw
If you use a WebDAV service for synchronization, all you need to do is mount that server first and point Notebooks to that “drive”.
You can just as well use Notebooks without the iPhone or iPad counterpart and point it at your Documents folder, for example. You may discover an interesting replacement for Windows Explorer.
Set Notebooks’ Home Folder
When you first launch Notebooks for Win, you are asked to set a Home folder, which is the folder where Notebooks stores its documents. You can select any folder on your hard drive, and you are not required to select a new or empty one. It is also okay to pick a folder which already contains documents. You are free to change that folder at any time in Notebooks’ preferences without compromising your documents and data. This allows you to have multiple sets of Notebooks documents and switch between them. – So you could, for example, keep confidential documents on an encrypted disk image, other documents in your Document folder, and switch between these sets on demand.
A few remarks about how Notebooks handles your documents and folders:
- Notebooks stores your documents as files and books as folders on your hard drive, but it does not import them into any type of database. This means that your documents are always accessible from File Explorer, and there is no need to worry about import or export.
- Items you delete from Notebooks are deleted from your hard drive as well.
Use Notebooks with Dropbox
If you use Notebooks on an iPad or iPhone and sync its contents to Dropbox, it is very easy to pick up and work on the same documents with Notebooks for Win.
- Download and install the Dropbox client for Windows, a free download from the Dropbox website. This app automatically and continuously synchronizes the contents of your Dropbox (and with it the documents you sync from Notebooks on an iPad or iPhone) with a folder on your PC.
- In Notebooks for PC, open preferences and change the “Notebooks Home” folder by selecting the Dropbox folder which you use for syncing the contents of Notebooks on your iPad or iPhone. By default, this folder is Dropbox/Notebooks, located in your user home.
With these steps Notebooks for Win is set up to present your books and documents from your Dropbox sync folder and save all changed and added documents to that folder. The Dropbox client on your PC then syncs these documents to Dropbox, from where they find their way into Notebooks on your iPad or iPhone. – Currently, this is the most convenient and seamless connection between Notebooks on your iOS device and your PC.
Notebooks and WebDAV Servers
If you use a WebDAV service to sync your documents from Notebooks on an iPad or iPhone and want to work on that set of documents from Notebooks on your PC, all you need to do is mount that server in Finder and point Notebooks to that folder. You should be aware, though, that Notebooks reads and writes directly to and from that server, which may negatively impact performance. So you might consider using a separate application to synchronize the contents of the WebDAV server with a local folder on your PC and select that local folder as Notebooks’ home folder. Cyberduck or WebDrive are just two examples of applications that can to that.
A special case is the WebDAV server that is running on your PC. There usually is no need to mount that, because you can access its directory like a local folder.
Notebooks for Win vs. Notebooks for iOS
Notebooks for Win does not yet offer the whole functionality of its iOS counterparts, but it is a solid platform for creating and editing documents, organizing them in nested structures, collecting all kinds of files, managing tasks and task lists, and – if you want – synchronizing that all between multiple devices.
You can create documents as plain text or formatted documents (HTML), and you can always convert between them. The conversion from plain text to formatted text uses Markdown.
With matching Internet Explorer plug-ins installed, Notebooks displays many other document types like MS Office, PDF, RTF, images and more, but it does not edit them.
Many of the more advanced features of Notebooks on iOS will follow in Notebooks for Win over the next couple of updates.
- Create and Process Documents
- Create Formatted documents (HTML) and use WYSIWYG editing to produce beautifully formatted texts with font styles, colors, lists, embedded images etc.
- Assign document styles (CSS) to your formatted documents.
- Create Plain Text notes if you do not want to care about styles and format. You can always convert them to a formatted document later.
- Use Markdown tags in plain text documents and convert them to formatted document later. You can also tell Notebooks to convert those Markdown documents on the fly and assign a custom document style.
- Type your notes and texts, no matter how long they are. If you want, Notebooks counts words or characters for you.
- Freely assign fonts, colors and backdrops (paper types) to your documents (backdrops are available for plain text only. Notebooks provides a convenient set of colors and paper types, but you are free to define and add your own.
- Import Documents
- Import text, HTML, RTF, PDF, MS Office, Apple iWork documents, pictures, websites, web archives, audio files and videos.
- Quickly create new documents from the contents of the Pasteboard. This makes Notebooks your Clipboard Manager.
- Grab web pages directly from Safari (you need the Notebooks Bookmarklet for that, it is available in the download area of our website).
- Task Management
- Create, organize and manage your Task Lists.
- Create nested task lists if you want.
- Assign due dates to tasks.
- Maintain your reference library of documents that support you with your task management.
- Organization and Structure
- Store and organize notes in nested books.
- Freely move, rename and restructure your notes and books.
- Sort notes by title, modification, creation date.
- Find your notes with full text search (plain text, HTML, Office, RTF and web archives).
- Use Notebooks’ custom links (URLs) to reference notes or books within Notebooks and across applications.