OneNote for Authors: Tables

Continuing from where we left of in my previous post on OneNote about Getting Started, today let’s talk about the basics for tables and some ways authors can use them.

Tables have a TON of uses for us authors. They help organize your information in rows and columns. So any information that you need to track or keep organized, this is a good way to do it.

Some examples of how I use tables as an author to help get you started with ideas:

  • Monthly Social Media Table – I create a table at the beginning of each month that tracks my plan for blog posts and SOME of my FB and Twitter posts based on what’s going on that month. This really helps me plan ahead and keep on track with my social media.
  • Character Table – For each series (or book if standalone) I have a character table. I include information like the physical description, back story, traits, relationships, even a picture of what I think they look like.
  • Plot Table – For a book on a chapter-by-chapter basis, I keep track of a few things including pacing, character POV, character development, plot points. All sorts of stuff. I even color code. It helps me to see where my holes are, and where to concentrate in editing.

Tables are one of the simpler tools in OneNote. To create a table you can do one of two things.

Create Table, Option 1 – Tabbing

  1. Find the page (new or old) that you want to add the table to.
  2. Type one word and hit the “tab” button on your keyboard.

OneNote will automatically create a table for you. Any time you hit tab it’ll create a new column. Any time you hit enter takes you to a new row. Enter twice will take out out of the table.

Create Table, Option 2 – Insert Table

  1. Find the page (new or old) that you want to add the table to.
  2. Go to the “Insert” tab at the top
  3. Click the little arrow under the “Table” button
  4. Select the number of columns/rows for the table
  5. Just click to insert
Once your table is created you have the option to format it further. I rarely do much formatting, but this does help some visualize better.
  1. Put your cursor in the table
  2. A tab at the top called “Table Tools, Layout” will appear
  3. Click the tab

You can add/remove rows and columns, format the coloring/layout of the table, change alignment within the cells. You can even convert the table to a spreadsheet.

I can’t talk about tables without mentioning spreadsheets. I’ll admit that I was originally an Excel girl. For the last 10 years, my day job has been as a Business Analyst for a large tech company. I LIVE in spreadsheets.
If  you prefer to do your tables in Excel, no problem! Instead of creating a table, you can insert Excel spreadsheets (new or already created) into OneNote for easy access.
  1. Find the page (new or old) that you want to add the spreadsheet to.
  2. Go to the “Insert” tab at the top
  3. Click the little arrow under the “Spreadsheet” button
  4. Select “New” or “Existing” (If select Existing, you must go find the file you want to insert)
Once in place, the spreadsheet will look like a table in OneNote. If you click on the table, a small “Edit” button will appear in the upper left-corner. Click that to open the spreadsheet in Excel to edit there.
Hope this was helpful. Next post on this topic we’ll hit on links and files.

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