Want to learn how to create visually pleasing and effective notes even though they are typed up? Tired of your hand cramping up from writing 17 pages of notes? I know I was! Well, today I will show how you can make pretty and effective typed notes.
My biggest issue with typed notes was that I thought they wouldn’t be as nice to look at as my written out notes or not as customizable. I really enjoyed personalizing my written notes, with fancy headers, and using other embellishments. But boy was I wrong. Typed notes can be just as pretty as written out notes, and they take half the time to write out.
And I know there’s this fact that when you write something out by hand it stays in your head longer, but there are a couple tips and tricks you can use while typing to help get the information to stick as well.
If you are interested in seeing how I get pretty and effective typed notes, then keep reading!
Benefits of typed out notes
Really quickly I just wanted to tell you all the benefits of typed out notes.
- Quicker than written notes
- Easier to plug information into later on
- Easier to copy information from when you are making Quizlets or review sheets.
- Typed out notes are neater than written notes and the paper doesn’t get wrinkled as easily – this one is petty, but it bothers me how worn out my written notes get.
Choose Your Typing medium
When it comes to typing out notes, there are a plethora of note-taking mediums you can use. Such as OneNote, Microsoft Word, Google docs, and plenty more. And all have their positives and negatives.
Personally, I was stuck between using Microsoft word and google docs for my typed out notes. OneNote was never a contender for me because I didn’t want to pay for it.
With Google docs, you can share documents with others easily and allow them access to edit documents. Which is great for when you are doing group projects. Or if you are writing up a review sheet together.
With Google docs, your notes stay online so you can access them anywhere. All your materials can be in one place. Powerpoints, notes, handouts can all be in your google docs. This is great if you don’t want to take up too much space on your laptop.
Google docs also has a lot more cool and funky fonts to choose from than Microsoft word.
Personally I just decided to use Microsoft word because I had already set up the files on my computer, which I talked about how to do in my post, How to digitally organize for the new semester.
And I just liked the classic-ness of Microsoft word. And this may sound petty, but a lot of the times, when you try to upload a Microsoft doc, or Microsoft powerpoint or any Microsoft file into Google docs, it makes you convert it over to a google doc format before you can begin working on the file.
Sometimes when you convert Microsoft word documents to Goggle docs, things are shifted or missing. And it can be a hassle to try and fix things. All my professor’s documents are formatted for Microsoft word, so it was easier to do that.
So, Microsoft word is better for me, but you may find that google docs works better for you.
Format Your Document
The set up is simple but it is also crucial for getting the document to look the way you want. We want pretty and effective typed notes not ugly and boring typed notes.
I format my document for Narrow, so I can get the most out of my document. It gives me more room to type which means that’s less paper to print out later on.
I also make sure that Microsoft is set up so that it will autosave my document every 1 minute. This way I don’t have to worry about losing any work, in case my computer crashes.
If you are using Google docs, it does this already.
To set up your Microsoft to autosave every 1 minute, just go to Word >Preferences > save > set the “save auto-recovery info” to 1 minute.
Now it’s time to choose your font. I personally like to use Century in size 14 for the new topics and size 12 for the bullet points. But you can use whatever font you want.
I like Century because it’s clean, but also isn’t super bland so you won’t confuse it with Times New Romans, which is the most boring font in the world.
I also enter about 5 times, before I start writing which I will explain why later.
When I start to write on a new topic, I enter twice, to show that it’s a different topic. Then I enter again before I start writing my bullet points for that topic. If you are confused then please watch the video below! Some things are just easier to explain visually.
For any keywords that I come across while typing, I will italicize those words. However, you can choose to do different things. Like make it bold, or change it’s color. This is just what I do.
I keep the entire document in black. However, I write the questions that I have in green. Then delete my questions after I get my answer.
So I have my digtial textbook open on the left side of my desktop. And on the right side I have my powerpoint and word document.
I put my powerpoint on top right corner, and word document on bottom right corner. This setup works for me so that I can see all my resources at once.
I can also copy and paste directly from the textbook/PowerPoint and put it into my word document, but I don’t recommend this because we want to be actively typing out our information.
To find specific words or phrases in your digital textbook just hit, the Command key and the shift key together. A search box will pop up, usually in the upper right corner or the tab, and you can search the word or phrase in there. It will search the entire textbook for that specific word.
Lastly, I just use the normal standard bullet points, but you can change your settings to something funkier.
Typing the notes
This is where we get the ‘effective’ in the pretty and effective typed notes! This is probably the most important part. Making sure we have quality and useful information.
While typing the notes, I stick more closely to the PowerPoint. I would first read over the slide. Then type out the information on the slide.
Then I go back and look at the textbook to see if there’s anything I want to add from the textbook.
In the notes section of the PowerPoint is where I write my in-class notes.
So after taking notes from both the textbook and the PowerPoint. I will then look at the notes that I took during the class, and add them to my notes too.
I really like that I can plug in points where ever I want in my Microsoft word notes, and it doesn’t ruin the whole page.
In my written notes, my main points would sometimes be out of order. Because I was pulling from so many different resources and didn’t organize it well in my head before writing it out.
With typed out notes I don’t have to pre-think about where a certain point should go. I can just type and format it better later.
When I type my notes onto Microsoft word, I type the words exactly how I see them on the Powerpoint. Sometimes I would reword it in my own words, but usually, I like how the professor wrote it out. But if the way your professor writes stuff out is confusing, or its easier to understand in your own words, then do that.
After writing down my notes for any particular slide, I re-read my notes, and make sure that I completely understand my notes. If not, I will look up the information in the textbook, if I didn’t do so already. The textbook will usually explain the concept to a much greater degree than the powerpoints.
If I still have questions, I write out my questions in green under the bullet point that I am confused about in the word document.
To get the answers to these questions, I either look it up on google and try to figure it out myself. Or I make an appointment for my professor’s office hours. Or I will ask the question before classes start.
Lastly, as I write up the notes, I make sure to copy and paste any diagrams that I find useful from the PowerPoint to my notes. Sometimes when copying things from PowerPoint, they can be hard to format into a word document. I will play with the image’s formatting settings until I’m satisfied with the way it looks in the word document.
If you find that you aren’t retaining the information you are typing, you can try reading the information out loud as you type. This will force you to slow down and help your brain recall the information.
Print it out and Highlight Important stuff
After typing out all my notes, I will re-read it. Making sure there are no typos and that it reads well. Then I print it out.
Okay so here is how we get the ‘pretty’ in pretty and effective typed notes. Once I have my hard copy of the notes, I will go into my notes and highlight any italicized words.
I will also go in a create page breaks all the words I put in size 14. I highlight before the word and after the word. Creating a clear distinction between the information before it.
Lastly, I will fill in my header. Making headers are one of my biggest joys when it comes to note-taking.
I look up various styles of written headers on Pinterest and I try mimic the style on my notes.
It’s one of the things I just couldn’t give up from my written notes, and it makes it look more unique and less typed and more personal.
You don’t have to do this step. You can just add a header and call it a day. But I love to personalize my notes this way.
Afterwards I just hole punch my notes and place them in my binder.
So there you have it! This is how I create pretty and effective typed notes.
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