Friday, December 06, 2013

Help for Paper Planners in a Digital World (Part 2)

In the last post, we began a discussion which impacts everyone who uses a paper planner. Tasks are written in the paper planner which have supporting digital material. When you do the task, you must have the digital material at hand. Begin by reading the last post if you have not already done so. When you have finished, return here.

 An item from Dropbox or Evernote needs to be referenced while you are working on a task.
This technique is much the same as needing to reference a document on your hard drive. The trick to get the path name for the entry and paste that link into the spreadsheet.

Open Dropbox on your computer desktop, as opposed to accessing Dropbox from the website. Right-click on the desired file, and choose "Copy as path" from the menu. On the spreadsheet, right-click on the cell where you want the link to appear. From the menu, choose "Hyperlink." Paste the path name into the address box.


















In the planner, list the to-do. Beside it, reference the line on the spreadsheet which links to the document. An example might look like the example below:

Revise handout for EdLeaders Network (9)

For Evernote, open the desktop client. Right-click on the desired note. Select "Copy Note Link." On the spreadsheet, right-click on the cell where you want the link to appear. From the menu, choose "Hyperlink." Paste the path name into the address box.

















In the planner, list the to-do. Beside it, reference the line on the spreadsheet which links to the document. Below is an example:

Review keyboard shortcuts for Google Calendar (10)




Screenshot of the links generated using the examples in this post
and the post just prior to this one.


Limitations
Since the examples shown in lines 8, 9, 10 involve path names, what is described assumes the user works from one main computer. Even if the spreadsheet could be shared across multiple devices, the links would not work from those devices because that path name applies to one specific computer.

With the examples from Dropbox and Evernote, we could have generated links and choosing to "share" a link. In the case of Dropbox, the link would allow us to download a copy of the document. Changes made to that document would not be saved to Dropbox unless we manually uploaded the document. In the case of Evernote, using the link generated by choosing "Share" from the right-click menu would yield a read-only image.

Depending on the individual situation, this arrangement of choosing to "share" a link rather than access the original may be preferable, but it is not something I would see as desirable.

The final limitation also involves using the spreadsheet across multiple devices. If the spreadsheet is placed in Dropbox, it could be accessed from any device. The question would become whether or not the software on that device would allow you to click a link. Laptops and other desktop computers would allow it. Tablets and mobile phones may or may not. If the link could not be clicked, you would then look to see it you have the ability to highlight and copy the link which you could then paste into a browser.

A Reminder
As stated in the last post, you must not insert lines into the spreadsheet or delete lines. Doing either would alter the numbering of all entries below it. When a link on the spreadsheet is no longer needed, the link can be deleted. That line is now empty, and the next task you need to enter can take its place.

This post is one person's attempt at a solution which could help many. What do you think? Do you have another suggestion for approaching this problem?

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