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Sure, school is only just slowly getting back in session. And yet, before you know it, one of your teachers will spring that first pop quiz on you. Memorization drills aren't exactly a ton of fun right after summer, but did you know that you can create quick and easy flashcards using the built-in outlining features in OneNote?
Flashcards are a great way to test your knowledge when you're learning a foreign language, studying historical facts and dates, or when you need to learn and memorize anything else that can be tested in a question-and-answer format. There's just one problem: Paper flashcards are hard to keep in the correct order, they take time to reorganize, they're easily forgotten at home or in class, and they get too bulky to carry around if you need them for a handful of school subjects.
What's an easy solution? Create and keep all of your flashcards in OneNote, so you can easily use, reorganize, or modify them — and take them with you wherever you go.
In the following example, I'm going to demonstrate how I use the collapse/hide outlining feature in OneNote 2010 to create vocabulary flashcards using a list of French words and their English translations.
This method of creating flashcards in OneNote doesn't just work well for simple word lists. You can also create more visual tests for yourself, where the answers to test questions consist of photos or screenshots that you've collected while doing research on the Web.
Let's have a look at how you can use the same flashcard technique with images.
In the following example, I'm going to demonstrate how I create a visual alphabet list to test my knowledge of American Sign Language (ASL).
Tip You could also create a reverse list, where the image of a sign language gesture is the test question and the corresponding letter of the alphabet is the answer.
By the way, for those of you who have a Tablet PC (or a touch-capable PC running Windows 7), you can also make flashcards from your handwritten lists and from sketches you've drawn. And for those of you not in school, you can always use this OneNote outlining technique as a great way to hide things like "ice cream" and "candy" from your shopping lists! ;-)
Your feedback and ideas are always welcome. Please leave me a comment to let me know if you found this useful.
-- Michael C. Oldenburg
Great! With long vocabulary list, it may take some time to hide every word, though...
This is great! I'm always working on expanding my ASL vocabulary but didn't have a good way to 'quiz' myself. Most of the projects and details of my life (both personal and professional) are stored in OneNote and now I can add my language studies to that as well. Thanks for the great tip.
This is great!
Another method i use is to make a list and create hyperlinks from another paragraph (say on an answer page) - and reduce the hyperlink to a single letter or punctuation mark.
Great learning tool!
I was able to hide the indented lines just by double-clicking the arrow beside the main words. There was no need to select both lines, therefore it saved one step.
It's also possible to highlight all of the second lines by holding down the "CTRL" key and then indent them at once instead of indenting individually.
Thanks for your comments, everyone. I'm glad you found this post useful.
@Fremy: If building large lists is too time-consuming for you and you don't mind experimenting with prototype software, check out the Flashcards app from Microsoft's Education Labs. Visit www.educationlabs.com/.../Flashcards for more info.
@April: Nice to hear from someone who is studying ASL. I found it to be an excellent example of visual learning.
@Lego: Thanks very much for the tip!
@vdowney: Thank you for catching an unnecessary step that I had intended to remove. I've fixed the blog post to reflect this correction. The CTRL key selection is a good tip to remember as well. For individual lines that need indenting, one can also use the TAB key if the cursor is placed at the beginning of a line of text. It's a bit faster than using the Indent button on the ribbon.
Thanks again to all of you for using OneNote and for leaving a comment! :-)
That's an excellent feature in OneNote! I've been using OneNote since the 2003 version, so consider myself fairly familiar with the application. However, I've not come across this feature before - great for creating task lists with expanding/collapsing sub-tasks!
Thanks for that - keep the tips coming!
one problem that comes up straight away is when you double click to expand or contract is that the text is automatically highlighted looking very amateurish? work around for it?
Thanks! Great way to study multi-step processes!
@Stan and @J, thank you for your feedback, I appreciate it!
@John: You're right that OneNote will highlight the text of the container you click. This is because the four sided arrow is actually a selection control that lets you select, move, and otherwise interact with the corresponding ntoe container. Personally, the highlighting doesn't bother me, but I agree that it would be nice to make this user-configurable. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment, I appreciate it!
Is there a print option available for the flashcards?
Although quite useful these are not flash cards.... Flash cards have boundaries.... The boundary contains the nugget of memory: Words and images