WikidPad wikifies your life

WikidPad isn't easy to pick up, but some of the features it offers should make it one of the most useful programs for students, writers, and other note-takers to have.

I'm more than a bit skeptical of many of the online fads for staying organized, like 43 Things. They all seem to emphasize learning their system as much as using it, which does not inspire much confidence. WikidPad doesn't work that much differently, so I was hesitant to give it more than a second thought. What it does benefit from is the incorporated note-taking aspect, which links your work to your To Do list, and by an intuitive filtering system intuitive that helps you stay on top of stuff through a wiki lens.

WikidPad helps you organize and cross reference by turning your work into a localized wiki.

(Credit: CNET Networks)

Open-source, free, and cross-platform WikidPad works as any wiki does, and its as user-centric as possible because it's contained solely on your hard drive. It doesn't rely on or even offer the option of incorporating others into your work flow. And, as a powerful, auto-cross-referencing note-taking device, it seems to actually be all that it claims. Mac and Linux users should note that the installation is a bit more involved for their systems than it is on Windows machines.

One excellent advantage to WikidPad is that any word typed in CamelCase instantly becomes wikified. You can stop that with a forward slash, or create a title by adding in two pluses. Creating a bullet list is as simple as hitting the spacebar after an asterisk.

This isn't to say that WikidPad is easy to learn. Make no mistake, the learning curve is incredibly steep unless you're familiar with the terminology and keystrokes. The included Help file goes quite deep, but the program could benefit from some concise tutorials for beginners that show just how to go about doing things. I was able to find good instruction on the WikidPad Web site, but it required a bit of digging around to locate.

WikidPad also takes plug-ins, always a benefit when you're looking to add specific features that might not appeal to everybody. One good one that already exists allows you to change a highlighted word from plain text into a WikiWord. WikidPad can also link to images and files on the Web, as well as local ones.

I'm considering writing rough drafts of blog posts and reviews and maintaining a To-Do list in WikidPad for a few weeks, to see how if it makes a difference with keeping track of stuff. If you've got any experiences with WikidPad, let me know in the comments below.

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