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Using Docs for Running Notes

September 11th, 2017
tech  [html]

When I work I keep two kinds of notes:

  • Short summary notes aimed at people who are interested in what I'm doing (boss, coworkers, me way in the future trying to figure out what I was working on then)

  • Verbose running notes where I write everything down about what I'm currently doing. This can include commands I've run [1] and their output, anything that will help me reconstruct what I was working on, todo lists, or anything else that's helpful to be written down.

The primary difference between these isn't access (both are readable by any of my coworkers) but audience (who I expect to be reading them).

I've been using Google Docs for my running notes, and while it's not ideal it's pretty good. Some configuration options that I find help a lot:

  • Redefine "heading 1" to be "monospaced 10pt" and then Ctrl+Alt+1 becomes a shortcut for "code font". Ctrl+Alt+0 is still the default shortcut for normal text.

  • Turn off the default print layout (View > Print Layout) to remove the large gaps between logical pages. If I could remove the concept of "page" from this all together I would, since it will never be printed out.

  • Switch the document from "Letter (8.5" x 11")" to "Statement (5.5" x 8.5")" in Page Setup, with 0.1" margins. This lets me make the window nice and narrow. I'd be happier if the page would just re-flow as I changed the size of the window, but this is ok.

The main thing that's still missing is Emacs keybindings: Ctrl+A for beginning of line, Ctrl+D for end of line, Ctrl+D for delete, etc. On Mac this just works, and on Linux it works everywhere but Docs, but I don't know how to get it to work in Docs on Chrome on Linux.


[1] I also log all my shell history.

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