Info Select 7

by PocketGoddess on January 2, 2003

You may be wondering why I’m reviewing this product, since it’s a piece of software for desktop computers. There is a Palm companion program available, but I am not reviewing it at this time as it doesn’t work on OS5. I’ve been told that a new version is in the works, so hopefully I’ll be reviewing it for this site in the future. This article focuses on Info Select for Windows. It’s a hard program to describe, because it does so much. Info Select is a freeform Personal Information Manager, or PIM program that you could literally use to run your entire life. Some of the features include: calendar, name and address database, spreadsheets, web viewing (in conjunction with Internet Explorer), newsgroup reader, basic image viewing and editing, and you can also attach files for indexing purposes. I’ve been using the program for a couple of months now, and I’m only scratching the surface of what it can do, but I’m learning. Info Select, while very easy to use in some respects, also has something of a learning curve attached to it. Thankfully there’s a YahooGroup devoted to the program, and while it isn’t terribly active at the moment, it has been helpful for both discussion and support.

What does Info Select do for me? I use it primarily as an outliner and as an information manager. Perhaps its greatest strength is the insanely fast search utility. You almost don’t have to worry about actually organizing the information you put into Info Select, because you’ll never have any problems finding anything at all. What I tend to do is put information into various topics, just for the sake of form if I simply want to browse. I have topics for reference, for the newsgroups I read, humor, information related to my job, and a section for my site. Then under each topic I have notes. Just hit F7 to insert a new note under a topic, which can be considered to be something like a new word processing document. Basic formatting and editing tools are included, such as a spell checker, the ability to choose different fonts, sizes, and colors, bold, italic, etc. These little notes are very small; they typically are less than half the size of the email message the information was gleaned from, for example. I’ve crammed an incredible amount of information into Info Select, everything from short articles I want to save for the future, to all of my web bookmarks, from lists of software to try to archives of some of the most useful posts I’ve gotten from the various mailing lists I subscribe to, and yet my Info Select file is just barely over 600K.

Most of this information is stuff that I won’t use all that often, but some of it is very important, such as a client list from work and some of my company’s policies. Instead of searching frantically for information that I know is somewhere in my computer, or on a post it note, or worse still, something that was never captured at all, I just hit the F5 key and start tying. As I go, Info Select automatically filters out the topics and notes that don’t contain the information I’m looking for. Once I’ve narrowed things down as much as I need to, I can simply click on the right topic. That’s because as Info Select does the search, it also shows me how many “hits” are in the file I’m searching. It truly is an amazing thing, and that search capability is exactly what allowed me to consolidate everything into Info Select– my eventual goal is to get rid of Outlook entirely, and to keep my email inbox completely clear. That goal of simplifying and organizing I mentioned means that all of my information needs to stay in one place, and that one place is Info Select.

Of course I can’t use all of that information on my Palm OS device right now, but then again I don’t really need to. I’m in the process of re-evaluation all of the software on my Tungsten, in the hopes of paring things down significantly. When Info Select 2 for Palm OS comes out, I’ll certainly be taking a look at it. It would be nice to have the choice to have things in both places if I desire, though that isn’t exactly what I use Info Select for in the first place. But in any case, if you find yourself constantly searching for various little bits and pieces of information, Info Select just might be the right tool for you. It’s like a super-charged outliner that really does get the organizing job done. The only drawbacks to the program are a rather high cost ($149 for new users, or $99 to upgrade from a previous version) and a fairly steep learning curve. But it is an incredibly powerful tool if you take the time to learn how to use it; it can literally transform the way you handle information. And you’ll pretty much be guaranteed that nothing will ever “slip through the cracks” again– because there won’t be any cracks or black holes for your information to fall through.

Info Select 7 is available at the Micro Logic web site. The web site also features screenshots and extensive feature listings in order to help you determine whether or not Info Select is the right information manager for you.

PocketGoddess rating for Info Select 7: 4.5 out of 5

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