How to Do Cornell Notes on Microsoft Word

The Cornell note-taking system, developed by Walter Pauk, is a study system designed to help anyone take and organize notes, whether it is for class or a business meeting. The system uses a sheet of paper that is divided into three sections. You have a wide column on the right for taking notes, a narrower “cue” column on the left for noting questions or keywords, and a summary section at the bottom for summarizing the notes. You can design your own Cornell notes page using Word.

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Create a Cornell note-taking template in Word.

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Open Word.

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Click “View” on the ribbon, and select “One Page” to view the entire page in one window. This will help with creating the table.

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Click the “Insert” tab on the ribbon. Click “Table” and select “Draw Table” from the menu.

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Click and drag your pencil tool to create the outline for the table. This should be a large box smaller than the size of your page. Do not worry about margins yet.

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Place your pencil tool at the left border of the box about a quarter of the way up from the bottom of the box. Click and drag across to the right side to create a straight line. This division will create the summary portion at the bottom.

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Place your pencil tool at the top border of the box about a third of the way from the left border. Click and drag down until you see a straight line connecting to the top of the summary box. You should now have a box with three divisions.

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Adjust the relative size of each box by clicking on a line and dragging it left or right, up or down. A ruler will appear when you click to help guide you in sizing your cells. The Cornell note-taking system uses 2 1/2 inches for the cue column, 6 inches for the note-taking column and a height of 2 inches for the summary. You need not adhere to these measurements and can create table cells with different sizes, depending on your needs.

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Save your document as a template if you intend to take notes directly in Word or save it in document form if you intend to print it.