Screenshot of Symphytum Personal Information Manager

Free easy-to-use Personal Information Manager SYMPHYTUM helps you get organized

Indie Publishing Friends, Reviews, Writing

I’ve been CRAVING a virtual Rolodex/dossier box/index card program to help me organize things (like my book info)…today I stumbled upon a BEAUTIFUL and EASY TO USE Personal Information Manager (PIM) that let me do exactly what I wanted quickly, with little fuss.

It’s called SYMPHYTUM, it’s free for Windows, Linux, and Mac, and I love it already. Screenshot of Symphytum Personal Information Manager Each record starts as a blank screen, but you add the fields you want where you want them. Simple pick-an-option-then-drag-and-drop. I used a lot of “text” fields for my book page here, but the “date” field will pull up a calendar from which you can choose dates, and clicking the globe icon in a “web link” field will take you to the URL you entered in there. I’m sure there are other cool features.

You can also view all the records in a table, which makes things easy to see.

Two tricksy things:

  1. When moving fields, they switch places with each other (when in a column I usually wanted it to bump the one I was replacing down)
  2. I couldn’t figure out how to resize my image at first, but after some experimenting I discovered the procedure: make the frame as big as you want, then get the image. If it’s not to your liking, resize the frame and get the image again.

My wishlist:

  1. It’d be nice if they had a toggle for “field-add” mode so I don’t accidently move things around when I’m just entering stuff (though I don’t think I’ve done that…yet.)
  2. I stumbled on a keyboard shortcut or two, but I don’t see ’em listed anywhere.

The next software program I want to get for writing is TrackerBox (which tracks sales across different vendors) but until then, Symphytum will work well in helping me keep ISBNs and the like straight.


Holy Grail Achieved! Finally found my replacement for the TUL MARKER PEN!!!

V Razor Point pen next to its box packaging

My new favorite pens

If you miss the now-discontinued TUL Marker Pens, I may have found you a replacement.

I’m an author who writes by hand A LOT. I can fill 100 pages of a Leuchtturm Notebook (Leuchtturm Master Ruled Notebook A4 Plus, Black) in a month. So I need a long-lasting, smooth-writing pen that can keep up with the speed of my story-brain.

In the past, I relied upon my beloved TUL MARKER PENS, but when OfficeMax suddenly Disapparated them off shelves a few years back, I was lost. I couldn’t go back to mere ballpoint pens or even gel pens; the marker tips had a way of making my handwriting look *fantastic*.
So I went on a hunt.
I previously bought and reviewed the following: Pilot Razor Point Marker Stick Pens, Ultra Fine Point, Black Ink, Dozen Box (11001) (nib wore down too fast), BIC Z4+ Roller Pens, Fine Point, 2 Pens (Z4CP21) (no soft marker tip, a little pricey, but nice for art), and Pilot Extra Fine Point Permanent Markers, Black Ink, Dozen Box (44102) (perfect for slick surfaces and baggies, but terrible bleedthrough on paper).
I was a little hesitant when I bought a box of these–“razor point” “extra fine”? My writing’s never looked good in needle-sharp lines. But the reviews were strong and I felt like I was running out of marker-tipped options.

To my utter delight, I found these pens to be the perfect replacement for the TULs. The nibs outlast the ink. They’re smooth on the Leuchtturm paper. There’s no bleedthrough interfering with my using both sides of the paper. And while they’re not waterproof (sometimes I spill my water bottle, what can I say?), after I daubed up the excess water, the writing was still legible which is all I ask for.

But the factor that makes these pens a match in office supply heaven for me is there is a LOT of ink in these things. I received my first box at the beginning of 2017. It’s the end of July, 2017. I *might* have just used up all 12 of them (though I’m not sure not sure because I bought two more boxes and sourced a couple out of there). Again, I’m writing some 200 pages, front and back, every two months, so that’s a LOT OF mileage.

Could a few things be improved? Sure. I think the barrel could feel more comfortable. And I miss the bright yellow tip available in the Pilot Razor Point Marker Stick Pens–not just stylish, but helpful in finding a pen in the dark of one’s purse.

But this price point and durability render those arguments moot. If you, too, are missing the feel of the TUL Marker Pens, grab a box of these. I think you’ll find what you’ve been missing.

(Originally reviewed at Amazon)