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Slightly Different Recipe Organizing Software Questions

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
My library of original recipes is getting pretty large. Some are written in MSWord, some in WordPerfect, and many are duplicated as pdf files.

At some point all the word processing files will be converted to the same program for consistency sake, but I'm not in a hurry because I'd rather continue working in Word Perfect, but know that MSWord is the lingua franca of word processors.

To do that, I'd like to track of a lot of paramters, including name, principle ingredient(s), principle technique(s), place in the meal (app, dessert, etc.), difficulty level, file format, "tag" terms, and probably a few other things that aren't leaping to mind.

I'm thinking regular spreadsheet or db (I've got
Access and File Maker Pro). The simpler the better.

Programs like Master Cook with thousands of its own recipes, and/or which want to format the information -- rather than simply manage it -- are right out. I really don't want to have to wade through numerous collections to get to my own stuff; and don't want to convert the recipes to a recipe program or db template format. I just want to be able to manage what I've got in its current various forms, with the flexibility to handle any mischief I may get into later.

Ego will remain leashed and muzzled. All ideas will be considered and help gratefully accepted.

post #2 of 22
While not a recommendation, I was converting pdf to text on saturday for much the same reasons as what you're doing and found a handy tool. But I'm in linux at the moment and can't remember the name of the Windows tool. I'll post again from windows later and say what it was. It was a slick little program and puts the info back into an editable form for better re-use.

Only failed on two pdfs out of many.
Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
post #3 of 22
Ahh here we go.
Free PDF Text Reader - Free software downloads and software reviews - CNET

As noted, it does best with straight text. I've got a couple of pdf that were in columns. It converted them in columns still, but that's some editing rework later on to clean them up. It's ok, I didn't want the column info anyway.
Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
post #4 of 22
Thread Starter 
Sounds nice and convenient, not to mention a good failsafe for lost or accidentally deleted .doc or .wp files -- providing you still have the pdf somewhere (which apparently happens to you as well). Me want.

Speaking of .pdf, I'm using Foxit instead of Adobe. It's good.

post #5 of 22
I've been on foxit for a few years. The initial versions were much smaller and faster but feature bloat is starting to catch up with them.
Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
post #6 of 22

Fortunately, you do NOT have to "wade through" the recipes included with Mastercook!

Mastercook includes a "Collections" manager which allows for "hiding" cookbooks that you are not currently referencing. Additionally, you may create one or more cookbooks of your own that will include ONLY recipes that you put in the one or more cookbooks.

Come to think about it, you do NOT have to even install the cookbooks included with Mastercook, although the one empty cookbook titled My Cookbook is essential to the operation of Mastercook. BTW, I NEVER use My Cookbook and I use the collection manager to "hide" it.

If you do install the cookbooks, they are easily hidden from everyday use and can be reopened with a few key clicks.

Mastercook does NOT format your recipes, you do that when you put them in. There are specific sections for: title, description, servings, yield, ingredients, directions, notes, source, copyright, etc.

Except for the ingredient list and the ingredient section of recipes, everything is pretty much "freeform". There are some fairly rigid ways of handling ingredients as to units, quantities, names, volumes, weights, etc., primarily for nutritional analysis.

Mastercook imports text files that are in a specific structure as well as XMTL files, especially if you use McTagit and, for those who "browse the web" with FireFox, there is an add-in called RecipeFox that can capture many on-line recipes with a single key click.

There is also an "Import Assistant" that allows cut & paste of text to be selected and assigned to the appropriate recipe section.

One of the neat features of Mastercook 8.0 and 9.0 is the inclusion of a PDF version of "Food for Fifty", a cookbook of "Food for Fifty" recipes, and a PDF of "On Cooking", not that you'd need these ;)
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
post #7 of 22
Mastercook also lets you attach a photo of the recipe if you want.
post #8 of 22


Ditto what Chef McCracken said.

I almost never use the built-in recipes with MC.

I've created my own "Cookbook" and I use it exclusively for filing new recipes and referencing, in a gazillion ways, my existing recipes.

No need to re-invent the wheel.

post #9 of 22
Actually, not only recipe photo, but you can also embed photos within the direction steps
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
post #10 of 22

Does it work with Win7?


I'm new to these boards. I began learning to cook, from the very basics, a little more than a year ago and have accumulated a large number of recipes in that time. I wasn't aware there was a recipe software available until I read this thread. When I checked online for the software it appears that v.9 is the newest software but doesn't list Win7 as an operating system. Is anyone using it with Win7?


post #11 of 22
Thread Starter 

Two (2), Yes, Count Them, Two (2), Things

Win 7 Compatability:

Mastercook is based on a 16 bit core, and Win 7 doesn't support anything less than 32 bit very happily. However, I understand that the two will work together with a little fooling around -- which may be more trouble than you'll think it's worth. You'll probaby have to do some research to get a good sense of that, but meanwhile take a look at this and see if it's enough to help you make up your mind. Customer Discussions: MasterCook compatibility with Windows 7?

It wouldn't actually be sufficient for me, and were I in your shoes my next step would be to contact Valu-Soft (Mastercook's publisher) and ask.

While Mastercook may well be the best of the bunch in every other way, it's my impression there are other recipe programs with similar functionality built around 32 bit cores.

Me and Mastercook -- Not What I'm Looking For

It's undoubtedly a splendid program, but Mastercook is not the right one for me. My bad, I'm sorry to have been so unclear. I'm looking for software to manage my recipe related word processing and pdf files; not software to which I can import the data and have it format it for me. My mentioning other Mastercook features I didn't want was apparently more confusing still.

My own (admittedly peculiar) needs are not centered around cooking or recipes per se, but around writing, editing and on-line sharing. All I want to do is assign a variety of parameters to my existing recipe doc (Word), wpd (Word Perfect), and pdf files, in order to help manage them (including search, sort, and keep track of revisions) that way.

"File" and/or "Document management software" -- that's the ticket. If only the magic words had come to me before posting.

Thanks for the Mastercook endorsements. It's obviously the favorite among a bunch of people I respect; and if it were anything at all like what I wanted I'd buy it first.

post #12 of 22
Then you probably want something along the lines of code management software. A search of freeware cvs brings this up as a promising link but I have no experience with the specific software.

CS-CVS freeware download - CS-CVS - CVS client for Windows. - Best Freeware Download

There are others and if you have a linux box, you'll have more choices. If you have a linux box, you use it as a server and use a windows client to enter data and interface with the management system.

I was once trained in a nightmare business documentation tool called OPENDocs.

You can enter keywords into your files in Windows through the file properties window. MS desktop search can dig through those tags for you . This might be enough for what you're doing if you create a tagging and file hierarchy system and stick to it.

A tool to set file properties en masse would be handy for that. I don't know of a tool for that.
Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
post #13 of 22
This bit of freeware might to the keyword tagging and management in a useful way.

Download MetaEdit 0.8 Freeware

again, no experience with it, just a google hit.

What can I say, I'm a nerd and my career has been technical documentation for software companies. Strange what an English degree will buy sometimes.
Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
post #14 of 22
Thread Starter 
Thanks Phatch. I'll try it. It looks like MS One Note might work as well -- although I've never used it.

If neither does the trick, and no one else comes up with something better, I might try putting something together myself using db software -- but talk about last resort.

Thanks again,
post #15 of 22
boar d laze, you have helped so many on CT maybe this might be of some help to you. The following is a reply to a similar thread last week. The program mentioned can do a lot of different things, you can set up each recipe with different key words to make locating those recipes easier. Personally I don't bother with the key words because the text search is fast. The big thing about mytreedbnotes is the flexibility, you can have no structure for entering your recipe just a blank page like windows notepad, or you can create your own templates to enter info the way you want it structured. Also read where I had a failure and all my files were ok even though I couldn't open the primary, the myTDBn does auto back beautifully.

You can download the free trial version and use it for as long as you like to see if it works for you. You can import all your text recipes with the folder structure used in the tree.

I hope this is a possible solution.
I used to use text notes via windows notepad, I had lots of folders like :

with the individual note pad recipe in the appropriate folder. But eventually things got a little difficult because I would store the recipe and then have difficulty locating a specific recipe because I forgot the name and it may have been a shrimp recipe but it was actually a shrimp salad filed under salads.

Thus I needed a program that would allow me to use pictures, import my text files, be free form since that is the way I like to work, plus I wanted it for all my internet browsing for other topics, i.e. bbq & smoking meat, or I'm a serious poker player so things I learned about poker, store all my online access info (passwords, email addr, account info, etc.), how about contact management, and other projects.

The answer for me was TreeDBNotes Pro - Notes, Contacts and Password Manager. I used the trial free version for about 2 months and liked it, and paid the $34.95 price.
Years ago I used to use a great program, NYC "Now Your Cooking" . It sells for $30 for free upgrades, it does so many things for the cook, including helping you shop more efficiently. In fact it was too much.

If you just want to store your favorite recipes, plan special meals, jot some notes, then myTreeDB is a better solution. PLUS, great support, and a support forum that can provide some help if you need it. I have been using myTreeDBnotes for about a year, no problems, however just this past week, something happened on my computer and I'm not sure what, but everything is acting very slow. Well mytreedbnotes died, I couldn't open any of the 4 or 5 DBs that I have. So I had to reinstall the DB application, but after install it would not open my DBs in the main DB folder. AGONY, a couple of thousand recipes gone......... NO! I had the DB program setup for autobackup on another hard drive, there were all my DBs safe, and I just loaded a backup and saved it as the original and back in business.

Below is an image of TreeDBnotes this tab is for planning a special event meal, and over the coarse of the year I collect ideas then make my decisions.

Using the same program, I store all my internet security info. I run a web site, and forum with 2 backups on different sites, and all the login/setup/technical info is all in this DB program. You can store various types of documents, like word, excel. The program has its own table and text formating if you want to use that. BUT the real thing is SEARCH, I now can search on a key ingredient or name and find everywhere it is listed, in the DB.
post #16 of 22
BDL, Thanks for the info. I think you are right, Mastercook doesn't appear to be the right software for me. I tried the Works database program but inputting all the information would take forever, especially since I'm adding new recipes regularly.

Deltadude, it sounds like your system and style of recipe keeping is very similar to mine. I tend to recall I have a great recipe but can't remember the exact name. I've looked at the link you provided for TreeDBNotes and would like to try it but is doesn't list Win7 as an os. Are you running Win7?

post #17 of 22
Windows 7 should be downward compatible with XP for most programs. There is a XP compatibility mode that you can select in Windows 7 if you have any problems. Your right TDBN doesn't have Win 7 listed as an OS but I have read in the support forum where users are using Win 7 successfully.

You can always d/l the trial version and work with that until you are comfortable. The trial version does everything the full version does except the Password Manager and Contacts manager, using TDBN for just recipes should be NO problem.
post #18 of 22

Absolutely right, it won't hurt to d/l it and see if it works. Thanks for your help.
post #19 of 22
Thread Starter 
Oops. Double posted, and this one was a fragment.

Just tryin' to say "Ta luvs and lads,"
post #20 of 22
Thread Starter 

Thanks Everyone

Thanks everyone for all the input so far. I'm thinking about all of the relevant suggestions -- you can probably smell the burning hair. When I've got something that works, I'll get back to you.

Love you madly,
post #21 of 22

another one..

if you wnat to manage documnets in different formats, with tags ans such have a look at Calibre
its an open source ebook managment software, but it can handle just about any file you throw at it, and exports to any file, and to any device, allows for tags and metadata.
post #22 of 22
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the heads-up and the link. Calibre like just what the doctor ordered. Uninstalling file maker pro, which didn't work for me, defragging and D/L as I right.

As you both said and implied, Calibre [or seems to be[ an organizing db with utility going well beyond ebook libraries. Wonder why they "market" it (OK, give it away) as e-book specific. Niche creation do you think?

Any relation to the non-alcholoic, obnoxious "beer" of the same name? Let's hope not.

Thanks again,
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