How You Can Use Free Software To Organize Your Recipes Offline

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Image courtesy of Stocksnap at Pixabay.

Here are ways to use free software options you can use to organize those recipes… and even get rid of all those little bits of paper and loose clippings you’ve gathered up over the years.

  • Use an opensource Office Suite such as LibreOffice
  • Put your recipes into Joplin, a free information management software

Which one would work best for you?


If you’re used to working in Word or Wordperfect, LibreOffice can be a good choice for you, since it’s similar to work with.

If you’re familiar with Evernote, but don’t want the upgrade to the premium version for more features or storage capacity, then you’ll find Joplin very attractive.


1. Here’s One Way To Organize Your Recipes With LibreOffice Suite

LibreOffice Writer is free and open source for anyone to use. It’s similar to Word and WordPerfect to work with, but with fewer restrictions. Yet, like Word it is part of a complete office suite.


Here’s How You Can Set It Up

  • First open up LibreOffice Writer.
  • Set up a page or document to be an index for your recipe files.
  • Save each recipe in it’s own file and put links to these files in the index page. You can save your recipes in a wide variety of file formats. You’ll be able to access them as long as you have appropriate software program to open that file type on your computer.
  • In put your recipes –
      • Type them in and save as .odt files, in LibreOffice.
      • You can scan in your recipes using a scanner. And
      • you can even take a picture of it with your smartphone and upload it to your computer as an image file.
      • You can also copy and paste webpage urls into the index, if you desire. Just remember you’ll have to go online to access those recipes via the url.
  • Be sure to gather them together into folders to keep it organized.
  • Link each recipe file to your index page.
  • In your index page you can add descriptions for your recipes and also arrange them in categories with headings for each, to make it easy to find your favorites.
  • To access a recipe from its link in the index press Ctrl + click on the link with your mouse.


LibreOffice can work with a wide variety of file formats including MS Word, Wordperfect and many others.

LibreOffice is free to download and to use. You can access your files from desktop, and using their app for android and iphone. The portable app is read only.


II. An Introduction to Joplin For Recipe Organizing

You might say that I left the best to last, but that’s a matter of preferences. This approach happens to be my personal favourite.

Joplin is free to use and available for download online. It’s opensource meaning you can access the code. Once you’ve downloaded and installed it, you’re not dependent on cloud access or wifi. You can store all your recipes wherever you like.

It’s also rather simple to use, at the basic level and you can actually do a lot with it.

How To Use Joplin To Organize Your Recipes

First, think about how you would like to sort your recipes. I like to arrange them into groups based on meals i.e. breakfast, lunch, supper, snacks and special occasions. Then set up a main notebook for recipes with a sub-notebook for each meal type.

In Joplin, you can create multiple layers of sub-notebooks so you can break those categories down into smaller ones such as meat dishes, casseroles, soups, etc. if you wish.

Then simply create a new note each time you have a recipe you wish to add to your collection. Navigate to the notebook and then down to the sub-notebook that it belongs in and create a new note.

Then add the recipe.


How To Add Your Recipe To Joplin

1. Type it in.

2. If it’s on paper you can

    • scan it in with a scanner
    • take a picture of it with your smart phone

and upload the image and save it in a file. Then put a link to it in the recipe note.

3. If you find a favourite online and wish to simply go to it on the website you can simply copy and paste the url into the recipe note and link to it.


Whichever method you use, once you have your recipe added in the note then tag it with keywords that will make it very easy to find later on. For example if you add the recipe for this month to your collection here are some tags that would be helpful:  casserole, potatoes, sweet potatoes, dinner, freeze ahead

Adding tags makes it super easy to find recipes using specific main ingredients such as in season produce, meats and so on. If you know someone with special diet needs you can even set up tags for such things as gluten-free, nut free, etc.

You can easily search your whole collection in seconds to find suitable recipes for any meal and main ingredient or special occasion, once you have it set up and have applied suitable tags to each recipe.  No more sifting through cards or loose clippings to find that one special recipe you can’t quite remember the name of.

With Joplin, you can have all your data strictly private and you have no fees, no matter how large your collection grows. You can export notes in a variety of file formats including pdf and html so you can send them in emails and print them easily.

So, there you have it. If you’re most comfortable with Word or Google docs you may prefer the approach described using LibreOffice another word processor software. If you’ve used Evernote, or you know html or markdown then Joplin will be more appealing. Either approach can work. It’s just a matter of choosing one you’re comfortable with and then getting started.

Now, here’s a recipe for the collection.






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