Microsoft OneNote is a program I’ve always heard of, but never tried—until this week. Instead of OneNote, I got an EverNote account and had been using it for a couple of years. My use of it was not consistent and my notebooks are really pretty unorganized, but I never really cared because of the robust search function it has.
Things changed when a client of mine brought OneNote up and said she thought it could really help her bring many snippets of information together in one place. She also thought we could use it to maintain her ‘to do’ list—a list that has had several formats over the years and none altogether successful.
So this week, I’ve been doing some tutorials and research on OneNote and I’m ready to start using it for both business and personal use.
I already had OneNote with my Office 2007, so I was ready to go. Microsoft offers a free 60-day trial if you’d like to try it out. The first thing I did was watch a couple videos and then went to Microsoft to do their tutorial. This will be enough to get a firm foundation. If you want a list of all the features, check out this wiki. If you learn better visually, go to YouTube and do a search for OneNote videos. Finally, here’s a Quick Reference Guide from Microsoft that summarizes many features and commands.
Some reasons to use Microsoft OneNote:
- if you are an Outlook user, it integrates well with OneNote – put emails, calendar events or tasks into OneNote with 1-click. It’s an add-on in Outlook. You can also take a note from within OneNote and send it to Outlook as a task.
- Organize your notes—or not. You can be the super-efficient kind of person by labeling your notebooks and sections and being proactive by planning out future notebooks and sections that will be needed in each notebook. OR, you can just dig right in and start putting notes on a page.
- Organize your notes later. Just have OneNote open and start typing anywhere on a page. Perhaps you just got a phone call and need to take notes, but don’t have time to name or start a section. Use this feature and then you’ll see an ‘unfiled notes’ tab. When you’re ready to organize them, simply go there and drag your note to where you want it.
- Don’t worry about saving your notes – anything you type into OneNote automatically gets saved, so if you get called away or have to navigate to another windows, your stuff will be waiting for you.
- Insert files from Word, Excel and PowerPoint
- Tag notes, pictures, etc. for easy finding later. View all your tags periodically from the menu and organize them.
- Insert audio files OR record a meeting and put it in OneNote. Audio notes are searchable too (you’ll need to use a quality microphone for this).
- Scan in documents, business cards- anything. These documents are also searchable.
- Sharing – real time sharing with others
- Share with others – this one is a little trickier because you have to store it in a shared location. A shared location could be a shared folder on your computer or a network location. So you’ll need to know how to set up file sharing, or if you have a server or use Sharepoint, this could work for you. If you decide to share a notebook, start it out right by selecting ‘Shared Notebook templates’, when starting your new notebook.
- Use OneNote with multiple computers – make a change on one computer and it will sync with your other computer (be sure to select ‘I will use it on multiple computers’ when setting up your notebook. Wonder if your notebooks are synced? You’ll see notification icons anytime you sign in.
These are just a few of the many advantages of OneNote. While reading other people’s impressions of OneNote, just about all of them said wish they’d realized the power of OneNote much earlier. If you have it, try it out. In addition to the links I’ve posted, just opening up OneNote will give you a wealth of information. Just choose a couple of things to try out and get started!