OneNote – So Why Will I Use It?

OneNote is being given away by Microsoft.

Here’s the link:

So what?  Who care?  Why would I use it?  How would I use it?

Think of this program (for both Mac and Windows) as an information holder and organizer which lets you collect information on a specific topic page by page.

The information can come in the form of images, text, web links, spreadsheets, PowerPoint files, Word files, PDF files and movies and recordings…oh, and did I mention your handwritten notes on a tablet or other pen based computer device?

OneNote will create notebooks that can contain the following:

1) Tabs

2) Pages

3)Media and data entries on each page.

For example, you may want to keep everything about your trip to Italy in a OneNote book.

Step 1 – Create a Trip to Italy OneNote book

Step 2 – Create Tabs for Rome, Palermo, Tuscany and Venice

Step 3 – Create a page for each point of interest in each city.  Each page will be able to photographs for each city.  You can add text fields for each photo, explaining what you did at that location on your trip.  You can add a weblink for a more complete explanation of the site (Sistine Chapel, for example.)

So how have I used it?

I have a tablet (one I’ve had for over two years.)  It is about 10.7 inches in diameter, about the size of a piece of letter sized paper.

I use my tablet to take notes at meetings.  The program that collects those notes as they are written is OneNote.  Here’s a sample of my handwritten note.  I find writing on my tablet to be as natural as writing on legal paper.handwriting.

OneNote will store that handwriting into a notebook as well as a recording of the lecture.  OneNote will then play the lecture/presentation back to you, while simultaneously highlighting your handwritten notes as the recording reaches the point where the note was written.  And then, just when you have finished taking the notes, export them to a Word document where your handwriting has been transformed into an editable Word document. It’s hard to describe, but amazing in its accuracy and its speed.  Here’s the imperfect transcription below:


As you can see, the transcription misunderstood the handwritten 1) of the first note.  Apart from that error, the document was very accurately transcribed and needed just a little more formatting, a process taking all of 5 minutes.

Another use is to create a NoteBook for collecting data elements used to manage a project.  Here are screen shots of data collected for a project identifying various county jail opportunities for a volunteer group I work with and the various areas to be served in each county and showing pages for information related to each county page shown at the top of the notebook.State Image                                   state and data

Photos, text, documents, pdf, hyperlinks to web pages can all be stored on a OneNote page or pages.   Multiple pages can be stored in each tab.  If you have a business, each tab could represent an office or a client.  Pages could store information on the branches or clients including spreadsheets for each month, documents of note in Word or PDF format and photographs/images of key players.

Perhaps even more impressive is how college students are using the power of OneNote to record lectures, collect data for projects and collaboratively use the information they collect to work with other students to get their projects done.

Think about it – you no longer have paper photos.  They’re digital now.  You know longer send handwritten notes, you send a Word document.

The scrapbooks and portfolios and notes we’ve created in the past are replaced by tablets, notebooks, smartphones and OneNote.  Even the humble grocery list can be a OneNote file which you can use to shop with wherever you have your cell phone.

Oh, and one more thing.  OneNote creates a duplicate of your file on your Microsoft OneDrive.  This means that you can access the information wherever your Windows phone, Android phone or Apple phone is located, with all copies being updated from the file being worked on.

More guest posts will be sent out showing how other people are using OneNote.

Think about it and comment on how you could use this free program.  Any concerns about its ease of use?  Comment below.




A New Look for a New Office

*Disclaimer – I am part of a group of Microsoft Office users who enjoy the product and enjoy getting the word (or Word) out about it.  I collaborate with Microsoft and other users to better understand the software they are developing  for Office and the hardware it will work within.

One Office Just recently, Microsoft announced its One Drive cloud file storage service (formerly known as SkyDrive.)  As part of the redesign, Microsoft introduced an elegant format for the online Office components called Office One, formerly known as Office Web Apps.  For those of you not familiar with SkyDrive or Office Web apps, these are free services/applications available to subscribers to Hotmail, Live and Outlook e-mail accounts.

So what does free get you?  Well, look at the screen above.  For no cost you have access to the web versions of Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Outlook , Microsoft PowerPoint and Microsoft OneNote, in addition to your online calendar and contacts.  When you have set up your free e-mail account, you access your Office Online by typing .

Whether you have an account or not, the above link is the starting point. Using an existing Hotmail, Live or Outlook  e-mail address and the associated password,  you can just sign in.  Without an account just click on the See all Office options button to access the subscription link to create a free account.

Just a few key points:

1) These online versions of the Microsoft Office software are closer to Microsoft Office software located on computers than any other web based office software service (such as Google Drive or Zoho Office suite.)  There is very little the Office Online program suite can’t do (I’ll talk about each Online Office app in future posts.)  While not quite as powerful as their Office365 counterparts, these Online programs provide 90% of the functions of the desktop versions and will be able to handle with ease almost all tasks thrown at them.

2) These programs come with templates.  Instead of making you start from scratch, Microsoft includes and abundant selection of templates for you to use, so you don’t have to recreate a wheel (more on that later.)

3) All of these programs will save the files they create to your One Drive.  The data is saved automatically and you don’t have to worry about hitting the “Save” command.  As long as you can connect to the web, you can get your files.

4) All files you create can be opened by various versions of Microsoft Office which is on your computer.

5) You can view and edit your documents on your computer, your tablet, or your phone – web access is all that’s needed.  I’ve tried it on Android and IPad and it works as promised.

Is Microsoft Office key to being useful in today’s workplace?  I think so.  Right now, companies are placing a high value on fluency in Office technology.  Each person I work with is expected to use Outlook, Excel, Word and PowerPoint to get their job done and to communicate clearly and effectively.  Here’s a link to a research showing just how important this is:  Having Office technology for free can be very empowering.

Elegance is simple, easy to understand, consistent and captures attention and thoughts with ease.  This new Office Online is elegant.

Where to begin…

I’ve been hanging around technology for at least 35 years and have been laughed at because of it, have cursed it under my breath and have had a lot of fun using it.  Sort of like a lot of my other friends.  The thing about technology is that it is changing (again, like my other friends.)  Technology is a great platform from which to explore new concepts.  The concepts that are most strange are usually the ones that are years ahead of their time.

History and me…

It’s also interesting to see how technology evolves and to see how I’ve changed with the technology.  At one time I was a programmer (using a Commodore 64 and then an Apple IIc.)  Thankfully, I outgrew that and became an end user.

The PCs, laptops and tablets I’ve owned or used include Commodore 64, Apple IIc, IBM compatible AT, Sony VAIO, HP Media Center, Dell Core I3 laptop, HP 6 core desktop, Gateway Core i5, Samsung 7 10″ tablet running Windows 8.1,  IPad, Windows Surface.  All of these computers are over three years old now (except for my son’s Surface.) All my current computers run fine with nary a complaint.  Sad to say, some have gone to that great technology burial site called Goodwill (they recycle old technology.)

My operating systems have included DOS, DRDOS, Windows 3.1, Windows 95, Windows ME, Windows XP, Windows Vista, Apple IOS, Windows 7, Windows 8 and Windows 8 RT and now Windows 8.1 and Windows 8.1 RT.

My portable technology has included a Handspring Visor,  HP Pocket PC, multiple Trac phones, three Virgin Mobile Androids and now a Lumia 1020 for work.

My cameras included a film based Yashica SLR film camera, a Casio camera (1.3 megapixel), a Fuji camera (7 megapixel), a Canon 8 megapixel camera, a Canon DSLR 12 megapixel camera and my phone – a Lumia 1020 with 41 megapixels.

My software has include multiple office suites (Lotus AmiPro, Quattro Pro, Presentations) , Google Docs, Open Office, Libre Office, and most currently Office 365 (and Web Office.)

Microsoft and me…

I’m a fan of Microsoft technology, having tested it and used it almost every day for the past 30 years.  Microsoft has been the foundation for hardware and software companies and has had its hand in almost every facet of technology used today.

The rest of me…

Over a 35 year technology life span, I’ve worn out a lot of equipment.  I’ve also made technology last with incremental improvements in hard disk drives, video cards, sound cards and memory.

What I sense is that our technology is lasting longer and longer and it’s not necessary to buy new hardware more  often than once every 5 years.

I enjoy writing, reading, music making and music listening, taking photographs, thinking and imagining and learning.  The Bible fascinates me.

In the coming posts, I intend to talk about and have other guests talk about using technology to accomplish the things which help make life more meaningful.  These topics will include things like Windows 8.1, Office 365 (and other suites), voice dictation, web browsers, phone technology, tablets, web based applications, cloud storage, mobile technology and trends like social networking, wearable technology, security software and health technology.

You and me…

I hope you will be ready to enjoy some of what’s going on in technology and share some of your thoughts as I share mine.

Best regards!