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.




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