OneNote  - A Nifty New Application for Microsoft Office

                   Seems like only yesterday when Microsoft released Office XP.  But now a new version, called Microsoft Office System 2003, is available.  The word “System” is in the product name because the emphasis of this release is on collaboration in the workplace for instance using SharePoint Services and XML.  Microsoft Office OneNote 2003, the focus of this NextWave article, is a new member of the Microsoft Office System although it can be used as a standalone application.

                OneNote provides a way to get rid of “all of those little pieces of paper” and even more importantly get rid of the trusty legal pad by providing one place to store all of your notes.   And as a by product of diligent usage, it is also a way to improve the human memory with its ability to quickly retrieve information later.

                OneNote is not the first program to allow you to enter and search for free-form notes.  Personal Information Manager (PIM) programs such as InfoSelect permit you to do this.  Specialized databases such as Ask Sam have this capability.  And Contact Management programs like GoldMine permit entry and search of free-form notes using its InfoCenter feature.

                So what is different about OneNote?  First off, the recording of notes is all it does.  It is not an added feature.  Along with the novel user interface which we will get to in a moment, the thing that sets OneNote apart is the way it lets you take notes.  OneNote is a note-taking program.

                Here are some of the things that OneNote does and how it works.

bullet

Enter in notes about anything.  Record knowledge as you learn it.  Take notes at a meeting or presentation.  Gather research material from Encarta Encyclopedia, various research web sites, etc.

bullet

Can type in notes, hand-write notes, make sketches, audio record them using your computer’s microphone, or copy them in from web pages and other digital documents.  Can put them anywhere on the page.  Rather than using a legal pad, putting them in OneNote initially avoids having to retype them later or not capturing them electronically at all.  You can synchronize typed notes with the audio recording of a meeting or presentation and use your notes as an index to access the audio recording.

bullet

Permits you to be more spontaneous getting notes in.  Your notes can be organized later.  A Notebook can first be organized by Folders if you wish.  Each folder has user definable Section tabs going across the top and user definable Page tabs going down the right side of the screen.  As you switch sections, a new set of page tabs appear allowing you to find information fast.  You can also add Sub-Pages to pages.

bullet

You use “Note Flags” (standard and custom) to mark a note for follow-up or to help organize it more easily later.  You can flag notes with shapes, text color, or highlighting, so as to prioritize action items and important information.

bullet

If you wish, you can enter notes in a vertical or horizontal outline format simply by pressing the tab key.  You can insert headings for each level and expand or collapse the text below it as well as the level itself.

bullet

By clicking on the “N” icon in your task tray, you can quickly open a miniature OneNote window whenever you want to take a quick side note while you're working in other programs. Can reuse note pages, sections, etc in other Office 2003 programs including PowerPoint and Word.

bullet

Can perform full-text searches of your notes using the Boolean AND, OR, and NEAR operators.  Can use quotation marks to match exact phrases.  Can limit search by age of notes and sections of notebook.

bullet

You can share your OneNote files in a variety of ways. Can put OneNote files on a network share and allow many people to access them.  File locks are at the Section level so if you happen to be working on a page in a particular section, another user will only be able to read them until you leave the section.

bullet

Can share them via email easily if you have Outlook 2003.  OneNote automatically converts the notes to HTML and puts them into the message body so that even recipients who don’t have OneNote installed on their computer can read them.  But, you can still copy and paste or attach a section file as an attachment with any e-mail client.

bullet

Can publish them as HTML web pages simply by clicking Publish on the File menu and selecting the destination.  Can edit these pages using FrontPage.

bullet

Can put into a document library on Windows SharePoint Services in the native OneNote format.  OneNote is designed for collaboration with its built-in shared workspace task pane to see other workspace members.

bullet

Choose a style of paper for a notes page in OneNote—for example, lined, graph, or blank.

bullet

If you have a notebook computer attached to a network, you can work offline or on different computers by using Windows Explorer to select the My Notebook folder and then on the “File” menu, choose “Make Available Offline.” 

bullet

Each section of your notebook is a separate file on your computer that has a .one extension.  These section files are stored in folders and subfolders within the My Notebook folder which in-turn is stored within the My Documents folder.  You never need to save data.  OneNote saves itself periodically and upon exit and makes an archival backup copy that it can revert to if the original file is damaged.

                The requirements for OneNote are as follows.  Microsoft Office 2003 is not needed to use OneNote but you do need Outlook 2003 if you want to create tasks from OneNote or email notes directly.  The application requires Windows 2000 with Service Pack 3 or Windows XP.  You do not need a tablet pc but it is well designed for use with the Tablet Edition of Windows XP.  On a desktop pc, a pen input accessory is best for sketching but you can use your mouse.  OneNote has enhanced capabilities that enable people using Tablet PCs to handwrite notes or draw diagrams with “digital ink”.  Digital Ink treats handwriting as if it were text, such as permitting the ability to search handwritten notes and can convert them to text.  Handwritten notes can be entered into a pc running the regular version of Windows XP but they are simply stored as an image, not as digital ink.

                OneNote can be purchased anywhere Microsoft Office is sold.  List price is $199.  There is a $100 mail in rebate for customers that own almost any version of Microsoft Office or Microsoft Works.  If your company is entitled to purchase Volume licenses, there is a promotion offering a 50% discount if you purchase before September 1st of this year.

        Get organized!  Get One Note!

                                                                     

                                                                           Copyright 2013 Beachwood Systems Consulting, Inc.    *    216-823-1800