Microsoft OneNote − I’m Nuts About It!

Microsoft OneNote is an ingenious toolAlmost everyone involved with rollouts know how hard it sometimes is to change organization’s working culture. I’m myself an active user of Microsoft OneNote; the program is constantly open and I use it both at work and at home. Even this blog post was first written in OneNote. Yet it still sometimes feels like I’m talking to walls when I try to make my collegues to understand how excellent OneNote is and get them to use it. On the other hand, I remember when OneNote was introduced to me and I still persistently used Notepad and other programs instead for quite a while. I gathered here some of OneNote features I find priceless in the hope of this ingenious program helping other people’s lives as well.

OneNote is a combination of user-friendliness and versatility.

The first mind-opening realization about Microsoft OneNote was that you don’t have to save the content separately, but all is saved automatically! Even if you try real hard to remember to save for example Office document, it is easily forgotten at some point and if some time has passed from the last autosave, then it really is frustrating to write all the things again if the program crashes.

Another feature worth mentioning is speed! No longer waiting every document or other file to open or constantly searching for files from multiple places before you can even consider of opening it. In OneNote all the notebooks with sections and pages are visible on the side of the program so moving from section or page to another is really fast and easy.

Third special feature in Microsoft OneNote is genuine collaborative use. Sure Office Web Apps make it possible to edit word processing files at the same time, but it is not possible to edit the same chapter at the same time. That makes it impossible to write for example meeting minutes simultaneously. OneNote allows several users to write simultaneously in the same section and all users’ displays are automatically updated in the background. There is not much delay when you already see updates of the other user. Unfortunately, the automatic updates don’t yet work in mobile use.

OneNote is a combination of user-friendliness and versatility. Previously I used to write quick notes in for example Notepad, but the editing possibilities of Notepad are almost zero. It is just as easy and fast to write notes to OneNote and there is a right amount of editing tools as well.  The application works great with touchscreen devices and you can write notes also with touchscreen’s pen and tablet computer. You can even anchor the content of a page to the side of your screen. That way you can see your text, images and other content all the time even though you might want to change the application open in the bigger part of you screen. You can share your products via Outlook to you collegues or send notes in an e-mail to a customer. Outlook integration works smoothly and sensibly.

Page layout options are close to nothing so official minutes or text requiring hanging indents is hard to produce. But as long as you keep the limitations in mind, Microsoft OneNote is a great tool for notes, memos, task lists, saving web pages, lists, etc. If one application is a little big program, it is OneNote. And how poorly known and overlooked it is! It is easy, fast and saves data automatically. What else can you wish for in an application?

Anu Nevalainen

Positive things happen to positive people.

  • Everett wood

    I am a new user and love it so far. The only problem i see is reminders. I need to have a way to remind me of projects or appointments.

    • Anu Nevalainen

      Hi Everett, it’s good to know there are other OneNote fans out there. Reminders would be handy in many occasions for sure. Only way to have some sort of prompt is to use Outlook task tags and those aren’t really reminders, rather implications. Did you already check out my next blog post which includes a lot of tips on how to use OneNote?