OneNote Wonders – Discovering the Greatness of Microsoft OneNote

Microsoft OneNote is fabulous, yet often over-looked program. In this article, I am going to highlight some of the features and uses of OneNote.

1. Organize your “stuff.”
The core strength of OneNote is its ability to help you get and stay organized. You will love that you can store, tag and manipulate just about anything, such as pictures, text, digital handwriting, and even voice.
One of the best things about OneNote is that you can write anywhere on a page and/or move each note box anywhere on a page. Not only that, but you can drag and drop whole pages, sections, and even notebooks.
It is very easy to take screenshots of websites or documents. The only caveat is that the screenshot is automatically saved as an unfiled note instead of directly to the page you are currently working on. (It’s not really a big thing though – it’s easy to move it to where you need it to be.)
You can create Microsoft Outlook tasks directly from OneNote and vice versa. You can also send info back and forth between OneNote and Microsoft word, as well.
OneNote syncs with mobile devices so you can access OneNote from anywhere. You can send pictures or text from wherever you are direct to OneNote and ensure that you never forget or lose that valuable piece of information.

2. Tag and search.
OneNote has a powerful search function that allows you to find what you need quickly and painlessly. You can easily search by tag; however, if you need to find something you didn’t tag, you can easily search by word or phrase.
Tags are a great way to keep track and find your important messages, notes, and to-dos. The tags are also customizable, so you can change, create or delete tags at whim.
You can also create a summary page of all your tagged notes to keep them organized and easily accessible. You’ll love this! By creating a summary page of all your tagged notes, you’ll be able to see all your tagged items at once.

3. Set your privacy settings.
Working on a group project with clients, associates or other groups? No problem. OneNote allows you to store notebooks in a shared location or SharePoint site, so everyone has access to the notebook at the same time. Every time someone adds takes away or modifies the notebook in any way, it is immediately and automatically updated for everyone.
Want to share a note page with someone who doesn’t have OneNote? No problem. You can easily email a note page directly from OneNote. The note is either sent as an HTML attachment or sent in the body of the email.
Want to keep a notebook, page or section for your eyes only? No problem. You can easily create password-protected sections or notebooks to ensure privacy. Keep in mind, though, if you forget or lose your password Microsoft can not retrieve it. So write the password down and keep it in a safe place, just in the case!

4. Side note.
Another handy feature of OneNote is “Side Note.” Side Note acts like a “sticky note” where you can jot down snippets of information, ideas or things you want to remember without having to keep OneNote open all the time. Side Note is unobtrusive and hides under your other windows until you need it.
You can use it to do a quick “drag & drop” for website links during research projects, type in a quick note to yourself as a reminder, or use is to keep your to-do list in a safe place that won’t get lost! All the information is automatically added to the unfiled notes section of OneNote for you to organize later.

5. Other features.
A fun thing you can do is create page templates to change the look and feel of your notebooks or to create a customized template to suit your needs.
Other features include automatic save and back up of your notes, basic calculator functions, ability to create drawing and tables, insert files as printouts, and the ability to attach files to your notes.

6. Ideas for use.
The ways you can use OneNote are endless. The trick is to use OneNote and its features in a way that best serves you. To get your ideas flowing, though, I’ll tell you a little about how I Use OneNote.
Each client (and potential client) gets his or her password-protected notebook. Each section contains all the projects and pertinent information related to that client. Whenever I have a brainstorming session or phone call with a client, all the notes, ideas and suggestions get sorted into the appropriate section or page.
I also have notebooks for marketing, writing (ideas & drafts of articles, blog posts, ebooks, etc.), resources to check out or remember, a notebook for private personal use, a notebook related to training and continuing education, a notebook of my wish list and vision board, a miscellaneous notebook for stuff that doesn’t fit into other notebooks and a few other kinds of notebooks.

I encourage you to give OneNote a try, and just see if you don’t get hooked on it! If you don’t have OneNote as part of your Microsoft Office Suite, you can download the free trial here.

John Abrams is a technical expert, he has written technical blogs, manuals and reviews for many websites such as