Much of the data you work with each day probably gets stored electronically in some way: you save appointments, meetings, and contacts in Outlook and you likely manage lists and other key data in an Excel worksheet or Word table. How do you handle the stacks of data that doesn’t fit into the most popular Microsoft Office programs? What’s the best way to handle notes from meetings, brainstorming sessions, classes, project planning, Post-It notes pasted to your monitor, important hand-written text, and “where do I store this?” nuggets. How can you search this collection of notes and content? Try OneNote.
OneNote is a place to create, gather, store, and search notes. A note can be almost anything you want it to be—a typed line of text, a sketch, an audio or video clip, a picture, a link to a web page or file—you get the idea. Even if you have never heard of OneNote or used it before, it’s likely hanging out on your computer just waiting for you to discover this “secret” Microsoft Office tool.
In OneNote, you use different containers to define the organizational levels, with the top-level container being the notebook. The different types of OneNote “information containers” are:
OneNote includes sample notebooks to highlight OneNote features. Rather than trying to modify this existing notebook, you’ll want to create your own. Although the interface varies with your version of Microsoft Office, in OneNote 2016, OneNote 2013, and OneNote 2010, you create a new notebook with File > New. Most of the options are fairly clear but make sure to watch closely when you choose how you want to use the notebook: on your computer, the Web, within your OneDrive account, in Sharepoint, or a network. A OneNote notebook might be just for your own use or shared by a group or team. You can even send out an e-mail to others with notebook-sharing information.
In keeping with the virtual idea of a functional notebook, it’s important to impose some kind of order on all these pieces of information. Within each notebook, the second level of organization is the section, which is represented by a tab along the top of the notebook. You can use the sections to organize the notebook’s topic or theme into smaller subjects. You can create as many sections as you need although it may be harder to read each tab name as the number of sections grows. To create a new section, click on the + tab or Create a New Section tab (varies by version), or right-click an existing section and choose New Section.
If you have access to OneNote, launch the program and take it for a tour. Dig into the sample notebook and create one of your own (you can always delete it later). Other features to explore in OneNote:
See for yourself how OneNote can help you further organize your office, school, or home life.
By Dawn Bjork, MCT, The Software Pro®
Microsoft Certified Trainer, Technology Speaker, Software Consultant