Have yourself a merry little Christmas – with OneNote

As you may have guessed, we've gone a bit OneNote crazy in the team.  We love it.  It's just so.... useful.  Leading on from my last post, here are some more thoughts around how OneNote can help you this Christmas.

Whether you’re preparing to celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, or simply looking forward to a mid-winter seasonal break at home (or away), some planning will make everything go more smoothly. Of course you could just write lists in a notebook, bookmark useful sites on your PC, and tear out present ideas and recipes from magazines. But just think how much more useful it would be if you could keep all these bits together in one place.   Microsoft Office OneNote 20007 gives you an infinitely-sized electronic notebook which will provide writing space, storage areas, a calendar, to-do lists, and you can import files from other programs like Word and Excel which you may already have on the go.  Remember - if you've Office 2007 Home and Student you're already good to go.  And if you don't?  You can download a 60-day trial for free, from us here :).

Countdown has started

The first thing to do in your new OneNote notebook is to download a monthly calendar template and number each square for the month of December. (Tip: take off ‘snap to grid’ in the Edit menu so you can position the numbers easily within each square.)  Now you’re ready to add daily items to each box so you can keep track of what you should be doing when. Don’t forget to include last posting dates if you have friends or family overseas. A great feature of OneNote is that you can convert any piece of text to an Outlook appointment or contact using the Tools menu so important information doesn’t get forgotten.


They can be a hassle, but they don’t need to be! Make a new section in your notebook and quickly insert a table from the Table menu. Then you can list all the people to whom you’re going to send cards, together with columns for ‘sent’ and ‘received’ for instance. (Tip: turn the title of the section into a hyperlink from the Insert menu, paste that onto the date on your planner when you’re going to write your cards and the pages will be linked together.)  Next year, you’ll have a ready-prepared list to work from, to which you can add or remove names. If you already have names in a Word or Excel file, it’s even easier. Just drag the file onto the OneNote page, and you’re ready to go.

Recipes and menus

If food and drink is your thing, you probably started thinking about festive victuals in October! Use screen clippings to assemble all your fave recipes in one place, or simply paste the URLs into your notebook. (Tip: if you’re working on something in your notebook and you think of something else, open a new side note window from the Windows menu. You can quickly jot down your thoughts and the note is filed in Unfiled Notes.)  How about scanning that much-loved but dog-eared recipe for Granny’s Christmas pud and inserting it into your notebook? That way you’ll have it forever!

Time to delegate

To make life easier, enlist some help. Choose a to-do list template (from the Format menu > Templates) and list some jobs with names attached. Print it out and distribute it, or email it to everyone involved. (Tip: you can email from inside OneNote by simply clicking the email icon on the toolbar.) Or for children, why not put each task on a separate card and get them to lucky dip for them!  Add a variety of tags from the toolbar to anything in your notebook so you can keep control, and get a list of tagged items from the View menu.

And finally...

A lovely idea is to keep a diary or journal in your notebook of the people and events that made your Christmas special. It’s easy to say you’ll remember, but it’s even easier to forget. Choose a template (from the Format menu) in the Decorative section to make this section stand out, and get everyone to contribute with words, pictures, even audio or video recordings.  Next year you’ll have some memories to revisit and get you in the seasonal spirit once again.

Now where are those decorations...?


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