Your first five minutes with OneNote

Being a new type of application has its downsides. On the one hand the field is open and we can define a whole new experience for using a PC. On the other hand, most people who see us for the first time just look at us and say "huh?" and move on. Grr.

We anticipated this problem from the start, which is why we built the little tutorial that comes with OneNote and launches when you first start OneNote 2003. (You can see it in "Help/Microsoft Office OneNote Tour" if you have 2003). That didn't really solve the problem so in SP1 we improved the original lame tutorial and added the "Helpful Tips" section, as well as got more aggressive with providing some pre-made sections and folders so people could see how and what to use the OneNote for. This seems to have helped somewhat, but there are still lot of people who just aren't willing to invest even 5 minutes to see how a new tool could help them. My Dad long maintained that "that internet thing" didn’t have any use to him, so we're going to be realistic about OneNote 🙂

With 2007 we are going at this even more aggressively and also more methodically. We've been trying to narrow down exactly what people think after they start OneNote. The first step is understanding what sort of headspace they are in. They may have downloaded the trial version - in that case they already know something about the application and must have some kind of interest, but the variation is pretty great. They may have heard about it from a friend who was super-positive about OneNote, or they may have just ran into a mention of it somewhere on the net. They may have bought a computer that came with OneNote, and stumbled across it (or maybe they bought the computer because it had OneNote "for free" - we're not too worried about those people understanding our value). They might have bought one of the new versions of Office 2007 that includes OneNote and wondered what this new thing is. There are lots of ways people can end up staring at OneNote when it launches. In any case, we set ourselves a goal that within 5 minutes we should be able to get people excited enough to buy into at least trying OneNote for awhile to actually do work or school or home stuff. If we can do that we are pretty confident we can "keep them". Anything to avoid the shrug and the Close box.

To that end we've designed a new OOBE (Out Of Box Experience). When you start OneNote we'll ask you to choose a notebook type (Student, consultant, lawyer, etc) and that choice will go a long way toward helping us provide a customized experience. The notebook you choose will open with pre-set sections that should make sense to you. Students will see a note book designed to take a semester's worth of notes in various classes, do some shared projects, plus a little fun stuff. Lawyers will see something appropriate, and so on. Maybe even note flags will be customized. We'll see.

OneNote 2007 also comes with a guide notebook (since we support multiple notebooks now). The "OneNote Guide" notebook is a semi-interactive guide written in OneNote itself. That means you get to use the features of OneNote as you learn a bit about how it works and what to use it for. For example, we could talk for a long time about how you can click anywhere on a page in OneNote and type and still not convey what the usefulness of that is or the experience, or we can just have a big arrow and say, "click anywhere, for example here!" We know that many people have a low tolerance for reading explanations and want to cut away to actually try things, so the whole guide is oriented towards trying things. Note flag summaries are much more interesting if you have already got a bunch of note flags on a page for example. The guide also can be tuned for different "audiences". So if you are a student, there is a "for students" section that explains how OneNote can be useful to you as a student. It shows different features than it would show to a lawyer, for example. Not just features either - it talks about situations where OneNote can help.

We’ve been running some "focus groups" recently to fine tune the guide. Each time we have 6-10 regular ol' people come in and sit in a room where we tell them that they’ve just discovered this new application and ask them to start OneNote. Then we just sit back and wait.

With the first focus group we succeeded at our first major goal, which was to explain what OneNote is. We found that without the guide a lot of people couldn’t see the difference between OneNote and a word processor, since the blank page and the fact that you can type and make text bold seemed too familiar. So the guide first tries to introduce the concept of a notebook with organization. It introduces notebooks, sections, and pages, and that went pretty well. We didn’t do too well with our next two goals though, which were to show people what OneNote could do and why it mattered to them.

We made some modifications to the guide to give example scenarios of how you would use OneNote. We also torqued the language around to talk about problems the user might be having and how to use OneNote to solve them, not just what OneNote can do. We took advantage of new features in OneNote to design the guide while simultaneously showing people how useful it can be. For example we have a "Table of Contents" page where lists of links are organized spatially on the page in clusters related to task or activities. We chose this layout specifically to drive home that this isn’t a word processor with a linear organization on the page. These links point off to other pages in the Guide notebook so people learn that a OneNote notebook is sort of like a mini website you can easily make to manage your information. We added a "more cool features" section so people could dive off and gravitate toward what interested them since we had a theory that each person adopts a product not because of the aggregate of its functionality but mainly because it does one or two things they really like, so by offering a smörgåsbord we could get a "bite" on one or more features and they would be sold.

Our second set of focus groups went much better. We asked people to rate the value of the product and their likelihood of using it further and the scores went way up (with a lot of people giving us 5 out of 5 on the ratings). We're still working the whole OOBE though, since it isn't firing on all cylinders for all people yet. Feedback from beta 2 will help a lot.

I would love for you all to share your impressions of OneNote in the first five minutes (if you remember). Also please share what friends or colleagues said about their five minutes, especially if they did not choose to start using OneNote right away.

Comments (59)
  1. Tim Waters says:

    I didn’t "get it" the first 5 minutes.  I installed the demo version, looked at it for a couple of minutes and didn’t use it again till I bought a laptop a couple of months later.  It was based on looking at the website for OneNote that I began to "see the light" so-to-speak.  I never looked at the tutorial until I was already an everyday user (and had purchased a copy of OneNote as the demo had run out).

    IMHO, the demo period is important, I would have never become a user if I hadn’t had the chance to try it out and see for myself.  The OneNote website and reading other users experiences that convinced me to try OneNote again (and then "get it")…

  2. Barry says:


    Great, great piece. Good takeaways for folks who intro tech to teachers. Thanks.

    I don’t actually recall my first five. Something just hit me and it was like riding the bicycle I always wanted, just never knew I wanted it. Not much help to you though.

    I got the chance to demo OneNote for my team, all highly skilled technology integrators in education. Work w/teachers all the time to help them see the power of tech. I started just by using OneNote, showing things I knew were important to our shared work. One of the team leaders freaked out, and not in a good way. "What do you mean you don’t use the file menu? How do you open and close documents? Don’t you use multiple windows to keep all those files open?" I was caught off guard. I had skipped over that the OneNote environment is not file/open/close/new and it really threw her (and the rest of the team). That demo is now infamous, but despite it a couple team members are using it and that team leader has invited me to come demo OneNote in April to another team she leads.

    Can’t wait to get 2007. I’ve got a stack of hand-annotated readings waiting to get scanned in.

  3. rohlrogge says:

    My first five minutes I with the demo was actually spent with the tutorials and I found them informative but it still left me perplexed.  Tutorials based on typical (whatever that means today) usage are very important and even more important, since impatience appears to be a virtue in these days, are links to help screens that are illustrative based on my actual usage at the moment.  In other tutorials are great but not many people have the endurance to spend a lot of time with them and gaining acceptance of an application is linked more strongly today to the immediate help available to guide the user with the infrequently used feature that they just can’t remember how to do it.  OneNOte has tremendous potential if it can change with the times and the technology.  A feature that I find missing, not from OneNote but in the domain of capturing information is in the area of pen scanners.  What appears to be available is interesting but still has many flaws and if I had an effective solution for that process now I would be using OneNote every day.  Look forward to using OneNote for a long time – great job, Chris!!

  4. Hermann Klinke says:

    All you need to to is include this tutorial: You just have to love OneNote after seeing that. My personal rating for OneNote is 50/5 as a long term user.

  5. Steve S says:

    My first 5 minutes with OneNote occurred quite some time after I had bought my first tabletPC, so I came to OneNote with a pretty thorough experience base in Journal.  And that turned out to be a problem, because, by comparison, OneNote simply looked bigger and more elaborate…but not necessarily any better than Journal!  It has taken me some time to appreciate the similarities and differences.  If Microsoft is going to continue to offer Journal as a native part of Windows, then I think that some part of your OOBE has to address this seeming duplication of functionality.  From my perspective, that’s something of a problem, because IMHO, Journal is actually quite a competent application; the difference is nowhere near as stark as, say, Notepad vs. Word.  That issue aside, I think that you’re on the right track, both with the existing "Student Guide" startup in ON 2003 and some of these new approaches for ON 2007.  I particularly like the ON Guide structured as a ON notebook.  Very clever!

  6. Chris Pratley explains improvements developed for new users to OneNote 2007 — the startup wizard…

  7. Chris Pratley explains improvements developed for new users to OneNote 2007 — the startup wizard…

  8. Chris Pratley explains improvements developed for new users to OneNote 2007 — the startup wizard…

  9. The Buzz says:

    Chris Pratley explains improvements developed for new users to OneNote 2007 — the startup wizard…

  10. I’m a OneNote junkie and use it a bunch.

    Please please add a full-blown metatag feature (the note flags are limited in number and require me to go the toolbar each time I want to add one).

    Would be so cool if I could enter a side note with something like, "@ToDo Call Mom" or "@Someday Check out new C# books" and have both @ToDo and @Someday as metatags that would automatically be added.   (btw – i’m a GTD devotee like Scoble).

  11. Paul Hirsch says:

    In my first five minutes with OneNote, I switched to Journal. Well, not really, but sorta. I started using OneNote several years ago on a traditional laptop. I liked it well enough that when I recently purchased a new laptop I bought a Tablet PC with OneNote included. While poking around my new machine I found Journal, which I had never heard of. Eureka, I could do what as a scientist and lawyer I most needed to do and could never figure out how to do in OneNote: download a journal article or a case in PDF, keep the original formating, and mark the text up by hand. And then go back and find it later. I love Journal. I save the Notes in the relevant document folders.

    I have never been able to find an active link to the PDF PowerToy that is often mentioned in MS blogs. So, my question: Has OneNote 2007 incorporated this functionality that already exists in Journal?


  12. John says:

    Hi Chris,

    I use OneNote to store many random pieces of information.. about research, classes, and sometimes financial information. Some of this is quite sensitive information and I would feel much better if it were encrypted (with strong encryption). The password option in OneNote seems to be weak encryption (given the presence of the OneNote password cracker). Perhaps some option setting the encryption key size might be useful. Also, an option encrypting an entire onenote folder and all of the files imported to that folder would be useful.

  13. Thanks for the comments so far. If anyone wants to share what they thought OneNote "was" at first (vs what they understand it to be now) that would be especially cool.

    Dave FourPutt: you can of course just type @ToDo as you mention then use search to find pages that meet the criteria "@ToDo AND @Someday". We’re looking at a more advanced categories capability for the future.

    Paul Hirsch: OneNote 2007 includes a way to print any document into OneNote. if you have a Tablet PC, you can download the free Tablet PC Enhancement Pack and that includes a "Send to OneNote" driver for OneNote 2003. I fear that you might not have been getting the most out of OneNote if you feel that Journal is an equivalent. Note flags, sections and page organization, plus great support for text are big differences between OneNote and Journal among other things. If you are just looking for electronic paper to write on then you are right that Journal does that well.

    John: Onenote uses very strong encryption (168 bit effective 3DES encyption) – as secure as anything available. Cracking tools exist for any password system because they rely on people choosing really bad passwords. The password cracking tools that exist use a brute force method to guess your password – they do not even try to break the encryption as that would take years or decades of continuous trying. So if you use a strong password then you are in good shape. Strong passwords as you know are >8characters in length and use a random mixture of caps, lowercase, numbers and punctuation (to cover at least 10^70 required guesses). The worst passwords are words found in an English dictionary, since cracking tools start there first and they start with the short words (a typical dictionary is just a list of 10^5 words – easy for a computer to run through in an hour). So, don’t use "dog" or "elephant" – that kind of password is cracked in seconds or minutes. Use something like "48fgA3Z;)". Or if that’s too hard to remember, maybe use your license plate plus some punctuation in the middle and at the start and vary the case of the letters. The important thing is to use something from each set of characters to force the cracking tool to expand its search.

    You can also consider using the EFS (encrpyted file system) in Windows XP. This encrypts your whole disk so that no one can see your files. Of course, this is all keyed off your Windows password and that has to be strong as well. The only way around the password problem is to use EFS and use either a smartcard + PIN or a biometric scan (such as a fingerprint scanner to login) to secure your data – those avoid the weak link which is poor choice of password.

  14. Frank Gaeta says:

    I purchased my first tablet PC sometime in Dec. 2002, so not much was out there in terms of software with ink capabilities.  To me OneNote seemed to be just an alternative for Journal (many moons ago).  Then I must have read every ad about OneNote.  Gosh, was I wrong?    

    Immediately using the keyboard and mouse pad for text input gave way to a subtle capability–wait, you mean I can click any place on the page and type away?  That simple click and type anywhere feature made me look at OneNote a bit more curiously since prior note taking experiences in MS Word seemed too restrictive.

    During those first five, I recall sync audio was a ‘must try’ feature.  I recited lines to myself and was impressed just as when MS Word corrected my misspellings for the first few times.  I know that was the first big feature I tried in OneNote, but shared sessions definitely left me in awe; although, I must admit watching my desktop keep up with the little slate was a bit eerie.

    That is about it.  Again, I had viewed various material on OneNote prior to using it for the first five minutes.  It may be the reason why I’ve been a user since.

    Thanks Chris for software with a current pre-release that continues to crash daily yet so kick tail that  I never hesitate to send the error reports and restart OneNote once again.

  15. Ross says:

    I just wanted to thank you for OneNote and all the work you have put into it. I hope that your user experince will encurage people to use this magnificant program.  I’ve been using it on my desktop and laptop since it came out and have been very greatful for all the work you have and countiue to put into this great product It has been a great platform for taking notes in seminary and also aids a bit in sermon prep, and just random jotting down of things. I know that when I have been taking notes in class and others have seen me drawing the diagrams from the board and moving things around they have asked me how I am able to do it, they have been disapointed that they also could not do it for they were using Word or somehting else.

    I am excited by many of the things planed for 2007 version, and can hardly wait for it

  16. Frank Clark says:

    I love the product and have found it interesting. I got it from the start as I was looking for something to do things like this. Even though I use One Note extensively I do find that it has it limitations on formating and when importing data especially in tables.

    I found the first five minutes tutorial in 2003 to be boring and sitting there going ok lets spead this along then puncutated with moments of cool lets do more of that. I also like the ability of being able to import notes form my PPC and I think I have heard that there is going to be a round tripping of this in the future?  I hope I hear right.

    Also I would caution against pigeon-holing poeple to much on startup and looking at creating folder for them. I would have defferent options. Make sure to show the structures and then let them choose and also to be able to choose a limited no additional folders option.

    I say this because I’m a consultant, a student, a researcher, etc… And I have my own ways of doing things and don’t want to be plugged into someone elses system but have flexability.

    As another note I hope you are improving on things because in the current version if you import class lists and try to add check boxes for due dates and the like it’s less than optimal in both Outlook and in One Note.

    Despite is flaws it’s important to remember this is a newer product and is having it’s growing pains and I couldn’t live without it.

  17. Erik Paul says:

    My 1st 5 min. were thus:

    1. inserted a PPT file

    2. searched the file for a specific word in the "PPT"

    3. That didn’t give any results (no OCR).

    4. Added flags to the "PPT" (I need to search thousands of pages of notes for just a couple hundreds of things–I’m a med student)

    5. Ran a notes Flag Summary and only saw the Flag (no images)

    6. Realized that ONE has no OCR

    7.Switched to Journal because it has an OCR.

    1 week later

    1. Came back to OneNote because the note flag search is FAR superior to Journal

    2.  Accepted loss of OCR because MSDN blogs state that it is coming in ONE 2007

    I really didn’t understand, at first, why all of the tabs were different colors.  It seemed a little strange.  I use it alot, however, now.

    I’m dying for the Beta 2 release so that I can get started with some of these awesome features!

    I really appreciate the timely updates!

  18. Stephen says:

    We found that the easiest way to explain One Note to an executive <insert relative intelligence jokes here> was to simply say the following:

    Folder = file cabinet

    Section = Hanging file

    Paper = Paper

    Small paper = staple

    Clearly there is much more in the product, but it helps to answer the question: why use it?

  19. I ran across an ad for the free 30 Day Demo of OneNote. I had a vague notion of what it was, so I downloaded it. I was hooked in the first five minutes. As a pastor and theology student, I find it to be a great way to tuck away reference material which can easily found later with a search. In my first five minutes I figured out it would ideal for this.

    Since then, I’ve discovered the use of shared sessions and use them weekly for brainstorming sessions. I even use it to journal.

    I’ve become a OneNote evangelist and have probably gotten 5-10 others to use it just by showing them how they could use it or by running shared sessions with it. I think the best first 5 minutes experience would be to give a list of examples for different uses that the user can easily browse — which you describe above I think.

  20. Jason says:

    My first impression of one note was confusing. When I first starting playing with the trial I downloaded, I was pretty lost at first. After I found the tips and hints that descrubed how it all worked, I fell in love.

    The one thing that was super annoying, which wasn’t one notes fault, was that every rrtailer I went to to play with a tablet PC had an expired trial of one note. The whole reason I wanted a tablet was for note taking. This stopped me from buying a tablet for over a year. A full license of one note should be given to retailers and have them install it on the tablets. Want to sell more tablets and one note? Give the consumers the ability to play with it at the store. You should make this very clear to the retailers when you ship one note 2007.

  21. Part of the problem is the way OneNote is distributed:

    I played around with the Office 2003 beta of OneNote, but never looked much further than that.  The reason?  Simple: it wasn’t part of the standard Office package and I didn’t get so hooked in the first few minutes that I couldn’t live w/o OneNote.  Since I already knew I wouldn’t get to "keep" one note, why should I make an investment in learning about it?

    I think the Office 2007 packaging will help some, but it’s still not part of any of the business suites (except Enterprise).  Word is not only "good enough", but it’s already paid for.

    It wouldn’t surprise me if you’re hoping that people buy Office Home for their personal use and end up liking OneNote so much that buy OneNote for business use too.  

  22. JWFisher says:

    Chris – this blog *rules*. Keep up the greatwork!

    And get us an update to Beta 1! I’ve already moved all my systems over to beta 1 of the "12" products. Yes, it’s cranky, but the new functionality is great!

  23. Andy C says:

    The first 5 minutes? Start OneNote, prod around a bit. Write it off as some kind of post-it note program.

    Then I bought a Tablet. Everyone was describing it as the killer Tablet app, so I fired it up and gave if another try. Within 5 minutes it had replaced Journal on my Tablet buttons and after a few meetings taking notes (and discovering the audio capabilities) I’d become one of those who swear by OneNote.

  24. Catherine says:

    My first experience with OneNote (caution: long story ahead):

    The ads for a free trial posted around my school caught my eye, but I thought "Meh, I like pen and paper." However, my new college has a "moblie learning" program, where everyone is given a laptop, so all my books, papers and laptop quickly became too much to carry.

    I wasn’t sure that OneNote could be a solution that I would like. I did my research, and lots of web pages were devoted to OneNote and Tablets. "That’s unfortunate, I don’t have a tablet" I thought to myself.

    I grabbed the demo one day when trying to organize all my ppt notes. I went through the intro notebook thing ("Holy featureset, Batman! Screen capture! Audio recording! Helloooo… this is my voice on the computer…") and set up some sections for my classes.

    For the first "five minutes" you are concerned about, I thought it was a differently-organized word processor if you weren’t using a tablet, and a text-recognision program if you were, with a couple of "bling" features that weren’t in Word.

    Then I took it with me to my next class:

    "Let’s go through my lecture notes" *record* *type type*

    "Now, let’s work through some demonstrations" *screenshot screenshot*

    "Uhhh…. I came in late, do you have the notes?" *print*

    It took one class to become the most favourite program on my computer. If I hadn’t taken it to class, I don’t think I would have seen all the strengths of OneNote. It’s not that hard to learn, but you have to realize what it can do for you before you start using all the features. I’ve almost used my entire trial, and I’m still discovering things, like making a side note into a particular section so I can take notes from my online texts, and I still don’t have a handle on how to best use the flags.

    (BTW, the screen capture feature saved me on a presentation I had to do on a piece of software, and it made the difference between a B and an A when studying. THANK YOU!!! I <3 ONENOTE!)

  25. Toad says:

    I got OneNote during the free trial program.  I played around with it, cut and pasted some website entries, and started storing some info like software registration keys, etc., in it.  It wasn’t until after SP1, and I saw one of your blog entries on the power of Note Flags, though, that the lightbulb finally went off over my head.

    I use OneNote a lot now.  I store research from WestLaw in it, set up sections for each of my projects and deals, and take a lot of screen shots to help me remember things.  I’ve started on the GTD system, and I’ll try to incorporate some of that, as well.

    I’m looking forward to the OneNote 2007 release.  The Guidebooks, especially, sound interesting.  I agree with one of the other commenters that the OneNote training webcast is great.  I always thought that I would get a lot more out of OneNote if I could look over the developers’ shoulders for an hour and watch how they use it.  While it’s nice to see what kinds of things other people have stored in their Notebooks, I think it would be even more cool to see HOW they’re storing it in their Notebooks as they go about their work.

  26. Ken Forbus says:

    Include some samples of real notebooks.  The tutorials and tips pages are fine and useful, but it’s not the same, it can be a little too ingrown.  Nothing excites people like cool examples.  Someone gathering data to make a decision, someone tracking current events in an area, someone designing something — I’m being deliberately vague about the particular areas, because you know your target markets better than I would.

    There are two reasons for this suggestion.

    1. It works well with other programs.  Most programs I’ve adopted (and my standards are high, given that I use a lot of machines in the course of a single day, so the costs financially and in terms of maintenance overhead argue for minimizing # of apps) first got a serious trial because there were some cool examples of what it could do.   We do this with the research software we distribute, too: Give someone a good example that puts the program’s capabilities to work, and they get it faster.

    2. There are some flash bits on the MS web site about using OneNote in particular professions that made me think it could be worth using.  I use it just enough to have it stay on my hard drive.  Journal/Word/Excel + year/month directory structure still rule for research notes and data analysis/logging.  But course planning and project tracking are better done in OneNote.  The "snapshot" feature is great screen capture on non-tablets (I prefer the snip power toy on tablets).  I haven’t tried the recording features yet, but I see that they could be useful.

    One thing that burned me badly in the first five minutes was the whacky storage conventions.  If you use three desktops and two tablets a day for working, and are not always connected, it is very easy to lose data with offline folders.  That almost nuked it for me.  My workaround is to use my normal file synch program, and only have it open one physical place at a time (usually work or home tablet, or admin desktop), like I do with other files.  

  27. cuekwe says:

    Being fairly computer literate, I’m not a good data point for Chris’ survey, but my first impression with OneNote was one of near ecstasy. The reason being that I immediately recognized the generalized file structure and possibility of global text search (which, as a student, is invaluable). I love the fact that OneNote folders are simply Windows folders, and that I can do as I please with them. I found that my biggest challenge was deciding on an effective schema for organizing my data. Here, I think, demo advice for the novice user is quite useful. But it only took a bit of experimentation to settle on a structure and process that has served me well for the past two years.

    As another commentator mentioned, I, too, have stuck with Journal for taking notes and use OneNote for organization and long-term maintenance (on pain of copying from one to the other). But this has proven the most effective method of marrying the inking capabilities of Journal with the organizational power of OneNote. Finally, it also didn’t take long to figure out the potential power of Note Flags (though, I find that there is still room for improvement).

    The linking features that I read about in 2007 causes me to swoon if it works the way I imagine (hope). As part of my Wish List, one would (ideally) be able to link to text in another section/folder/notebook, etc., and then have that linked content (optionally) visible along with the link (i.e., without having to navigate to the link’s source). Perhaps something like the way footnote text is visible as a "tooltip" in MS-Word. Of course, for this feature to be useful, it would have to support dynamic update of changes to the original content.

    I hope this is understandable and at least somewhat useful feedback. Again, the bottom line is that OneNote has been a dramatic improvement to my technological life. I can’t wait for 2007 to hit the presses.

  28. J.P. says:

    First exposure to OneNote (2003) was at a Microsoft seminar. It was interesting, but I thought it relatively useless at work – we have been focusing on building a SharePoint environment, so I found OneNote overkill and repetitive. I was also limited to a desktop PC. I took the full-version copy I received at the seminar (drawing) and shelved it.

    Later I purchased a tablet PC for personal/business use. Being a personal unit, I really had no desire to have to "taken over" by company policies just to have it on the network. Being that I was therefore unable to access the SharePoint site, I installed OneNote and started playing.

    I have two separate main folders: work and personal – each with multiple folders balancing life seemlessly. I email meeting minutes directly from ON and others get sent to Word (attach them to an email – save and close – go to desktop and it has mirrored to my Draft folder – upload to SharePoint).

    Am I hooked? Check out my OneNote tag:

    Created with Microsoft Office OneNote 2003

    One place for all your notes

    "OneNote rules!!" -j.p.

  29. James G. says:

    Those who don’t "get" onenote after they even start it, have no use for it, and don’t need it.  Onenote is a solid product, it is to replace that spiral bound or three ring binder. Just like it has on the cover of the DVD package! It can’t get much clearer than that.

    I used to read every day in the newsgroup, "I want more notebooks!" why!!?? It’s one notebook, you can set up as many sections as you want.

    Don’t set up this Out of the Box Experience, thats just rediculous… People need to understand the relativeness to a binder that onenote has. I don’t want onenote 2007 now because of this "choose your notebook style" stuff. I want a simple notebook, to take my notes in. And maybe, just maybe, have features that only a computer can give me, like linking and audio recording… (a better notebook management system would be nice in onenote, but I dont need a new windows explorer.)

    Now on to my second point, Onenote should only be for tablet pcs, but yeah, that’ll be the day. (j/K)

    I wish I could be on that focus group, I’d give you all a peice of my mind, and not stupid stuff that people who dont know what the point of the program was for would give you.

    Theres nothing to oneote that you wouldnt have to learn if you opened a binder and a reem of rulled paper! I dont get a help system with a binder and a reem of paper, why would you need it with onenote! (other than knowing where buttons are, and what they do. and how to work features that onenote gives…)

    -James G.

  30. M most used and favorite program. I only wish it had a calendar in sync with outlook).

    My first experience was weak in comparison to the power i slowly discovered.

    1. the independent files for each section mean that backups are easy, not like a .PST file.

    2. saves on every keystroke – what a confidence builder, after some major loses (my fault partially) in Word.

    3. drag text from a website brings along a clickable address and keeps links from within the text. These are crucial for rapid bloggin or memos to colleagues.

    These were not a[[parent to me in the first five minutes. I can imagine a three dimensional graphic showing dragging a hunk of text off a web page to a Onenote page and show the notebook as a 3-d with sections and pages..

    I’d also love slightly more robust formatting, and search and replace text. A built in spellchecker like the one in the new IE7 would be very helpful.

    I use the little known Microsoft "foldershare" for real time sync between tablet and desk.

    I would include with Onenote a one page automatically updating  list of all features, with a one line description and click through to an updated microsoft feature specific page. even the most obscure, for learning by browsing.

  31. I wanted to see a blank sheet of paper says:

    I had two first five minutes with OneNote.  

    The first five minutes was at CompUSA trying out a Toshiba M200.  My expectation going into OneNote was that the experience would be like writing on a piece of paper.  When I opened up OneNote, I was disappointed that it wasn’t quite like pulling out a blank steno pad — there was "computer-stuff" all over the screen — scrollbars, menus, toolbars…  I thought, surely there’s a full-screen option like Word and Excel — but there wasn’t any way to make it happen.  I liked the application, but it didn’t meet my expectations because I couldn’t get it to "look" like a piece of paper.

    My second five minutes were six or nine months later when I bought a Toshiba M4 tablet.  I knew then that I wouldn’t be able to get that blank sheet of paper look or feel.  But I was still disappointed.  To this day I still wish I could put all the menus and toolbars and scrollbars just off the screen (within easy reach like the auto-hide Windows taskbar).

    Other than that impression, I have always been in heaven being able to write on my computer screen!

    Another five-minute impression that relates to this is my first five minutes with Alias Sketchbook Pro.  I thought, "Now this is what OneNote should be — a blank sheet of paper!"  Of course after that I thought that Sketchbook could sure use the auto-save feature of OneNote and the tabs/notebook features of OneNote.

    One last five-minute impression.  This week I tried out a Palm handheld that was given to me.  I tried writing on the screen just like I would on my tablet, in the notepad/sketchpad application — and it was awful.  I’m spoiled with inking in OneNote…  🙂

  32. full-screen mode says:

    I forgot to mention…  Whenever I demo OneNote to people (which is often) one of the first questions they ask is "Can you make it look like a blank sheet of paper?"

    I’ve tried out Beta1 of OneNote 12 and there’s still no full-screen.  I know there’s an easy way to hide the toolbars in Beta1, but I’m still hoping for a true full-screen piece of paper in Beta2with all the bells and whistles within easy reach.

    It’s wierd to tell people that I can use my tablet just like a piece of paper or a notebook, and then get my favorite app shot down because it doesn’t really ‘do’ the whole paper experience.  I’ve heard quite a few sarcastic comments… and in a way it just knocks down the credibility of OneNote as a replacement for paper notebooks.

  33. texscot says:

    I was instantly taken back to a software program I had on one of my first computers. It was a Magnavox computer and it had a program instead of MS Office, the program was set up like one note, similar to a filing cabinet.  When I opened One Note I could not put it away, it is exactly what I need for multitasking as a nurse.  Keep up the good work, cant wait for One Note 2007

  34. Too long ago to recall the 1st 5 minutes of that big bang!

    I’ve been on the alert for other people’s paradigms that best explain the OneNote experience to me.

    As a first exposure, if I’d thought of "Scrapbook" instead of Notebook there would have been less confusion about what all is possible. And then "HyperScrapbook", as I now see it.

  35. Jasper says:

    My first 5 minutes with OneNote were pretty unimpressive, as I didn’t like the pressure sensitivity while taking notes (unlike in Journal). I searched for ‘pressure’ and ‘sensitivity’ in Help, but couldn’t find anything, so I gave up on it. Much later I was fiddling around in Options and I was overjoyed to see that I could indeed turn it off… Ever since then, it’s been a pleasure working in OneNote.

    Please, add something about this to the Help files.

  36. Steve says:

    I had a pretty good sense of what OneNote was all about when I first opened it, having done a lot of research about it before hand. It was just a matter of figuring out HOW to do it, but that didn’t take too long. Some of the concepts of OneNote are not necessarily intuitive (for instance, I still have trouble making one existing note a sub page of another existing note), but it sounds as if some of that will be improved in 2007.

    By the way, it is very diabolical of you to tease us with all the things 2007 can do when our ability to get our hands on it is still months and months away.

  37. As a user, my first 5 minutes with OneNote – not counting talking you into a corner over beta 1 arguing about the folder structure – were opening a brand new tablet and taking notes on it. I started treating it as a sheet of paper and gradually picked up how the other features are personally useful. As a reviewer, I sat down and made fake sample notebooks to try out every feature but that’s not common.

    "Real" sample notebooks – from somebody researching buying a car or documenting a Contoso project or best of all covering something useful like getting the most from Word & Excel so people have an incentive to go through and see how useful the information organisation tools are.

    The fixed notebooks by role? I’m less positive on that one. My suggestion would be a wizard. Ask the user to choose a notebook type then show the folders that will give them and let them change them from the wizard before they’re created, then ask them if they want to customise a note flag or two to show they they’re thre, then ask them if they want to do a couple of other things – customise the pens, turn rule lines on or off, set default stationery. Make it like the Excel chart wizard: at any stage you can clikg OK I’m Done to get to OneNote right away with the defaults but you can also spend 5 minutes making your choices – and learning some of the useful tools in the program.

  38. Antia says:

    I just bougth a tablet PC 3 days ago so my 5 first minute experience is pretty fresh. I guess the experience is heavily influenced by your background and expectations so it’s worth mentioning that I am a researcher in experimental physics, I hope onenote will replace some aspects of notetaking in meetings and discussions with colleagues and will help me in scrapbooking my results before the final report for funding agencies needs to be written. I use PCs extensively in both Windows and Linux systems and I had heard good things about onenote and tablets in general from a colleague.

    The first impression of onenote was underwelming. I thought it was cluttered and I personally found it challenging to create a confortable set of sections (I still don’t know the proper terminology here) to organize the stuff I wanted to write about. This was specially so when using the stylus rather than the keyboard to create those sections so perhaps it is a combination of getting used to that input mechanism together with the unconvetional onenote structure. As soon as I figured that out I started a sample notebook and things started to change. Within finishing my first page things were starting to fall into place nicely, but what really won me over and is still what most impresses the people I show around (other scientists) is the simple fact that you can search your own handwriting. Perhaps it is obvious to other users but I was not aware that whithout converting the whole thing to text you could do this so efficiently. Of course the feature is mentioned somewhere but perhaps not so much emphasis is made on it. For me, this together with snapshots from the web with the original link are, as of three days into my onenote experience, the stuff I find distinctively good.

    Some gripes. I agree with other users that on first contact the journal is a friendlier and generally nicer app. In fact, in the first 5 minutes it is difficult to see why you would like to use onenote instead! One thing that really bugs me is that you cannot open a journal file in onenote. Why? Just because notepad, wordpad and word are difference applications does not mean you need to copy and paste between them! This is specially grating considering that it is all part of the same system and many of the functionalities are duplicated.


  39. Larry says:

    Well – first off, one note is not a one of a kind "new" application.   There have been many very similar (in my opinion better) programs for 15 years.  I personally was going to write almost this same software in 1985, but didn’t ’cause I "knew" someone would do it in a year or two….that said the first five minutes were positive – – but…after I have been using it, I have been very disappointed/frustrated with it however I will say this may be due to my lack of knowledge and not the fault of the software.  I am new to it and am pre-judging, but that is my pre-judgement.  Like many microsoft products (and I am a microsoft fan) they make it more difficutl than it should be at first.

    my 2 cents.

  40. Alfred says:


    Nice open blog.  Makes me value what I am looking at on the screen.

    My first 5 minutes had a specific goal.  I needed to know if this would be a tool that I would keep using.  (Truth be told, I am going to give it a few weeks.)  But the first 5 are critical.

    I deal with customers on a daily basis in a semiconductor field.  So I wanted a way to capture my meetings,  block diagrams, PDF snippets, circuit diagrams and have them all searchable.  So my first 5 minutes were spent trying to create my notebook in a way that made sense to me and how I file all my information.  It tooks me 15 minutes and now I have all ‘template’ set up.  

    I am also taking an MBA so I was able to create my template w.r.t to that arena of my life as well.

    Needless to say, I am happy that I was able to get that portion all set up correctly and it was fairly intuitive.  Like you said in your other blog.  It will take at least a few weeks if not months to become an advocate.  Keep the info flowing!!!

  41. full screen mode: In B1TR coming shortly to B1 users there is a fairly good reduced UI mode. We’re still working on it for beta 2.

    japser: there’s a new pen type that provides a ballpoint or thin point experience for people who push hard.

    Steve: buhuwaha! (diabolical laughter)

    Mary: bear in mind you can create multiple notebooks so no one is forcing you to use the first template you try. We also expect to ship some sample notebooks with content as that can be very effective (some people hate it though – they feel like their new product is sullied). We considered a wizard but it was cut partly due to budget and partly because these sorts of wizards are not sufficiently successful. Many (most) people want to get going right away and figure stuff out on their own quite often so a wizard is just a thing to be skipped. Also picking the audience for such a wizard is hard. Do we go with "least skilled user", or some middle ground? How much do you explain? You lose the people you don’t target (too "dumb" or too "over their head")

    Antia: I posted about Onenote and Journal way back:  Fortunately, a PowerToy to import Journal notes was recently released:

    Larry: in one sense you could argue there’s nothing new under the sun. Most of what you see today (mouse, graphical display screen, etc including such modern things as IM and collaborative workspaces) was thought of and mocked up in the late 60s and 70s by various computer scientists who were exploring a whole new medium (and didn’t have to make shipping products :-)). You could also argue that Da Vinci thought of much of our modern machinery so no one since him gets any credit. My comment was about "new to most people". If you have questions about basic usage I recommend the excellent video:

    Alfred: Coincidentally I was talking to a woman just finishing her MBA and she said her entire MBA class (both years, 180 people) use OneNote. One person brought it in last year and got to talking about it so others adopted it and now everyone swears by it…they even hooked the first years.

  42. Antia says:

    Thanks for your answer Chris. I found a reference to the power toy and used it to import the journal files to OneNote as you mentioned.

    However, you asked about the 5 first minutes experience. From a tablet point of view the Journal/OneNote thing is puzzling. I think you yourself noted somewhere that the proportion of tablets with OneNote is really high (even if not the majority of users are tablet PC users); in such a situation having these two superficially similar applications that don’t like to talk to each other side by side is strange. There might be reasons and that is all well, but it is not going to be obvious in those firt 5 minutes. If you are a new tablet PC user and you have those two programs installed, OneNote should show its power in a rather obvious way to win you over. Otherwise you will start scribbling away in Journal, then eventually find out that maybe for whatever reason you are better off with OneNote and inmediately be not so happy that the ink does not flow from between them unless you get online and find the powertoy.

  43. Stacia says:

    I’m planning to dive into the OneNote world any minute now but am debating whether to start with OneNote 2003 or wait for a stable OneNote 2007. I really want multiple notebooks (I think? Seems very cumbersome to have everything in one really big, diverse notebook but maybe that’s just my ignorance showing?) so will probably go for ON2007.

    But the other stumbling block is trying to get my head around how to use this product in the ways I think it will be most immediately interesting and useful to me – with the expectation that as I get to know my way around, the areas of usefulness will expand very quickly.

    My first thoughts were: genealogy and family history book. It would be a HUGE help to have samples notebooks for these all ready for customizing. Starting from scratch is a hurdle that I haven’t overcome yet – though as I say, I plan to. 😉

    Genealogy seems like a natural for OneNote, with information gathering from various places (including online links/sites, physical locations with photos of gravestones attached, etc.) But I haven’t seen any templates for the standard genealogy charts that you would surely want. Can you import from a Word template? (I’m guessing not.) The limited number of templates and stationary seem like a big void currently. Are there plans for Office to create more to ship and/or include in Office Online?

    OneNote seems like a natural for creating a “book” (e.g. for writing down family history, sorted by person, era, subject, etc.) – but maybe not? The sections seem to lend themselves to natural chapters, easier than maneuvering through outline mode in a big Word doc.

    The publish-to-blog possibility sounds intriguing as well. I’d like to give that a try. Personal blogs are fun, but I like to keep one as a kind of family journal, and there isn’t an easy way to print from the blog or easily flip through or search/sort (maybe that just shows my blog UI ignorance as well ;-). But now I’m curious about this reference to “Journal” noted in this blog/comments. Maybe that’s a better program for keeping a diary? (As it’s name implies!) But can you easily post to a blog from a Journal? Perhaps just use copy-and-paste… Anyway, this is the first I’ve heard of Journal so I guess I should check it out.

    So that’s not how I *did* spend my first five minutes, but something about how I *plan* to! Advice and tips as I embark on the above would be much appreciated.

  44. Stacia: you can use a free trial version of 2003 to get used to OneNote. There’s a 180 day version here for students and educators: There’s also a regular free 60 day trial available. You should sign up for beta 2 of Onenote 2007 if you like – that’s free too:

    Click the “Register Now” button. Near the upper right (in the header image)

    Although OneNote 2003 only has one "notebook", you can create folders which act a lot like notebooks.

    Journal is actually a very simple program more like a set of looseleaf pages. It is designed to show off the capabilities of the tablet PC which it does pretty well. It doesn’t have the organizational features and other tools that Onenote has for long term management of your notes.

  45. nojetlag says:

    I first started with OneNote 2003 when I got my Toshiba M200, due to the digital ink thing :D. However after a short while I gave up on it. Reasons for it where, that I didn’t feel comfortable with the app and digital ink on the machine was just to slow and clumsy for me. (Part of it I can blame on the M200 and Tablet OS in general, the slowness of the machine (even with 2 GB RAM) drives me crazy, size wise the M200 was great though.).

    So when I got the Office 12 beta I didn’t pay attention on OneNote, just focused on Excel, Winword and Outlook. One big thing with this beta is for me the blogs that go along with it. I really love them and I started with OneNote again due to reading this blog. Having several notebooks in OneNote makes the big difference for me this time. Since I run it on the M200 and another laptop both on a daily base I’m really getting addicted to it. Within one day I had most of my daily work organised within OneNote and keep going with it. After more than one year with the M200 I plan to replace it around summer of this year, I doubt that it will be a tablet pc again, however I’m pretty sure I will keep working with OneNote for the time to come.

    One feature I would love to see is the possibility to program widgets within OneNote to autofetch information from external systems. (My company is not capable to have a employee portal where an employee can see his most important up to date data on one screen, so if I could do that within my OneNote by myself this would be fantastic 🙂 )

  46. I downloaded OneNote to try it out as an electronic trial notebook, when I was getting ready for a complicated trial.  I was sold on the program within the first five minutes, when I saw the tabbed browsing, the automatic save feature, and the "always on top" notetaking feature.  So much of what we do now involves electronic documents, such as pdf scans.  If you want to take notes while you review a pdf document, the major options are to have multiple monitors, or toggle back and forth between adobe reader and a word processing program, or tile the screens on one monitor.  With OneNote, you can have a small note-taking window always on top as you go through the pdf.  No toggling, no need for dual monitors.    

  47. Eric Sanders says:

    Been using OneNote for about one month now, and making extensive use of it.  I’m in sales, and I use it for call logs, meeting logs, and research.  It certainly is an improvement over the dozen journals I have chronologically situtated on my bookshelf, if only for the ability to view things in a client-centric style, instead of time-centric.

    I’m on the technical side of software sales, so i’m pretty tech-savvy, and was eager to get a tablet and oneNote as a great new "gadget".

    The first five minutes, however, were a bit of disappointing, based upon a couple of factors:

    My expectations for Outlook integration were a bit high, based upon the flash demo I had seen on the OneNote site.  My hope was that drawing a little square box next to an action item would automatically create a task in Outlook.  It’s not a difficult thing to do when typing to hit <ctrl><1>, but there’s no easy way to accomplish this in tablet mode.

    I was also hoping that the link to Outlook tasks would be "live" – that is, completing a task in Outlook would check the item off the list in OneNote, or vice versa.

    The second thing that got me right away was the arbitrary width of paragraphs.  It took me some time to grow accustomed to not writing to the edge of my notebook, because if I did, part of my words or sentences would be orphaned.

    Other than those two things, I found it very easy to start exploring, navigating and using the application.  The UI metaphor was very natural, although it took me a while to understand the difference between a subpage and adding more writing space.  I’d have to say well done on creating a UI that provides both a familiar metaphor (a la journal) with advanced features and organization abilities (long live random access).

    I use OneNote for most of my activities now, and have become used to some of its "quirks".  Reading about the upcoming version, I’m excited to get my hands on it, because it sounds like a number of those are resolved, and new toys abound as well.  

    Thanks for the product, as well as the insight provided through this blog.

  48. Thysje Arthur says:

    In my first 5 minutes I realised I could do away with thumbing through my diaries, journals etc., for that elusive tip I noted way back when.  All my tips and tricks, notes etc., are now in OneNote! As a graphic designer for the print industry (magazines, brochures etc), I soon discovered I could use OneNote for more than ‘just notes’. I could draw my mind maps on it for various projects, and alter or add as necessary. (It would be nice to be able to have coloured boxes behind the text for this.) Then, flag the items on the mind map for the ‘To Do’ list.

    OneNote has spilled over into my personal life as well. I love it. Although I run it on a PC, I have a graphics tablet and I found that if I used the little ‘Write Anywhere’ utility in Windows, I can write my note on the tablet and the text will be ‘recognised’ and placed in OneNote where I specify.

    Looking forward I think drag and drop tabs would be great as it’s a little cumbersome to use the ‘move..’

    Absolutely love OneNote, you’ve done a fabulous job on it.  

  49. Dan Sisan says:

    I was intrigued when a friend told me about it (who got it free with a new laptop), and downloaded the free trial.  I’m a scientist and have been using Word to keep notes on a variety of things.  Two missing features compared to Word that I wish were there are: you can’t add equations (either with Equation 3.0 or MathType), and there’s no way to add a hyperlink to text of your choice (i.e. without having to have the full URL cluttering up the screen).  Since both are available in Word, it would seem easy to add.    

  50. Dan: hyperlinking is now in OneNote 2007 (actually it is pretty cool since you can do some tricks you can’t do in Word easily). Equations are a little different. It is not so easy to do something like Equation Editor or MathType because supporting OLE is a tough piece of work we haven’t had time to do yet. However, Word2007 now has a native equation engine which is pretty portable so in the future you will probably see equation layout support in OneNote (just not in 2007 except pasted from Word). The other option is to use a pen and just write the equations by hand.

  51. Kevin Cole says:

    Hi Chris,

    My first five minutes with OneNote happened a couple of years ago when I first got Office 2003.  I put it away immediately because it couldn’t replace what I was using.  I have been an InfoSelect user for 14 years and have an enormous amount of data in it.  At this point OneNote has a **much** nicer user interface and a better-considered way to integrate with other applications.  But it doesn’t have things like:

    – search function comparable to IS

    – linking between notes/pages/sections

    – a way to synchronize with the palm OS

    I’ve just started using OneNote after all these years on my PC at the office because I’ve become frustrated with the way AskSam tends to crash IE when you save web pages to it.  Basically the add-in that copies a page from IE to OneNote is what made me come back to re-consider.  Right now I’m going to start using OneNote for web-related research and clip management, then export stuff as I need to for the data store in InfoSelect.  

    The Palm OS is less of a consideration than the first two.  If there was a fast way to do full text search, and if there was a way to link between text units at a fairly granular level, I’d become an evangelist.  Although I’m a grumpy command-line-oriented sort of person, a well-considered metaphoric user interface softens me every time.


  52. Kevin: Can you describe what about search in IS you find useful? Onenote 2007 will have "instant search" and supports operators. I won’t claim it has every imaginable search feature (far from it) but we think it will be very powerful. (does IS search the text inside images and scans of docs?). Linking into (from outside OneNote), out of and between pages of paragraphs, notes, sections etc is supported in 2007 (see Owen’s post on this: Syncing with the Palm OS is possible if someone wants to write support (docs are available on how to do this). It’s not high on our list at this point. FWIW the new Palm Treo 700W will sync with OneNote at some point (via OneNote Mobile)

  53. Paul says:

    Hi Chris – my first 5 minutes have been a little disappointing. I’m definitely buying a tablet pc soon – (if I could deal better with the prospect of buying an X41 tablet and shortly thereafter seeing an X60 tablet announcement, I’d buy today) – decided to demo OneNote and learn it from a non – tablet perspective, organizing projects in the process. I can’t find a way to print .pdf content though – and much of what I want to include in project notes is in that format. There apparently was a .pdf print to onenote powertoy available at one point; can’t find it except bundled in tablet enhancements for education which won’t help me before I have my tablet. At the moment, I’m interested, but bummed out. What I can see of the product appeals to me – but no .pdf capture is a deal killer for me.

  54. Paul, in less than two months you’ll be able to use beta 2 of OneNote 2007 (for free), and that should address all of your concerns (including PDF import). You’ll also get a built-in Guide to help understand how to use OneNote effectively. Sign up here: (click "register now" in the graphic at top):

    As to the PowerToy issue, I’m sorry but the Onenote ImageWriter Powertoy was made by a third party who for unknown reasons has decided to remove it from distribution, and even asked others not to distribute it. There is a separate "Send To OneNote" PowerToy from the Microsoft TabletPC team that you can get (for TabletPC only) in the TabletPC Enhancement Pack and the Tablet PC Education Pack (free downloads).

  55. Paul says:

    Thanks Chris. I’ve signed up and look forward to beta 2! I understand that OneNote 2007 will capture image content as searchable text – that will be very valuable to me for MindManager MindMaps and .pdf files. Will OneNote 2007 import 2003 content that was entered with the OneNote ImageWriter Powertoy and render it searchable, or will the maps and .pdf files need to be re-imported from their native files?

  56. Mari says:

    My first introduction to OneNote was in law school, watching the kid who sits next to me doing all sorts of neat things on his "word processor".  Finally, my curiosity lead me to download the free trial.  I played with it some, but mid-semester was just too much to deal with.  About a week or so ago I decided to just suck it up and purchase the student version and mess around with it for finals.  OneNote has been very helpful in organizing concepts.  So my first five minutes were mass confusion.  I couldn’t figure out how to best take advantage of the medium to organize my notes.  Now I really like it and anticipate using One Note during the semester.  Only complaints: doesn’t have some of the smart auto features that Word has.  It seems like moving a text box around takes away all the outlining formatting which can be highly annoying after you’ve spent time carefully organizing your thoughts.

  57. Devin W says:

    I actually just downloaded the 2003 trial today because we are implementing SharePoint finally and I wanted to see if OneNote could be useful.  Impressions:

    I had no idea what the tabs on the right side were for.  I immediately clicked it and made a new tab.  But for some reason I couldn’t then delete it?  It just stayed there, empty.  What was that new tab for?  Then I looked at My Notebook, and it was crowded with tons of sections.

    The little to-do and follow-up notes make sense.   Helpful Hints was much too hard to find.  Ultimately it’s not at all clear in the first five minutes why this is any better than just opening up a Word doc.   I think you should show ruled lines by default.  

  58. Edward W says:

    I have recently downloaded the 2007 Beta for OneNote and was quite intrigued.  I’d seen the 2003 on a Toshiba Tablet PC in a shop and thought it odd; However, the guide notebook within 2007 got me quite excited.  I’m currently preparing for writing an Masters Thesis and am using OneNote 2007 avidly … in truth, I’m probably quite addicted.

    I think there are some areas where you can’t make the notes as pretty and tidy as you’d like (I’m after solid shapes, the ability to change text size up and down with CTRL-[ and CTRL-], and the ability to align shapes / objects.  I’m also finding the moving and placing methods a bit unusual – but they do seem intuitive enough and I can imaging are excellent on a tablet or pen-enabled system.

    I just need to find a tablet PC within my price range, and that doesn’t weight half a tonne …

  59. Jessica says:

    I just downloaded the OneNote 2007 Beta 2 today and was very excited about some of the changes from my OneNote 2003 (I bought OneNote 2003 halfway through last semester), especially the ability to search image text!  Yay!  Also, despite the fact that I did fine with the old folder system, I found that I really like the concept of having different notebooks.  It’s like having several separate binders that I can set up different ways depending on the contents.  

    I was disappointed to discover, though, that I can no longer direct it to put separate pages of a document onto separate pages/subpages in my notebook when I print to OneNote.  I’m a vet student with tons of electronic notes that can be hundreds of pages long per file…that’s too many pages to insert each separately, and it’s difficult to organize, take notes, and study effectively when each document or file inserted is just on one gigantically long page.  

    The program really seems to hold promise (I’ve since gotten it all set up to download notes when we get them), although if inserting class notes ends up being such a hassle, it may not be valuable to me after all. :/

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