A recap of some of my feedback from my first week on the OneNote team


Way back when I came to the OneNote team in November 2006, I wrote a short list of comments and complaints I had with OneNote 2007. We use this type of feedback, along with suggestions from users and others, to help decide where to invest in future versions of OneNote. I just found this old list and thought it may be interesting to visit some of my comments now that OneNote 2010 is available.

Here’s the first and the last of my comments:

  1. What is the reason for having the "Send to OneNote" printer?
  2. The notebook colors aren’t differentiable enough on LCD screens

When I came to the team, the printer was still new to me and I did not understand its purpose. The way I had been using OneNote was to track small to do lists, personal information and a few other things. For some large documents (books from www.ProjectGutenberg.org, for instance) I would select all the text and copy and paste into OneNote. This worked well for me, but does not work if you have some other format of information you want to get into OneNote, being able to print it may be the best way to preserve the visual representation of it. I’m thinking of lab software here that is designed to show data and not necessarily support a rich copy and paste experience.

Anyway, the printer lets me print any documents to OneNote. One of the limitations of the printer for OneNote 2007 was that it only worked on 32 bit operating systems. We knew this would need to be fixed since once the 64 bit CPUs took over, 32 bit would rapidly fall off the radar. (I have no idea what the current market numbers are). So we ported it over to 64 bit and now it works on all supported platforms for Office 2010.

The differentiable colors of sections is out of my control. We have a team that does all our graphics for us, and they gave me the tip about a nicely adjusted monitor making a huge difference (it really does). But I still wished I could choose my own colors, and after only three years I decided to write a little powertoy to change the colors for me. I need to update it for OneNote 2010 and I can call this good.

Most of my other comments related to Mobile OneNote. It is its own new client and I’m waiting to get a phone with it once it comes out. I also had some comments about grouping pages and moving them around as a group, and we fixed that as well.

My last comment was about my manager sending me 15 notebook with who-knows-how-many sections all at once on my first day on OneNote. Simple information overload! I haven’t figured out how to fix my manager…

Questions, comments, concerns and criticisms always welcome,

John


Comments (6)

  1. Those must be the same graphics guys that decided to have a white calendar background in Outlook, and then highlight it with an extremely light gray+color blend background.  On my LCD, due to contrast differences from the viewing angle, the highlight is LESS different in color than the perceptual color change of white from the top of the screen to the bottom of the screen.  We don't get expensive monitors here at work.

    Certainly, adjusting colors Like a Pro is ideal and I'm sure it helps some.  I'm sure on their screens with kick ass monitors, it looks great.  But for the average user, they could not care less about optimized color displays and, in fact, don't even know what that means.  The average user plugs in their $90 el cheapo 20" LCDs and expect it to just work.

    The graphics people need to consider this!  

    I opened a Connect case about the poor color choices of Outlook calendar, but never heard back.

    (Also, there is a bug when you use arrow keys in Outlook Calendar to change which day you are on where it leaves colored trails until you move the mouse (somebody put a redraw in "OnMouseMove/Up/Down/Enter/Leave" but forgot the same procedure for "OnKeyUp" hee hee).  I need to submit a Connect case for that.)

  2. Forgot to ask.  I guess we'll never see a proper OneNote client for Windows Phone 6.5?  That's too bad because the EverNote client sucks too and Windows Phone 7 looks like it is going to be terrible (except for Office and XBox which look fantastic, I must admit), so I'll never get to partake in the Mobile OneNote goodness.  Sigh.  Back to crappy drawing sketchpads with my STYLUS which won't exist with WP7's capacitive screens.  Why do I feel like mobile technology is regressing?

  3. John says:

    I'm not sure what is happening with Windows Mobile 6.5.  Let me ask and find out what is going on.

  4. H says:

    i thought you got the manager part fixed too, didn't you? 😛

  5. Back then when I started using Onenote 2003 on my tablet PC, I quickly decided to not use the Send to Onenote feature to annotate .pdf of academic papers, books, etc., as it would make Onenote way too slow to have 10s or 100s of images in it… So my solution was instead to use Acrobat Professional (which has an inking and highlighting tool) to annotate the paper and just put an hyperlink to the file in my Onenote notes (the scrolling in Acrobat was much faster than the scrolling in Onenote)… Has the inclusion of 100s of images in Onenote become a lot faster now? I would hesitate to start using it, especially that my notebooks have already grown to hundreds of pages *without* using it (my Notebook folder is about 1.5 Gb).

  6. JohnGuin says:

    We did some work to increase scalability – hundreds should be OK.  I recommend downloading the trial and giving it a whirl.  Let me know how it turns out!