Okay, let’s face it. It’s hard to hate yellow sticky notes. Like Velcro™ and the World Wide Web, they’re arguably one of modern civilization’s coolest inventions.
Even so, if you’re in the habit of reaching for a sticky note each time you have a fleeting thought, you already know that they can quickly turn into too much of a good thing, especially if you paste them all over your monitor. Doing this can have unwelcome side effects at work or at home, such as announcing to your co-workers that you’re terribly unorganized, or finding out too late that your kids needed more drawing paper before hiding their new masterpieces in secret places. Not to mention that traditional sticky notes have all the limitations of paper: You can’t edit or format them, you can’t easily categorize them, you can’t tag them, you can’t consolidate them, you can’t assign them to tasks, and you can’t search them for keywords.
So… is there a better way to manage all that unavoidably random information that we’re forced to scribble down during the day?
You bet! Meet “Side Notes” — an often overlooked feature in OneNote that lets you take your traditional paper sticky notes to a whole new level. Side Notes are the electronic equivalent of those yellow sticky notes that you love, except that they offer all of the benefits of regular OneNote pages. You can edit, format, sort, organize, tag, consolidate, search, and annotate Side Notes, and you can turn anything that you randomly jot down on them into formatted lists or even real Outlook Tasks. By adding reminders to Outlook Tasks on your Side Notes, you’ll never forget anything important.
You can keep Side Notes displayed on your computer’s desktop (instead of around the frame of your monitor), which has the added benefit of privacy whenever you’re not at your desk. When you lock or shut off your computer, no one else can read your Side Notes. If you don’t want them displayed at all while you work, simply close them. You can recall them again at any time by opening OneNote’s “Unfiled Notes” section. If there are specific Side Notes that you need in front of you at all times, you can choose to “pin” such notes to your desktop so that they are always visible, even over other windows.
Just like regular pages in OneNote, Side Notes are automatically and continuously saved as soon as you create or edit them, so you’ll never have to worry about getting distracted and forgetting to save your changes. Getting rid of Side Notes is just as simple. When you no longer need a particular Side Note, simply delete it. Just think of the amount of paper you’ll stop wasting!
To learn all about the cool Side Notes features in OneNote 2007, watch our new video:
Watch now: Manage random information with Side Notes
The real beauty of keeping all of your sticky notes in an electronic format instead of paper is that you can format, find, use, and reuse their information (even share it with others if you want or need to) — all without retyping a single word. If you get in the habit of using Side Notes instead of paper sticky notes, they’ll quickly become a natural extension of your OneNote notebook, even if you don’t want to bother organizing them. So, no matter how many Side Notes you create and keep, OneNote keeps everything together for you, all in one place. It’s just another reason to love OneNote!