OneNote: The best kept secret for organising your life…

Microsoft OneNote is possibly the most under-rated component of the 2007 Office Suite. 

I was reading a post on the LifeHacker blog yesterday that explained the capabilities of OneNote and there are hundreds of comments on the post with the most common themes being that people were unsure what OneNote did but once they start using it they got hooked.  (Some people also think it's just for Tablet PCs - but it's not.)

From a personal perspective OneNote is the centre of my working day. Once you start using OneNote and exploring its capabilities you will find it quickly becomes indispensable.

So what do I use OneNote for?  How do I count the ways?

Here are just some of the uses and features that I use....

Email Archive: using this button on imagethe Outlook 2007 toolbar I archive all my e-mail in OneNote automatically (including attachments) making it easy to index, search, organise and browse



Meeting Notes: I record, file and archive every meeting so that I can review the notes for actions, next steps and reminders

Bonus: If you record audio of a meeting on your laptop while using OneNote, it automatically time stamps the audio with any notes you make.


Project Planning: With OneNote I can pull together files, links, text, pictures and handwritten notes on a single page making it simple to get access to the information you need for a project.

Daily Notes: I have a new OneNote page for each day where I record thoughts, events etc.  If a particular item requires a project I can simply create a new linked page in OneNote and get started.


Next Actions: Once I've finished a meeting I review my notes and when I spot an action item I can create an Outlook task directly from inside OneNote.  The task then appears in Outlook with an automatic link back to the relevant OneNote page (and you can also create meetings).







Capture information: I can insert and attach files, scans, I can print documents into OneNote, I can capture web pages and articles for future reference (and OneNote automatically inserts the local URL).


Find everything: OneNote not only offers fast text search, it indexes PDFs and images and integrates with Windows Desktop Search so you can find whatever information you're looking for, wherever you are on your PC, when you need it.

Tagging: In addition to fast search you can tag any item in OneNote.  Then at a later date you can run a report that pulls all your tagged items into a single page report.



OneNote on the go: If you have a Windows Mobile phone, you can take OneNote Mobile wherever you go and automatically add notes to your PC when you get back to the office.  You can also copy pages from OneNote to your phone to take with you on the road.


OneNote Powertools: Finally there's a whole range of different add-ons for Outlook from utilities that let you import and export HTML pages, to gadgets that let you quickly and easily send a page to your phone. (See link below)

So... how are you using OneNote?

OneNote Resources:

For those into David Allen's "Getting Things Done" approach to work:

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