Author: Scott Knight
Date: Sep 27, 2016
I’ll begin with a confession. For years, I had OneNote installed on my computer and never once opened it. What? But you’re writing an article on the laudable perks of using such a fine piece of software! you may be thinking. Well yes, initially I harbored the idea that OneNote was just “bloatware” which came pre-installed on my machine. Something akin to Clippy, the Microsoft Office Assistant, or a comparable monstrosity.
It wasn’t until I dove into my full-time professional work that I discovered the powerful and convenient benefits of using OneNote, and now I hardly go a day without it open on my desktop. Its familiar Office 365 navigation and intuitive interface, among many other things, render it an essential arrow in my quiver of productivity. Here’s why it would be a useful addition to your team’s arsenal as well:
1. Collaborate in Real-Time with Shared Notebooks
Since Office 365 is a cloud-based platform, your team members can easily share access to notebooks. Using OneNote’s secure collaboration — OneNote allows you to share items over a private SharePoint server — your team can simultaneously edit notebooks, sections and pages in real-time, preventing lengthy email chains with multiple document drafts.
2. Use OneNote’s Powerful Search Capabilities to Find Content Quickly
Another fantastic OneNote feature is its emphatically robust search bar. OneNote allows you to search for text, audio and video files, and even text within images. During a search OneNote will automatically translate your handwritten notes to text and search those as well.
If you like to stay organized (who doesn’t?), tag your notes, pages or notebooks with searchable keywords and tags to create your own categories and relations. Searches can span the entire application’s history, or be focused to a particular notebook, section group, section or page.
3. Leverage OneNote’s Multimedia Functionality
Conventionally, note taking has been confined to manual text and rough sketches of diagrams, tables, lists, you name it. With OneNote, multimedia objects can be embedded directly onto the page as you’re typing. Using meeting minutes as an example, attendees are able to insert charts, diagrams, and lists with the rest of their notes for a convenient, centralized set of minutes which can be shared with the entire team later.
In addition, OneNote seamlessly integrates with Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint and more for the easy inclusion of document snippets, Excel spreadsheets and charts, and PowerPoint slides. Need a screenshot of a window or website to accompany your written notes? GIF, JPEG, PNG, BMP and TIFF objects are also welcome.
4. Record Audio or Video Directly Into Your Notes
If a webcam or microphone is installed and enabled on your machine, forget the tedious process of re-attaching audio and video files to your notes after the meeting; record directly onto the page! OneNote links time codes to your written notes as you’re recording, so you’ll be able to review later and see or hear the exact point at which a note was created.
This is immensely useful for meetings, interviews, lectures, Q&A sessions — any situation in which you know you won’t be able to type your notes quickly enough.
Hopefully the list of features I’ve outlined have been enough to convince you to try out OneNote for yourself and your team or organization. There are also myriad other functions I haven’t covered here, so be sure to check it out and let us know what you think in the comments below!