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The Wonders of OneNote

Have you ever seen the icon for OneNote on your system, briefly wondered what it is, and then moved on to something you do know? After all, why click on something that might open a minefield – right?

Well I would like to recommend that you stop, step back, and take a good look at this hidden gem of the Microsoft Office Suite.

Shrouded in mystery, this is one useful and versatile tool that everyone should have in their back pocket.

Think of it as being like a briefcase that is packed and with you wherever you go. And as soon as you have access to the internet, anything you store in OneNote will automatically sync across all of your devices – no need even to click save – it does it without prompting! How is that for fantastic?

But what is it and what does it actually do? Well where do I start?

OneNote is like a notebook on steroids, you can create tabs, pages, or new notebooks depending on what you are doing but that is just the boring stuff!!!

For a quick start you can:

Type – anywhere on the page, yes, I mean anywhere. And if you are sharing a notebook, two or more of you can type on the same page at the same time and on the same space and then the text can be moved around so you can see it all.
Write – with a stylus and have the system convert it to text which you can then convert into a Word or PDF document
Copy and paste – anything from web pages to text to conversations and then edit this copy
Hyperlink – to any location, network, webpage, SharePoint site
Take a screenshot (with OneNote) of some text and then do a search to find that text on the photograph – yes really

Use OneNote to record your meetings, allowing you to capture the key information you might miss while taking notes, the recording simply drops into your OneNote page and you can click on it at any point in the future to revisit the meeting.

The Insert tab is the place to go for this practice, and here you could even choose to record video too.


With a combination of cool features pulled from the other Microsoft products such as Excel, Word, Outlook and PowerPoint you can create a really good portfolio of information.

Have you got something open on your desktop that you would like to include in this portfolio – simply click on the ‘Send to OneNote’ icon and it is inserted into the notebook of your choice and what’s more, it is fully editable.

Sync up your meeting information, agendas and notes between Outlook and OneNote to keep track of all decisions made at the meetings. Then email the page to all external attendees, no need to do this for the internals as you will share it on a network or SharePoint site

Or go a step further and pull in details for an existing meeting in Outlook. Click the drop down arrow under Meeting details to see all of your meetings for today or choose a meeting from another day – this has an extra bit of impact if you had dragged an email into your calendar and now add it to OneNote, all the information is now editable and makes for a great outline for your agenda, you won’t miss any key points this way!

What if work interrupts you while you are having fun with OneNote – no problem, just add what you are doing as a task in Outlook, click the drop down arrow under the Outlook Tasks flag and tell the system when you want to be reminded. Once the reminder pops up on your system opening it will automatically open OneNote in just the right place where you left off.

And then there are the Tags. What can I say about OneNote Tags? There are plenty of them anyway and that is for sure.

Use them to tag important points, key information, to do items – you name it you can tag it, and then you can search for something again later by using the search tags option. Better still why not make your own tags for projects, plans and proposals? You can add tick boxes and tick them as done, mark something as high importance, someone special, somewhere special… etc.

And for today, last but by no means least – reviewing your OneNotes. If you share with another person or persons, you can review all changes made, when they were made and by whom, and if you are happy you can organise all of the information into a tidier format, or even into a table and save it as a word document or a pdf.

So what are you waiting for? Go off now and discover the amazing secrets of this great tool! Hope you love it as much as I do!

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