OneNote 2010 and PowerPoint 2010: Easy note-taking while reading presentations

Today’s post is a guest post from Alex Simmons, a Program Manager on the OneNote team. OneNote 2010 is included in every edition of Office 2010, so make sure to try it out!

Hi everyone,  we’ve built a new feature in OneNote 2010 that allows you to take more meaningful notes while reading in other applications.  We call the feature Linked Note Taking, an automatic feature when OneNote is docked to the desktop.  For supported applications, like PowerPoint, you never have to worry about remembering the context of your notes; OneNote will capture the context for you automatically. This frees your brain in a meeting to think less about the software and lets you focus on what really matters, the material that is being presented to you.

Let me walk you through a scenario that shows how PowerPoint and OneNote can work together.

Imagine you’re at the company sales meeting and you want to take some notes about the main presentation, which has been made available on the company intranet for you to read. You open up the slide deck and go to the Review tab and click on Linked Notes.

Image of the Linked Notes button on the Review tab in PowerPoint 2010

You decide where in your OneNote file you want to put your notes, and then OneNote docks to the side of the desktop.

You are ready to take linked notes. 

On a side note (no pun intended :-) ), Dock to Desktop is great new OneNote 2010 feature. This is a View that docks your OneNote window to the side of your desktop.  Other windows stay out of the way of OneNote when it is docked, and it gives you a nice static location to take notes while working in other applications.

When you are in this View, Linked Note Taking is on by default, so if OneNote supports the application that are you reading in, your notes will automatically be linked to what you are reading.

Ok, back to our scenario. The Link icon (clip_image002) on the docked OneNote page tells you that OneNote can link to the target “reading” app (in this case, PowerPoint).

Image of the Onenote app docked next to the PowerPoint app

clip_image001[13]As you take notes, an indicator (the PowerPoint icon) shows to tell you a link has automatically been created. Hovering over this indicator shows what the note was taken about.

Since this is OneNote, you can use shortcuts like quickly hitting Ctrl-1 to flag the item as a To Do so you remember to follow up (Ctrl-Shift-1 will add it to your Outlook Tasks, if that’s the way you prefer to track your work).

A few days later, you are going through your notes looking for follow up items and you find a To Do item related to “investigating hidden costs.†You aren’t totally sure what this was referring to, so you hover over the relevant note and see the linked PowerPoint icon. Hovering over the icon shows this was about a slide that was talking about the Hidden Costs of Outsourcing.

This is exactly the info you are looking for and you’d like to re-read the material in the slide deck, so you click on the PowerPoint linked notes icon and the original presentation is opened and you are automatically taken to the slide about hidden costs.

If you read on your computer a lot or attend a lot of presentations, you can choose to take your notes anywhere in OneNote (you’re not restricted to just one page in OneNote) and be confident that you can always get back to the original presentation.

clip_image001[15]But the opposite is also true: when you click on Linked Notes from PowerPoint, and you have already taken notes about this presentation, OneNote will detect this and take you to the last notes you wrote about this presentation.  And if you have several pages of notes about this presentation scattered throughout OneNote, OneNote will let you know these also exist. Here you can see that OneNote has found 2 pages of notes that contain links to the same presentation.

Another related scenario that is also pretty cool is what happens when these links are created in shared notebooks.  In my example above, if notes were taken by one of my team members and stored in a shared notebook that I have open, when I click on Linked Notes in PowerPoint, OneNote will find this other person’s linked notes about this presentation as well.  Instead of taking additional notes, I can just quickly scan through my colleague’s notes. And since this is a team shared notebook, I can even add to their notes. This model allows for some interesting organic collaboration, as it is another way to discover related content created by another team member.

One last thing I’d like to call out. I focused here on PowerPoint integration, but we’ve also built Linked Notes connectors for Word, Internet Explorer, and OneNote itself (notes about notes!), and we’ve built this in such a way so that they all work together.  As I mentioned above, whenever OneNote is docked, Linked Note Taking is automatically enabled.  This means that you can be switching between multiple apps, reading content in them, and taking notes in OneNote – OneNote will automatically link to multiple files and file types.  OneNote looks at what the top level application is (excluding the docked window…) and if it knows how to connect to it, it will link to what you are looking at in the top level application when you take a note.

I really hope you enjoy using this feature and find it useful. You can learn more about OneNote at our product site and blog.

- Alex Simmons, Senior Program Manager, OneNote