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This post was written by Microsoft Senior Product Manager Ayça Yüksel, who reflects on her not-too-distant school days and how some of her favorite features in OneNote 2010 could have helped her prepare and get through a new year of school.
Oh look, fall is here again! Which means that it's time to head back to school. For me, the words "back to school" conjure up visions of late-night exam preps, illegible handwriting on classroom blackboards, not to mention bad cafeteria food.
Of course, when I was in school, we didn't have Microsoft OneNote. (Come to think of it, OneNote sure might have helped with that less-than-stellar GPA.) But that's not stopping me from compiling a list of my five favorite "Wish I'd had that back then" features in OneNote 2010.
As soon as you start a screen clipping (Insert > Screen Clipping), OneNote minimizes and you can drag a selection to capture anything you see on your computer screen — for example, a Web page or part of a PDF file or anything you see in another program you're working in.
Screen clippings are most useful for taking snapshots during Web research, trip planning, online shopping, product comparisons, or anything else that you want to bring into your notes. You can file away your screen clippings anywhere in your notebooks or copy them to the Windows Clipboard, from where you can easily paste them into other programs, too.
You can insert full-color, searchable printouts of any file type that your computer can normally print to a real printer. Once inserted, you can then type, draw, or handwrite on top of the printout picture in OneNote.
There are two ways to print files to a OneNote notes page:
Pretty much every program these days can find text that you've typed. But OneNote 2010 includes a real Optical Character Recognition (OCR) engine, which lets you search for a word or phrase and then finds it for you anywhere — even in pictures that you've inserted into your notes. To search only the current page, press CTRL+F. To search across all of your notebooks, press CTRL+E. Then type a keyword or phrase and watch OneNote do its magic!
By the way, if you frequently record audio clips as part of your notes, you can also enable the optional Audio Search feature (click File > Options > Audio & Video > Audio Search), which lets you find search words or phrases in any of the audio clips that you've recorded and inserted in your notes. Lastly, if you're lucky enough to use OneNote on a Tablet PC, you can find text in your handwritten notes, too!
Ever scribble a few calculations on the back of a napkin or a scrap of paper? You can do the same on any OneNote notes page — and even make OneNote do the calculations for you.
Try it now! Place the cursor after the = (equal) sign after you type each of the examples below and then press the SPACEBAR:
Here are some more examples of expressions that you can calculate:
Thanks to this new feature in OneNote 2010, doing research for school will never be the same. OneNote can automatically establish links to any Web sites and files that you were looking at while taking notes, so you can go back to these locations again later on, when you need more context for all of the notes you've taken. To put it another way, the Linked Notes feature helps you manage information overload by giving you context for all of your thoughts.
For example, open up a Word document and place the cursor anywhere in it. Switch back to OneNote and create a new, blank page (or go to any existing page where you want to take notes). Dock the OneNote program window to the side of your screen (View > Dock to Desktop) and then type a note in the docked window. The Microsoft Word icon will show in that line in your notes. When you mouse over the icon, the linked site is displayed in a pop-up box. To go back to that site, just click the link icon to return to the source of the information.
By the way, this feature works great with Web sites in Internet Explorer, too!
These are my top favorite "back to school" features in OneNote. I've got a lot more, actually, but I want to hear from you. What are your OneNote time- and life-savers in class?
Good luck with exams this year, party responsibly, and remember to try and keep those all-nighters to a minimum! ;-)
-- Ayça Yüksel, Senior Product Manager for Microsoft Office
As a working mom who also homeschools, the number one feature in OneNote 2010 that is invaluable to me is the web sharing of the notebooks! Each of my children has their own OneNote Notebook on their PC and I have it setup to share through my SkyDrive account. While I am at work, I can bring up any of their notebooks and view what they have completed so far that day, or help them with something (while chatting over Live Messenger) that I have inserted into their notebook previously (with the Print to OneNote feature from above!)
But I am also learning to use the Linked Note-taking feature so much more while researching things on the Internet - school or not. And I now use the OneNote screen-clipping (via the Windows+S shortcut) to paste a clipping just about anywhere!
Cindy, thanks for checking out my blog and telling us about your use of OneNote. It's always great to hear from our customers about the features they like best. The SkyDrive integration is one of my favorite things in the new version also. Not sure how we've lived without it all this time. ;-)
I can't figure out how to use the calculator feature you mentioned. I tried typing the problems in the search box and where the font type is displaced. Neither magically transformed into calculators, but informed me that there was no such notebook or type of font (respectfully).
I would love something more convenient than launching the old calculator system accessory tool!
Laursaurus, sorry if the calculator gave you trouble. There's no accessory or mode to bring up. Simply type the equation anywhere on a page in OneNote. As long as you press the SPACEBAR or ENTER key immediately after typing the = sign after your equation, the answer will magically appear.
For example, click anywhere on a page in OneNote, and type 5+5= on the page. After you type the = sign, press SPACEBAR or ENTER and "10" will appear after the = sign. You can then delete the equation and let the answer stand on its own, if you like. Let me know if that worked for you. The trick is not to separate the equation with spaces.
One note does not seem to be very applicable to seniors who are retired and do not have any buiness requirements. I'm sure you will find that out in the decades hense. The full Outlook e'mail program seems to be quite functional for my needs without growing my message beyond my ISP's limits. I could go on for several pages about why One note is almost overkill for all the below. But that is just my opinion. I worked since '77 on pc's (Zenith/Heathkit) and hold MBA degrees in Telecommunications Systems Management and Computer Systems Management.
Hi TaK, it just so happens that keeping things organized all in one place so one can find and remember them again later is something that we all have in common. In that respect, the workplace is no different than one's home, and age doesn't really factor into it, at least not from my perspective. Personally, I hear from seniors all the time who want to tell me how useful they find OneNote to be. It's so easy to use and lets them collect information where they'll remember to look. While much of our writing here on the Office.com sites is about the workplace and about school, there's really no right or wrong age group for using and enjoying the benefits of OneNote (and any technology, really). If you're interested, here's a recent video in which a Program Manager here at work let a film crew into her family's home to show how they use technology. They affectionately have come to call OneNote "grandma's brain" because it's so helpful to her: www.microsoft.com/.../familyonenote.aspx (the video shows some great examples for using OneNote outside of a business or school environment).
Thanks for visiting my blog and leaving a comment!
Nice! Love OneNote!
Onenote is the best tool I've found so far for annotating professor-provided PDF slides. I print them to Onenote, then add text and drawings during lecture to cover any extra information presented. My one major annoyance, though, is that clicking on the print-out slide selects the slide as an object, and I have to click again to be able to type on it. I often mis-click and wind up moving or otherwise altering the slide itself. Is there an option to alter this behavior?
Can one links notes made during an oral presentation or meeting to an audio recording of that meeting in such a way that clicking on the note or line in a series of notes will cause the audio to playback at the point where the note was entered?
@adp: Thank you for your comment. Glad you love OneNote (we do, too).
@Adam: What I typically do to annotate imported PowerPoint slides of PDF documents in my notes is to click just outside (to the right) of one of the images and then start typing a note or annotation. This creates a note container that I can then drag into position over the slide, which moves the annotation with it. Once in place, it's much easier to add to the text or to change and format it. Let me know if that works for you.
@Fred: Yes, this is possible — either in the way you describe or in the opposite way. When you record audio clips in OneNote 2010 and you take notes on that page during the recording, OneNote keeps track of when the notes where taken and the notes will correspond with the timeline of the recorded audio clip. If you click the See Playback button that appears in the Audio & Video tab on the ribbon (this tab appears only when you're recording or playing back audio or video), and you start playing the audio clip, OneNote will jump to and highlight each paragraph on that page to correspond to that time in the recording. This lets you retain the context between the recording and your notes and thoughts. To do what you ask in your comment is just as simple. While the audio/video playback commands are visible on the ribbon, move the mouse over any text paragraph in your notes and you'll see a little round Play button (looks like the ">" Play symbol in Windows Media Player) next to the text. Clicking any of these little Play buttons lets you start the audio at exactly that point where you had taken the note. No fast forwarding or rewinding to the correct spot is necessary. Give it a try and let me know if it works for you.
One feature that I believe would be KILLER in OneNote, would be to allow me to insert a resizeable panel in my note page that is a portal to my files on a hard drive or network resource. I could be in my project notebook, and right there are my project files. Imagine, if you will, "burning in" your file explorer on a note page. That'd be slick.
Each note page could have it's own portal (or multiple) to related files on the system.
Great post! I have to agree that the linked note-taking feature is a favourite in this latest version of OneNote. I'm currently doing university online part-time through Athabasca University here in Canada, and so absolutely everything I do is through my computer. It makes it very handy to have OneNote keeping track of where I found all of my information as I was taking notes so that my bibliographies can be quickly and easily compiled when it's time to hand in a paper. It was so common without this feature for me to take notes but then forget to write down what I was looking at!
great knowledge for sharing