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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
how do i change my default font size??? it keeps reverting back to the same thing each time!!! Its driving me nuts! all And all i want is to up the pt size from 12 to 14!!! I just want to see what im 'noting' down better--- Maybe I can't see as well but why is OneNote tormenting me for it??? I want it to be size 14 when I decide to write text... I dont want to format it to 14 each and everytime I click a new spot on my notes. Something so simple is is becoming such a hard task.. making me cautious of whether or not this program is as easy and integrative as says it is. So far not very user-friendly.... even the plain old .txt files could change and save the format size of my choice....
@Tony Brown, Stacy DuBois, and kellis: Thank you for the nice comments and feedback. I appreciate you stopping by and leaving a comment.
@Gian2ooo: You can easily change the default font in OneNote 2010 by clicking File > Options. In the OneNote Options dialog box that opens, make your selection under the "Default Font" heading.
Ayça hanim, what's missing is a math tool bar that would help to compile a list of formulas one wants to keep in their school notes. Or am I missing something? It seems that the ability to calculate simple equations is of less value then the ability to take notes in mathematical formats. Unless, of course, there is a downloadable tool-bar plug-in of some sort somewhere which i could not locate in the help files nor in online help, so far.