I’ll start this article with an honest confession. Even though I’m part of the “IT world”, I’m not the most tech savvy person… I struggle with the jargon and technicalities, and definitely experience all the typical frustrations felt by those who are not “techy”. Thankfully, Bremmar has introduced me to a new approach to IT.
Since starting at Bremmar, I’ve experienced our consultant’s enormous levels of patience and ability to explain everything in plain English. This has made my IT journey far less stressful. I even find IT interesting, often discovering solutions and technologies to help me with my work and personal life!
The point to my story? To talk about OneNote. My colleagues have been advocates of this product for a long time, often talking about how it makes their work so much easier (our MD even wrote an article about it – read it here). I refused to try it though, as I thought it was just another techy thing that I would find complicated and end up wasting time trying to understand.
Guess what? I was wrong. I was convinced to give OneNote a chance and now it has become an essential tool to perform my work. I’ve even started using it in my personal life.
Let me share my experience with you…
OneNote is already installed in Windows PCs and it’s free!
You are probably reading this and not aware that you already have it installed. OneNote was included in Office 2010, so if you have a Windows PC is a high chance you already have it.
From registering to downloading the app on different devices, it’s pretty straight forward. Everyone uses apps on our phones and tablets, and OneNote is no different.
Simply go to your Apple or Google store, select the app, add your login and password and OneNote is ready to go on the devices you want.
Some more bonuses? It’s free and it automatically syncs in all devices whenever you make a change.
It’s easy to get your head around
You can have as many Notebooks as you want, and within each Notebook add as many tabs as you please. Within each tab, you can also have as many pages as you need. This is how it will look:
The structure makes it easy to organise your content. It helps to have all the bits and pieces of a project or research in one place and visually organised.
Take more than just notes
Stressing about capturing all the information at your next big meeting? You don’t have to worry with OneNote on your side. You can record audio or video inside the OneNote app without any third-party tool.
If something of high importance comes up while you are recording, you can highlight it by writing a small note and a play button will appear next to it. This means that once pressed, you can play the audio from the point in the meeting when you took the note.
Taking a quick note
You don’t even need have OneNote open all the time to use it. If you are in a rush and want to add something quick to your notes, just press Windows+N and a small window will appear for you to write your notes.
Add files to your notes
Personally, I love the easy file drag and drop feature. You can’t forget a file that relates to your note if it’s attached to it!
Add notes to your notes
There two great ways to add notes to your notes:
OneNote can read your handwritten notes and automatically convert them to text (I know…amazing!).
By using the draw feature you can highlight, circle, comment… do whatever you want to yours, or someone else’s notes. If you are on a tablet, choose Draw with Touch to make it easier.
Extract notes from images
OneNote not only takes notes for you, but can also help to copy or extract notes from other sources. If you have images with notes and don’t want to waste time rewriting them, that’s easily fixed. Just press the Copy Text from Picture and voila!
Add screenshots to your notes
If you work with two screens this option is for you. Just click on the Insert tab, choose Screen Clipping and you can choose what you screen shot. It will automatically be added to your notes.
Send your notes
Have you finished attaching, copying, drawing and using all the functionality mentioned above? Well, it’s time to share it. Easy! You can share a single page or the entire notebook. Depending on your OneNote version, you can click the “+” button on the right hand side of the screen or click on File – Share, where you will see different sharing options.
Never miss a source
If you are like me and do a lot of research, you don’t want to have messy notes and end up forgetting where you found “such and such” information. OneNote helps by automatically adding sources when anything is copy and pasted from the web.
Get help with calculations
That’s right. If you are writing some notes on a project and need to do some calculations, you don’t need to open another app. Just add your equation, put the equal sign and press space.
If this option is too simple and your project involves more complex calculations, OneNote can still help. Insert or build your own calculation by selecting Insert – Equation, then clicking Insert New Equation.
Tag and organise your work
Have a big to-do list? Need to define priorities? Waiting on approvals? Breathe… and organise your work. OneNote has many different tags to differentiate your notes. For example, I love writing to-do lists and ticking them off.
If I have an idea, but am too time poor to execute it, I record it and add a tag to revisit it next quarter. Same as if I go on holidays, I categorise my notes so they are easy for me to understand and execute when I’m back. There are so many options!
Just right click on the content you want to tag and choose your option:
The must-have shortcut
Go to your one of your notes and add a [[ (open bracket), then a sentence, then ]] (close brackets). What happened? Yes, it created a link and a new page for your sentence. This is extremely useful when doing a research or working on a project that will require many different pages.
One Note just keeps on making work life quicker and easier…
Protect your notes
Security is crucial when it comes to business information. If you’re working on a project or research and some of the content is confidential, you can add passwords for protection. Simply right click on the page (tab) you would like to protect and choose “Password Protect This Section” in the context menu.
Sync your OneNote to Office 365
If your business has an Office 365 plan, or uses SharePoint or OneDrive, you can create, sync and share your notebooks between all the business accounts on any device, at any time!
Some final thoughts…
OneNote is a powerful tool that can help you organise your work and tasks. I doubt you read this article and didn’t go “WOW” at least once.
OneNote is capable of even more, but this is just a summary of how I use it and what I consider the most useful features for a “beginner”.
So, there it is… A solution to help you organise your work without blowing your budget or having to be a tech master!
If you would like more tips and advice on how to make your business more productive and effective with solutions like OneNote and Office 365, our consultants can help. We can evaluate your systems and recommend solutions that will suit your current and future needs.
Just give us a call on 1300 991 351 or email firstname.lastname@example.org and one of our team will discuss your requirements with you. In plain English, I promise.