From the inception of the personal computer revolution, there has been game changer applications that spurred the growth of the PC industry; Electric Pencil, Visicalc, Lotus 123, Peachtree Accounting, and dBaseII – the CP/M program from Ashton Tate not the mainframe program from IBM. Though Microsoft’s OneNote cannot possibly stand with these legends, it does fill a need missing with available personal productivity software: a simple way to organize documents and files in one place.
Outlook is very good at organizing Contacts, but eMail not so much. If your PC is anything like mine, the desktop is an organizational disaster and the best you can expect from Documents organization is sub-folders and alphabetically sorting.
Let’s get rid of the negatives first. OneNote has been a part of the Office suite since 2003. If you got a recent version of Office, you got OneNote. Otherwise the best you can do is download it separately for eighty bucks. Visit HERE .
OneNote is a complex application, not very intuitive, and not particularly free form. It’s a storage device, not a content generator.
OneNote starts with two notebooks, personal and work. Since OneNote 2007 users are allowed to create more notebooks. Notebooks are divided into sections, identified by horizontal tabs across the top of the client area.
How do you put stuff into your notebooks? One of the simplest ways is to print it into OneNote. Upon installation, OneNote adds a print driver to your PC’s collection. Using the OneNote printer, if you can print the document, you can send it to OneNote’s “unfiled notes” area. From this area you can move the item to any of your notebooks. I am now paperless with many of my service providers; credit cards, banking, cellphone, and insurance. Using OneNote, I am now truly paperless. When I go online to get my statements, I print them to OneNote and then file them under the appropriate section. I usually go online with my laptop, which is not hooked up to any of my printers. I make a purchase online and print the receipt to OneNote. Later I can file the document under an appropriate section. PDFs can be stored and viewed with an additional plugin. OneNote is fully integrated into Office, so .doc and .xls files can be sent directly to sections. Many context menus will have a OneNote entry in the “Send to” section. OneNote is shareable if placed in a shared folder.
OneNote can help – make you truly paperless and organize your dis-organized common folders.