OneNote: a hidden Microsoft Office gem

Last week I discovered Microsoft OneNote 2007, and I am (honestly) impressed. Actually, the first time I ever heard of OneNote was when I read the FAQ of InkSeine.

Here’s part of the product description:

Office OneNote 2007 is a digital notebook that provides people one place to gather their notes and information, powerful search to find what they are looking for quickly, and easy-to-use shared notebooks so that they can manage information overload and work together more effectively.

I have been using a combination of GmailGoogle CalendarGoogle DocsGoogle Notebook and to organize (and capture) information (partially inspired by this setup). The big problem here was synchronization. I ended up copying URLs to Google Notebook since I would never be confronted with them again if I stored them in There were no explicit links between meetings, documents, and other resources (e.g. websites or short notes in notebooks). I would add gadgets for each of these apps to my iGoogle page to keep an overview. Although I could cope with this setup, it was not ideal. Gmail and Google Calendar are great services which I still love to use, but for quick notes and jotting down ideas I often resorted to paper notes.

Although OneNote is not perfect either, combined with a laptop (or tablet PC) it has the potential to eliminate most paper note taking. To get a good overview of what’s possible with OneNote, have a look at these resources:

A lot of people have been impressed with OneNote and have blogged about it.

Here are a few of OneNote’s features that I like:

  • text search in images and audio
  • audio and video recording with synchronized notes
  • shared notebooks
  • embedding any file as a printout
  • screen clippings
  • the ability to write and draw anywhere on a page
  • tags (e.g. todo, important, question, etc.)
  • calculator support
  • inking support (if only I had a tablet PC)

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