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February 10, 2021

14 Tips to Improve Productivity with OneNote

Tired of carrying notebooks around and losing all those pens? I'd risk a guess and assume you are, or you won't be here reading this article.

Guess what? I have the most delicious, full-blown application for you to replace your boring, heavy paperbacks with. Microsoft OneNote lets you create simple and complicated notes from scratch, organize them according to your preferences and sync them on various devices instantly including your windows PCs, Desktop, Macs, Surface Pros, and phones. You can use it to create class notes, add an occasional personal note here and there, and then share notes and ideas.

Here's a 10-minute video to introduce you to the digital notebook, OneNote.

OneNote is overflowing with note-creation tools for drawing, recording audio, and video, scanning images, embedding spreadsheets, and reviewing the edits of others. In fact, its note-creation tools are very comprehensive. You can easily flip your laptop open or pick your phone up and make handwritten notes on top of slides.

People like me who are obsessed with organizing would drool over OneNote's basic structure. You can create individual notebooks and within each notebook, you can create section groups that contain multiple sections. And don't even get me started on the colors! Each section has individual pages, with each page a separate note. It's ideal for organizing content with a logical structure. You can revise your notes with type, highlighting, or ink annotations. With OneNote, there's no chance you'll miss a single flash of inspiration.


Features of Microsoft OneNote

  • Organize and Sort content across notebooks, sections, and pages.  
  • Use Custom Tags to highlight important notes with to-do tags
  • Draw your thoughts and add annotations to your notes using a stylus or even just your finger
  • OneNote allows Mix Media! You can add video, audio, or even files to your notebooks.
  • OneNote allows Mix Media! You can add video, audio, or even files to your notebooks.
  • Use the OneNote Clipper to save content with a single click
  • Share notebooks with coworkers, friends, and family.

OneNote in Education

Classroom organization has never been easier. With a personal workspace for every student, a content library for handouts, and a collaboration space for lessons and creative activities, OneNote for Education - Part of Office 365 education empowers students to create their best work.


OneNote for students

OneNote provides every student a personal workspace, a content library for handouts, and a collaboration space.


Class Notebook for teachers

Teachers can easily organize lesson plans, collect homework, and provide individualized support.


Staff Notebook for school leaders

Staff Notebooks provide a personal workspace for every staff member and a collaboration space for the whole team.

You can learn more about the 10 top teaching and learning tips for OneNote from an educator’s point of view.


OneNote Enhances Workplace Collaboration

Provide a central place for administration. Furthermore, It offers a personal work-space for every employee to share information. And space where everyone can work together all in one Digital Notebook. The team can share plans, take monthly meeting notes, annual meeting notes, and preserve all of that data with OneNote's password protection options.

onenote-productivity-tips


OneNote’s Layout

OneNote has a familiar three-paneled layout. On the far left, you have a collapsible menu with three options: Notebooks, Search, and Recent Notes. When you click the first choice, a list of notebooks appears, and whichever one you select, its pages appear to the right. It's similar to a standard tree folder structure. When you select a particular page, its contents appear in the main window.

When you first set up OneNote on a new device, you likely won't see all your notebooks by default, because the app only shows recently used notebooks. To open a notebook that you haven't seen in a while, you have to hunt it down on OneDrive and load it back into the app. Finding and selecting them doesn't take long, but loading them can, depending on their size. It can be annoying and will slow down your productivity, depending on how many notes you have and how you need to organize them.


The Pros and Cons

Everything has cons too – I would be too biased to say that OneNote doesn’t have any, so here they are.

Pros

Cons

Rich with features

Can be slow and clunky

Can extract text from images

So-so sharing options

Generous free version

Web clipper needs improvement

Plenty of storage


Equation solving


Feature

Google Keep

Microsoft OneNote

Platforms

Android, iOS, Chrome, PWA, and Web

Android, iOS, PC, Chrome, PWA, and Web

Text editing

Simple text editing

Rick text editing on desktop and web
A few rich editing tools on mobile

Draw

✔ (separate space)

✔ (on content allowed)

Search (within notes)

No. of widgets on Android

2

5

14 Tips to Enhance Productivity with Microsoft OneNote


1. Create a quick note: Use Quick Notes to take down any thoughts and ideas, just like you do in sticky notes. Each Quick Note is immediately saved as a page in the Quick Notes notebook. You can also create keyboard shortcuts for this.

2. Search across all of your notes: The more often you use OneNote the more content you’ll be storing. It can quickly become your go-to place for everything and anything. If you’re like me, you’ll quickly forget where you stored things! Luckily the built-in search feature is amazing.

3. Share your notebook in real-time: OneNote’s possibilities don’t end with meeting notes and personal to-do lists. Today, teams need to collaborate in real-time, from everywhere in the world. OneNote notebooks can be used to keep projects organized, share notes about clients and work with your team, share the highlights and agendas from meetings.

4. Draw and handwrite notes: Until the time that I started using OneNote, I felt the need to carry around a pen and notepad in my bag all the time. In OneNote, you can type notes, write notes, convert handwritten notes to text, and even draw directly on the page. Argh!

5. Tags to categorize notes: Tags are a way to categorize notes in OneNote. With tags, you can quickly return to important items, remind yourself about tasks, or filter on notes you’d like to share with others. You can tag anything from a single line of text to an entire paragraph.

6. Integrate OneNote with Outlook Flags: Now, we’re getting to OneNote’s true potential! As you take notes and plan projects in OneNote, you might wonder how to manage deadlines and remember the things on your to-do list. One way is to create Outlook tasks. Then you can view and track those tasks in Outlook and even get reminders.

7. Password-Protect your Notebooks: Password protection in OneNote helps you keep your notes safe from peeks. Whether you use OneNote for class notes at school, meeting notes at work, a personal diary or blog at home, or personal information about yourself, passwords play a vital role in controlling access to those notes. When a section is password-protected, all of its pages are locked until you enter the correct password.

8. Create & Use Page Templates:  A template is basically a page design that you can apply to new pages in your notebook to give them an nice and lively background, or a consistent layout. OneNote comes with several built-in page templates that you can choose from, including decorative page backgrounds, planners, and To-Do lists. If you like, you can also create your own page template or customize an existing one.

9. Organize Pages with Subpages: Subpages are a good way to group and organize notes. For instance, if you have annual or monthly meeting notes, the annual meeting notes can be the main page and you can categorize the monthly meeting notes so they become subpages.

10. Use OneNote as a Team Wiki: If you’d like to share your notebook with other people, make sure you create your OneNote notebook on OneDrive so others can reach it. If you’ve already created a notebook on your computer, first move it to OneDrive. Just because your notebook is on OneDrive doesn’t mean people can automatically see it. 

11. Automatic sourcing: That's right! OneNote automatically adds a source link from anything you copy and paste from the web, making a bibliography so much easier!

12. Use other apps with OneNote: There are tons of apps available to integrate with OneNote, but our favorites is the OneNote web clipper. With the OneNote web clipper, you can clip anything from news articles to blog posts which are then automatically captured in OneNote.

13. Integrate OneNote with other Microsoft Office apps: Being a part of the Microsoft family, you can count on OneNote to seamlessly integrate with other Microsoft apps. You can import charts from Excel, take notes on Powerpoint slides, create meeting notes from Outlook appointments.

14. Save all your notes to the cloud: Integrate OneNote and Microsoft’s OneDrive and get 7GB of cloud storage for free – that’s lots of notes. And if that’s not enough for you, you can always buy up to 200 GB of storage. OneNote automatically saves all your notes for you. You no longer have to worry about losing your work because you didn't save it. Yayay!

Last Updated 2 weeks ago

About the Author

Rijah is a professional Marketing Executive & content specialist. You may know her from her greatest hits like, "No, I can't just make it go viral." or "No, you can't have everybody as your audience." and "Yes, you're absolutely going to need a copywriter!"

Rijah N. Fawad

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