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5 Tips and Tricks for Microsoft OneNote 2010

5 Tips and Tricks for Microsoft OneNote 2010

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Karen Hong is a business analyst at TechSoup.

I confess that I am constantly writing things down – whether they be tasks, meeting notes, or ideas. In many cases, those jottings were generally lost in pages of notebooks and, dare I say, illegible handwriting. I have tried to use basic tools, like Notepad, to store notes, but that turned into an exercise of organizing multiple files with no way to easily find information or share it with others. 

Microsoft’s OneNote 2010 is a digital tool that helps people who need a better way to keep track of their notes and information by providing an easy way to collect, organize, search, and share information. OneNote allows users to create digital notebooks, each of which can be separated by multiple tabs for different topics.  

In addition to letting users easily take and keep notes in one location, OneNote has additional features that I have found to be extremely helpful. Here are my five favorites:

  1. Flagging tasks that integrate into Outlook. Jotting down tasks is great, but not if you can’t remember what you wrote or where you wrote them down. In OneNote, you can highlight a line of text, right-click, and flag it as an Outlook task and assign it a due date. This will automatically add the task to your Outlook Task list. 
  2. Screenshot integration. Taking screenshots can be a laborious task that may involve taking a screen grab, cropping the image, and then copying and pasting it into a document. OneNote has an easy one-step process for taking screenshots. The Screen Clipping feature allows you to outline the exact area you want on a screen and paste it directly into your OneNote page. It also includes a date stamp of when the screenshot was taken. 



  3. One-step email. If you use Outlook, OneNote makes it easy to email your notes to colleagues. In one step, OneNote can paste your page of notes, including any screen clippings, images, links, audio recordings, and documents you’ve attached to it, directly into an Outlook email. You simply add the recipients and send it off! 

  4. Searchability. Perhaps one of the biggest challenges with handwritten notes is trying to find a specific line within those notes. Not a problem with OneNote – it has full search capabilities that allow users to enter search terms and quickly locate the pages that contain those terms.
  5. Unfiled Notes. For a quick note, OneNote’s Unfiled Note feature allows you to quickly jot down a thought, idea, or task. A OneNote icon always sits in your task bar, where you can easily open it and write a note. It then automatically posts it to the Unfiled Notes tab in OneNote for you to take future action. 

For more information about how to use OneNote, check out:

  • Thanks for explaining it a little tricky

  • This is a great intro Karen! Super helpful!

    Does OneNote have any sharing capabilities beyond outlook integration? Would it be applicable to a team situation for everyone to reference shared folders for example?

  • Great question.  OneNote has a set of Share features that allows users to upload a notebook to a network drive where it can be accessed by others on the same network.  It also provides an option to upload to the Web (using a Windows Live account) where it can also accessed by others.

    For more information, check out: office.microsoft.com/.../share-notebooks-in-onenote-2010-HA010386952.aspx.

  • I've been using OneNote for several years now. Great tool for planning out project next actions and for consolidating all kinds of reference materials (links, screenshots, audio clippings, etc.). I also use it for quick access to all my different to-do lists (travel packing, books to read, things to buy, etc.). OneNote users might find these shortcuts useful: www.shortcutworld.com/.../OneNote_2010.html

  • looks like a great tool. thanks for the info!

  • Thanks Karen, this was very helpful!