Tip of the Week: Using Microsoft OneNote for Collaboration

Have you tried using Microsoft OneNote recently? It’s a great solution for a business setting, as it can provide your organization with plenty of features and capabilities that keep your staff organized and efficient. Thankfully, these features can allow your business to pass OneNote off as a project management tool. We’ll show you how it’s done.
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Quick Tip: How to Backup your OneNote 2010 Notebooks

Microsoft OneNote makes it very easy to take and organize all of your daily notes. Today we’re going to show you how to ensure your OneNote Notebooks are backed up so you don’t risk losing any information in the event of a computer issue.

OneNote behaves differently than your standard Microsoft Office App. Where a Word doc or Excel spreadsheet is a pretty standard file, OneNote doesn’t bug you with questions like ‘do you want to save your note?’ or ‘where would you like to save your notes?’ It just takes your information and next time you open up OneNote, it’s still there (one of the many conveniences found in OneNote). However, it’s very important to understand how this works so you can be sure your notebooks are being backed up properly.

Open OneNote and click on the File menu on the top left, then go to Options.

On the sidebar on the left, select Save & Backup.

First, you’ll have some options on where certain elements in OneNote get saved. There’s your Unfiled Notes Section, your Backup Folder, and the default location of your newly created Notebooks. You can modify these so they save in any directory you want.

You will want to make sure the Backup Folder is somewhere on your company’s network, on a server and in a directory that gets backed up by your company’s backup solution. If the backup is sitting on the same computer you are working on, if your hard drive crashes you may never see your notes again.

Below you can also adjust how often the Notebook backs itself up and how many copies it keeps. This means if something terrible were to happen (like a whole bunch of meeting notes being deleted accidentally) you can go back to a previous version and likely retrieve them. We recommend bumping up the number of backup copies to 5, maybe even a little more.

Looking to make sure all of your day-to-day data is backed up? Contact Michell Consulting Group at 305-592-5433 to make sure your network is utilizing best practices and a reliable, testable backup system.

Taking OneNote With You

Recently we mentioned Evernote as a great note taking app that is supported across multiple operating systems and mobile devices. We compared it to Microsoft OneNote as a lighter alternative that is easy to set up and sync across a plethora of devices. However, diehard fans of OneNote probably don’t want to make a switch to a whole other platform. Today we’re going to talk about ways to mobilize your OneNote notebooks as well as some other features that are exclusive to OneNote that you might not know about.

Start Taking Down Notes Fast

Quick keyboard shortcuts to open up the application (Windows Key + Shift + N) or to open up a Quick Note (Windows Key + N) make it easy to launch in a pinch when conferencing or when you need to take quick notes while on the phone. Typically your Quick Note gets stored in the Unfiled Notes section, and from there you can drag it into the appropriate Notebook Section.

Outlook Integration

You can take a note in OneNote and kick it over to an Outlook Task, email a page of notes through Outlook, and attach a OneNote page to an Outlook Meeting, all from the Home tab in OneNote.

Video and Audio Recording

Evernote allows audio recording, but new to OneNote 2011 is video recording you can take with your web cam. Both recording options are time stamped, and you can have multiple recordings in a single note. Click on the insert tab in OneNote to access your recording controls.

Advanced Formatting

OneNote lets you create tables, insert images, attach files, and use highlighter and pen tools to review and organize your notes. Find these tools on the Draw tab. You can even type out mathematical equations right into your note and OneNote will solve them on the fly. This is fantastic for crunching numbers quickly in a meeting.

Sharing and Collaborating

For small businesses, this is what makes OneNote stand out – You can take a OneNote Notebook and store it on a shared network location (such as your file server or a Microsoft SharePoint Server) and let other users access it. The notebooks will sync and be accessible, and OneNote will highlight alterations that aren’t your own so you can clearly see when other users collaborate. Microsoft also offers online hosting for OneNote through Windows Live, called Skydrive. Click the Share tab in OneNote and click Share This Notebook. It will let you choose a location to store the Notebook on the network, and then give you an email you can send to other users so they can access it. This allows you to access your OneNote Notebooks on multiple devices as well.

Backup your Notes

Storing your Notebooks on the backed-up company server is a great start to protecting your notes from data loss, but OneNote also includes a backup feature. Click File and go to Options, then click Save & Backup to set the default directory for your backups. You can also set how often the backup runs (you’ll want to have it run at least once a day, if not more) and how many versions to save. That way, if multiple users are working on notes and something gets replaced, you can restore to earlier versions.

Password Protect Your Notes

You can password protect individual sections of notes (sections are the tabs at the top you can define, each Notebook is broken down into sections which contain all of your note pages). Right click on a section and select Password Protect This Section. You’ll be able to choose a password, locking down all of the notes in that section so only those with the password can view it.

Take your Notes With You

Microsoft has developed OneNote for iPhone and Windows Phone 7 devices. This means you can use and sync your notes from your desktop and laptop over to your iPhone or Windows Phone 7 device. With OneNote 2010, you can also sync your Notebooks over to Windows Live Skydrive and access them in a fairly functional web app. However, there is no official support for Google Android devices. OneNote should already be available on your Windows Phone 7 device, and for iPhone users you can find it on the app store. The easiest way to sync with these devices is through the Skydrive feature.

OneNote for Android

As mentioned, there is no official support for Android devices at this time, making a lot of users choose Evernote even if OneNote has some cooler features. There is hope, however. The app MobileNoter is showing the beginning signs of a seamless OneNote to Android solution that will let you view, manage, and edit notes on Android smartphones and tablets. After trying the app, there is still a ways to go before it is a viable solution – currently you can view and edit notes, but not create new ones, and there are issues with syncing that are still being worked out (the app is expensive as far as mobile apps go, and depending on how you want to sync, you could end up paying a yearly fee).. For anyone who can’t see themselves moving away from OneNote or Android, you will be in limbo until a good solution is developed unfortunately.

Looking to establish OneNote throughout your company for taking and sharing notes? Give us a call at 305-592-5433.