Posts Tagged ‘digital organizer’

So, I am on a quest to identify all the ways you the OneNote fans are  using OneNote and i stumbled across this post today thanks to Twitter  (I am such a freaking Twitter fan!)

What can be cooler than using OneNote to analyze motor racing tracks.                           Here’s how it’s done:

As you develop your skills in Open Track events, and start to become comfortable with a  particular racetrack, you will start to realize that you need to analyze each part of the track in detail. This allows you to methodologically focus on improving how you approach the  turn,  where you turn in, where your apex is and how you cross it, and how you exit the turn. Plus of course the relationship of that turn to the next one, and so on.

In other words, you start to document each aspect of the event. And not only information   about the track, but starting with a list of what you need to pack for the weekend, the latest alignment specs you setup the car with, tire temps after each run, maps to the event and hotel reservations, and lots more.

This is where a great piece of software comes in: Microsoft OneNote. OneNote is a  software notebook. Pages, tabs, and sections allow you to organize your information  the way you want to. The ability to import graphics or to draw in freehand allows you                                to visualize and mark up information. If you have a Tablet PC, you can use a pen to            draw diagrams and to annotate them with your notes.. A Tablet PC isn’t necessary,  but it’s a nice addition to the capabilities and of course it’s very powerful to be able                       to carry the laptop around your garage area and to take notes with the driver during   and following each track session.

If you have instrumented your car, and are storing the data in a file such as Excel, that file can be linked to or even imported into OneNote, where it can also annotated                    and highlighted. Now you can look for issues and start to methodically address them.

The example shown here is from Target Chip Ganassi Racing in 2004. Engineers at the track use information store in and organized by OneNote to immediately modify the car for better performance. Engineers analyze the data to design car                                        components and plan strategies to help win future races. They previously used pen             and paper, but that information was difficult to share and inconvenient to use in                the track environment. Imagine these kinds of notes for your local track. If you                    are an instructor, you could even build your instruction notes here and print them            out for the student or class.

Whether you’ve got a TabletPC or not, this is the killer way to store your notes at the track. Alignments, tire pressures, other setup information, notes on the                                   track, events results, and more. Everything stored in OneNote, even handwriting               and images, is searchable and sharable. This is an extremely powerful tool  and we consider it a must-have.


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I thought I’d see how lawyers can use OneNote to be even more lawyer-y. Maybe we should send a copy of OneNote to the team who will be in charge of evaluating candidates!

What is Microsoft Office OneNote for Lawyers?

Microsoft(r) Office OneNote(tm) is a note-taking software program that combines the flexibility of a legal notepad with the efficiency, organization and accessibility of a computer. Attorneys can now write, organize, reuse and share their notes on any laptop, desktop or Tablet PC.

Who Needs OneNote?

OneNote is ideal for legal practitioners — lawyers, paralegals, law clerks, legal assistants and law students — who are assigned to the same cases, are in the same practice group or work on matters that involve more than one practice group and share information. Anyone who takes notes and needs to refer to them or share them later will benefit from OneNote. It is particularly useful for those who:

· Take notes on paper or on a PC
· Do research
· Repurpose their notes to develop more formal documents or presentations
· Attend client meetings, depositions, MCLE, seminars-or virtually any note-taking forum
· Need to share their notes with others

Key Features

OneNote is indispensable to lawyers who use laptops, desktops, PDAs or Tablet PCs. Here are some of the reasons why:

· Multiple device support. OneNote works well on any desktop, laptop and Tablet PC.
· Digital ink. Lawyers can handwrite their notes or draw diagrams and pictures using a pen-input device. Handwriting can then be converted to text for use in more formal documents and facilitate sharing among attorneys.

· Flexible two-dimensional page surface. Many lawyers use symbols or personal abbreviations when taking notes. With OneNote, they can do that, draw schematics, connect lines, and even arrows, anywhere on the page — just like on a notepad. For easy team access, they can share the notes or transfer them to another application.

· Copying and pasting. Lawyers can move notes around in OneNote, or between OneNote and any other Office application — and many non-Office applications. This is especially useful for multi-office law firms whose lawyers work on the same matters from distant locations. OneNote enables everyone assigned to that matter to access the file notes in a central location. Sharing client meeting notes or litigation strategies is both time efficient and cost efficient, particularly in multidistrict litigation or for client matters being handled in different offices,

· Audiovisual notebook. Lawyers can record audio notes that sync with their typed or written notes. Rather than slog through hundreds of pages of typed deposition testimony searching for a point, attorneys can record the deposition in OneNote, flag salient testimony, immediately access and then share the exact sworn testimony with whoever needs it. The deponent can also be recorded visually with a simple plug-in, documenting body language, as well as tone of voice.

· Adding Web content. Lawyers can simply drag-and-drop pictures, diagrams, text and other information from any Web site directly into their OneNote notes. Plus, OneNote automatically includes the Web address so that the lawyer can refer to the information later, if needed.

· OneNote side note. OneNote side note is a small version of OneNote that lawyers can launch with a single click on the Windows(r) Quick Launch toolbar. It opens a small window for writing or typing notes on the go or while working in other programs.

· Dictionary. Lawyers using legal shorthand in OneNote can store the symbols in their customized dictionaries.

Additional Features

OneNote offers lawyers several helpful features that easily organize, find, reuse and share notes

that traditional notepads don’t have:

· Note flags and note flag summary. OneNote note flags help lawyers make timely decisions about what to keep and what action to take. They can be used to mark notes that are important or require follow-up, such as expert testimony or new legal issues requiring research. Flagged notes also create a list of action items that can be viewed in the summary pane and distributed simultaneously to team members.

· Finding and searching. Lawyers can quickly search and find notes they need without having to remember where they saved the information. This is critical for attorneys working on matters that extend over long periods of time, such as patent applications, or for new attorneys assigned to a case. Newcomers can easily hone in on what they need in a central folder rather than sift through someone else’s paper notes — a rather time intensive process.

· Layout and design options. Note-taking does not always follow a logical sequence. In OneNote, lawyers can drag-and-drop notes to rearrange them in a way that makes sense to them and others who need to access them.

· History navigation. Just as in a Web browser, lawyers can jump to recently-viewed note pages without sifting through legal pads or trying to recollect where the note was written.

· Page tabs. Page tabs enable lawyers to easily flip through or rearrange pages in their current notebook.
· Title area. When the notes become too long to fit on the screen at one time, the notes that a lawyer wants to remain visible can be placed in this area.

· Auto saving. Notes will never be lost again because OneNote automatically saves them as they are written. This can be critical for preserving the comments of a key witness or the elements of a client interview.

· E-mailing notes. Notes can be shared in their folders or e-mailed directly from within OneNote.
· Publish as HTML. Lawyers can publish any of their note pages as HTML.

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I know this one is pretty out there, but I thought seeing as how many of you enjoyed the Fantasy Football post, you may also appreciate this interesting use case for OneNote as described in the Dragons Eye blog.

Click on the images below to view them at a non-eye test size.

Let me  know what you think. Can you top this?


OneNote has been written about ad-infinitum as a tool for note taking in meetings and classes, as a general information repository and as a collaboration tool but I’d like to introduce you to another use that I’m putting OneNote to.

Making holograms.

Or more specifically, documenting both the process I go through when creating a hologram and the results from that process in the form of notes and pictures.

As most of you will probably know, OneNote is a great repository for all sorts of information. It has allowed me to combine a number of sources into one place so that when needed, I can easily refer back to previous results when I’m making a new hologram.

Holography is a complex process

For those that aren’t familiar with holography I’ll give a short description. Those that are familiar can skip to the next section.

In the strictest sense the holography I engage in is the recording of interference patterns in a gelatin emulsion. A more appealing description is that holography is the act of making interesting 3D images using a laser and light sensitive film.

To do this I use a laser, special table and a number of lenses and mirrors to guide the laser light where I need it. If you think of a set up for a photo shoot you’ll have the general idea. Now add in some stringent stability requirements that mean there can be absolutely no movement (just standing next to the table will result in your heartbeat ruining an exposure) and you’ll have some idea of the challenges involved.

Below is a view of the table I use. (Remember, you can click on the images to see them bigger)


On the table is the holder where the film goes (the U shaped frame) and an assortment of mirror mounts and light blocking cards. Plus all the other little things that go into making a hologram.

After setting up the scene and lighting I expose some film to the laser light and end up with an image like the one below.


This process can take anything from hours to days depending on the complexity of the scene I’m shooting and final hologram I’m working toward.

Keeping track of variables

Some of the things that go into making a hologram are:

  1. Room temperature and humidity.
  2. Light readings.
  3. What film and chemicals were used.
  4. The subject of the hologram.
  5. How the film was prepared and when.
  6. And so on.

A sample of the datasheet that I used for tracking these variables is given below


As you can see, there’s a lot of information that can be tracked as part of the process.

Ideally this would be kept in an inkable form tool but for my purposes OneNote does a fine job.

I can easily write anywhere on the form, erase at will and add information as I see fit.


While I could also do this with a paper form, and was for several years, what OneNote also allows me to do that paper can’t is easily add additional information such as photos of the final film and holograms.


Done the old way I’d have to print the photos out and keep all of it in a traditional folder with clips and staples to make sure they all stay together.

This is a big help down the road when I want to know how the hologram looked (brightness, noise levels, etc) or how foggy the film was at the time the hologram was made.

Frequently I need to compare this information with how the hologram appears as it ages and by storing this information in OneNote I can very easily add to it as time goes by. I also have a very convenient “file” to refer to when starting new experiments. Since I take my tablet just about everywhere I always have that file with me if I need to refer to it.

Audio recording

I also make use of OneNote’s ability to index audio recordings by recording many of my sessions in the lab. I tend to talk to the recorder as though I’m going to make what I call a “labcast” and store that with the rest of the data on the hologram I’m working on. This gives me a good searchable commentary on what I was doing as I was preparing to make or processing the hologram.


The one thing I’d like that OneNote doesn’t have is the ability to set a particular page as read-only.

Because I tend to copy an existing page when starting a new hologram, the parameters are frequently the same as the last hologram I made, it’s easy to get off and start editing the wrong page.  Being able to set a page read-only would ensure that the data I’ve recorded is never accidentally modified or erased.


A tablet PC and OneNote are excellent tools for keeping track of lab data. Microsoft has made a sleeper of a killer application and while I will readily admit, perhaps too readily, that I’m not a Microsoft fan I recommend OneNote to anyone that has any need for data storage.

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I’ve posted before about how people use OneNote for organizing their recipes – being a bit of a Top Chef fan myself (I play a chef on TV), I am fascinated – at a bit of a distance – by how OneNote really does seem to be the perfect tool for doing this.

Perry from Perry’s Plate blog (which is a great blog for foodies so check it out) does a great job of describing how to do it:


I wanted all my recipes in digital format. I wanted to be able to print and email them easily. I wanted to be able to search by ingredient, add pictures to recipes, and keep things I want to try separate from things I already tried. Lucky for me Microsoft released the newest version of OneNote, which was an answer to my demanding prayer.

If you’ve never used OneNote, here’s a snapshot of the interface:

OK, go grab a snack, get comfy, and I’ll give you a tour…

OneNote basically holds “notebooks” on your computer. I only use one notebook, which is for recipes. You can divide your “notebook” into sections. Each section can have as many pages as you want. So, for example, I have a section called “Main Dishes”. Within “Main Dishes”, I have sub-sections (or tabs) for different types of dishes, i.e. “Chicken”, “Beef”, etc.

Each one of my section tabs contains recipes. Each recipe is on its own page, listed on the right-hand side.

When you click on the name of the recipe, it appears in the main viewing area. Easy, right?

Oh, it gets better. You can add pages or sections, simply by clicking on the dropdown menu from the main toolbar.

I just added a blank page here. Just click anywhere on the page and start typing. How easy is that? Whatever you type in the box on the top of the page will appear on the index tab on the right.

What’s nice is if you find a recipe online, just copy it and paste it on a blank page! OneNote automatically includes a link at the bottom so you can refer back to the original website. You can also drag and drop pictures onto your pages.

Here’s my favorite feature!! Say I have a bunch of spinach leftover that I need to use, and I want to search for recipes containing spinach. Right above the index tabs, you’ll see a box that has a magnifying glass in it.

I clicked in it, typed spinach and pressed enter. OneNote searched through my whole notebook (or where ever you tell it to search) and found all the recipes containing spinach. It also highlighted the names of the recipes so they’re easy to see.

Taking this one step further… if you click on “View List”, which appears in the yellow search result box, it will open up a panel on the side that lists all the recipes included in your search. And each recipe is a link that will take you directly to it. I love this.

You can also give your recipes “Tags” like, “low-carb” or “quick & easy” or “recipes that my kids liked”. Then you can pull up all the recipes in a specific tag. There are so many things you can do with this program. I probably haven’t found all of them yet.

Getting all the recipes into OneNote is a little time consuming as most of us work from cookbooks or written recipes, but I promise you it’s well worth it. You’ll wonder what you ever did without it. You’ll also wish you had a laptop mounted on the wall of your kitchen.

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Happy Monday to you all! I sincerely hope that it is warm and sunny where you are – because it has been the opposite here for way too long. This weekend we had freak wind storms and weird thunderstorms (it’s the pacific northwest – we can only deal with overcast skies for goodness sake). All of this put a major cramp on my weekend plans. I ended up inside watching videos while huddled under a blanked.

But, today is Monday and I had to venture off to work – where I discovered this great new tool for you!

The OneNote Time Planner is a free template for OneNote 2007 that is a complete time planning tool. It can be used for popular time planning systems by David Allen, Stephen Covey and Anthony Robbins.

Check out Dean Gardiner’s blog – which includes links to downloading the template and a video showing you how to use it.

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The leaves are starting to turn here in Seattle, which means it’s time for students to gear up for the new school year.  Clearly taking notes is a HUGE  part of being a student – so, I thought it may be time for a little note-taking 101 – OneNote-style.

Here are four ways you can improve your note-taking with OneNote:

Jotting phone numbers on scrap paper, writing addresses on sticky notes… These strategies may help in the moment, but what about when you need that information later? Or how about trying to decipher the notes that you scribbled in your binder during class? Imagine being able to grab all of your daily thoughts and sketches, keep them within reach at all times, and share them with others. You are well on your way to a clearer head when you open Microsoft Office OneNote 2007 on your Tablet PC and follow these four strategies: capture, organize, share, and enhance. With OneNote, you can capture almost anything: record an entire lecture for later review; create a diagram for your landscaper or teacher. And you can organize your thoughts and plans. Nothing gets lost—everything that you write is automatically and continuously saved.

Illustration of using OneNote to draw a landscape diagram
Using OneNote to draw a landscape diagram

OneNote is not just about organizing. Share any of your notes during your busy day, with coworkers, friends, family. Enhance the presentation of your thoughts and ideas: put them into action with pictures, sound, and video. Format them with professional style. And because of the auto save feature you should never lose a scribble! This article tells you how.

Capturing ideas

When OneNote is running, you can resize the OneNote window and place it anywhere you want on the screen. Just open a new page in OneNote and you’re ready to go. Your note pages can include text, pictures, graphics, sound, video, screen shots, documents, links, and web content.

  • Type text with the keyboard. Click anywhere on the note page and begin to type notes using the keyboard.
  • Enter text by using a tablet pen. Some people are scribblers, and prefer the freedom of jotting down notes. Need to write down a phone number? Just open OneNote and write it down freehand by using a pen. You can then change fonts, and format your text in whatever way you like.
  • Create diagrams. OneNote is perfect for doodlers, too. Illustrate your notes by using your pen to draw diagrams directly on the page. You can easily resize the diagrams, move them around on the page, and paste them in other notes or documents.
  • Add pictures. It’s easy to add pictures to your notes. You can copy pictures from the web, from other documents, or from your hard disk, and paste them anywhere on your note page. Here’s how to insert a picture:
  1. Place your cursor where you want the picture to appear on the page. If you are using a Tablet PC, make sure the selection cursor for your tablet pen is active by clicking the Type Text or Select Objects icon on the toolbar.
  2. On the Insert menu, point to Pictures, and then click From Files.
  3. Click the picture you want to insert, and then click Insert.

You can easily move the picture on the page or resize the picture by dragging it from any corner.

Illustration of using OneNote to organize research for a report
Using OneNote to organize research for a report

  • Include audio. With OneNote, you can record or import audio to store, edit, and include in your notes. You can record audio by using the built-in microphone on newer computers or by attaching an external microphone or other audio input device. Here’s how to record audio:
    • On the Insert menu, click Audio Recording.
  • Add video. Want to insert video into your notes? Just attach a video camera or a webcam to your computer to include moving footage and the sounds of any subject in your notes. You can play back a video that you made for class or record one to edit later. Here’s how to record video:
    • On the Insert menu, click Video Recording.
  • Import Excel lists. OneNote helps you keep track of numbers, too: you can import formatted lists from your Microsoft Office Excel files. Just copy columns, rows, and cells from any Excel spreadsheet and then paste them in your note page.

Organizing your thoughts

OneNote not only helps you organize your thoughts, it helps you rearrange them. Critical information, random ideas, diagrams, videos—you can place any information wherever you think it can help you express yourself better. Whether you’re a power user or a newcomer, OneNote makes use of multiple media to help you organize, plan, and simplify your daily life.

Here are some examples of how OneNote can help you organize your thoughts.

  • Drag text and pictures anywhere on the screen.
  • Move text and pictures to other notes and documents.
  • Capture your thoughts in bulleted lists.
  • Create folders for projects, classes, and personal files.
  • Jot down a numbered to-do list.
  • Sort and flag lecture notes to prepare for an exam.
  • Keep all of your meeting notes for a project in a single location.
  • Search through all of your notes, even the handwritten ones, to find that phone number you jotted down between appointments.
  • Create marginal notes about a document, to save and move later.
  • Plan your meals and grocery shopping.
  • Track your travel and expenses for your next vacation.
  • Draw and finalize the seating chart for your wedding.
  • Move a picture to another note, and then send it in an e-mail message to your grandmother.

Enhancing your notes

After you capture your notes, give them a professional polish with the text and picture formatting features of OneNote. OneNote also includes Spelling and AutoCorrect commands to help you create neat, accurate notes.

OneNote files are easy to share… and share again. Send your notes to other people, or open up notes for group feedback and input.

  • Share in real time. With OneNote you can collaborate with others, gathering their input for instant feedback. Here’s how to initiate a live session:
    • On the Share menu, point to Live Sharing Session, and then click Start Sharing Current Section.

You can choose to begin a new session or join one that is already in progress.

  • Send your notes in an e-mail message. Using Microsoft Office Outlook, you can send a page of your notes to others in an e-mail message.

You can also send your notes and recordings instantly to a Pocket PC or smartphone.

  • Export your notes. Convert your notes to a Microsoft Office Word document by using the Save As command, or publish your notes as a Portable Document Format (PDF) or XML Paper Specification (XPS) so you can share your notes without them being easily changed. Here’s how to do it:
  • On the File menu, click Publish as PDF or XPS.

No more crumpled sticky notes, messy notebooks, or lost doodles. Use OneNote for everything you can think of.

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I’ve noticed that a lot of you are using OneNote for managing projects. I’ve also noticed that OneNote seems to get mentioned a lot within the context of GTD – and seeing as how I have no idea what that means, I poked around and found this defininition:

GTD® is the popular shorthand for “Getting Things Done®“, the groundbreaking work-life management system and book by David Allen that transforms personal overwhelm and overload into an integrated system of stress-free productivity. Sounds like motherhood and apple pie to me – who wouldn’t want that?

It just occured to me that Larry The Cable Guy fans may want to change this acronym to GRD – for GIT-R-DONE!!!

Apparently, GTD embodies an easy, step-by-step and highly efficient method for achieving this relaxed, productive state. It includes:

  • Capturing anything and everything that has your attention
  • Defining actionable things discretely into outcomes and concrete next steps
  • Organizing reminders and information in the most streamlined way, in appropriate categories, based on how and when you need to access them
  • Keeping current and “on your game” with appropriately frequent reviews of the six horizons of your commitments (purpose, vision, goals, areas of focus, projects, and actions)

Then, I thought I’d check around to see if anyone has described how they use OneNote to “get things done” and stumbled upon this great blog post.

Here is: Using OneNote for GTD Project Tracking for your viewing pleasure:

In working with OneNote, I realized that it offers a great solution for people using GTD with Outlook who want to see the status of all their next actions on a specific project, regardless of context.  In fact, it makes a great Project Notes (and project inventory list) resource for anyone.

I created a sample project to show how it could work.  (FYI, I’ve collapsed a lot of menus, notebooks, and lists I normally keep expanded for privacy’s sake.)

First, say I’ve just been on a call with Bob.  With his permission, I’ve recorded it in OneNote, which can search audio files for key words.  I’ve also typed a few notes.  If I click on these notes, it will play the audio that was being recorded when I wrote down any specific word.

My OneNote page might look something like this:


So, I process the call.  First, I highlight the due date and add it automatically to the “hard landscape” of my calendar in Outlook as an all-day event.  (In OneNote:  Tools>Create Outlook Item>Create Outlook Appointment).  An Outlook appointment window will open automatically that I can add more info to:


Then, I go through the rest of the notes in OneNote and process them.  By tabbing as I type, I can automatically create a table of next actions and due dates, if any:


I can do the first four steps immediately, so I turn them into Outlook Tasks, adding them to my Next Actions lists.  By inserting a cursor just before the text on each item and pressing Control-Shift-K, OneNote will open up an Outlook task that I can customize, adding whatever category/context or additional info I need.

Here’s the task I created for Research Acme Industries.  I’ve added the @computer category, but OneNote and Outlook created the rest automatically.  Clicking on the link in the notes section of the task will automatically open my Johnson briefing page in OneNote.


As I create the tasks from OneNote, the program flags each item that has a task associated with it.  If I left-click the flag, it will mark the task as complete in both OneNote and Outlook.  If I right-click the flag, I can review the status, delete the task, or open it it Outlook.  If I hover over the flag, it will show the date started/date due info.

Here’s what the list looks like once I’ve added tasks to all the actions I can take right now:


Meanwhile, my Next Actions list in Outlook looks like this.  (I’ve filtered out all my other NAs for these screenshots.  Normally, all my NAs from all projects would appear in their contexts. )


So, I get to work doing these next actions, checking them off in Outlook like any other tasks as I finish them.  The next time I do a project review, I go back to my project page in OneNote, and I can see at a glance that I’ve completed two of the actions, but I still have two on my next actions list.  If I want to change the status of any of these — converting something from complete to incomplete, for example — I just have to right-click on the icon next to the task.  That will also update my Outlook Task list automatically.


If I want to add more tasks to the project, I can go back into my table in OneNote and add rows or columns, just as in Word or Excel.  Or, I can simply click in the last box of the table and press Enter to add a new line at the bottom.

I could also create a subproject within a task by indenting within the same box, or move existing tasks into other boxes to create hierarchies.  (Unfortunately, there’s no way I know of to link these hierarchies within Outlook’s tasks automatically.)

Within the list, I can create check lists of things that don’t need to go on my Next Actions list.  For example, in the list below, I’ve put check boxes next to the things I want to take with me on the trip.

Once I get into the project and get more of a sense of the steps and dependencies, my list in OneNote might evolve to look something like this:


Meanwhile, my next actions list in Outlook still reflects the context view of things that I actually work from:


That should provide an idea of the extent to which OneNote and Outlook can integrate to support GTD.  Using notebooks, lists, and sections, as well as multiple lists on the same page, those who need a little more project planning and review than a straight list option offers may find what they’re looking for.

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