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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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