Here’s a bit of a mixed bag – this is an account of how an author (and SharePoint guru) used OneNote on a SharePoint site to write a book. Meaty stuff!
One thing I realized as I started writing the book (the SharePoint 2007 Disaster Recovery Reference Guide in case you’ve missed my other posts) was that I was going to be taken a lot of notes and referring to them on a regular basis. While taking notes with pen and paper is still something I do for my job, it doesn’t tend to happen with the volume or frequency I understood was going to be needed for this project. For this it was going to be important for me to be able to store a lot of information from a variety of sources (such as files, notes, websites, etc) in a central location where I could categorize, annotate, and discover them easily. Luckily I’ve installed the Office 2007 Ultimate suite, which includes Microsoft OneNote 2007 (its also available as a standalone purchase or in the Office 2007 Home and Student suite).
Briefly, OneNote 2007 is described by Microsoft as “A digital notebook solution, allowing you to gather notes and information in one place.” I’m not going to go into too much more detail about OneNote’s features, suffice it to say that it met all of my needs for the book perfectly. I could store items, group and categorize them efficiently, and make updates and notes as I needed throughout each item. Not to mention the feature I used more than anything else in the tool: search. By the time I was done with the writing process for the book I had well over 15 sections within the OneNote notebook I created for it, and each section had anywhere from 3 to 30 or more pages within in it. Searching through this large amount of data saved me countless hours because I could quickly find the topic or note I was covering and incorporate that information right into my chapter in Word.
The other aspect of OneNote that was perfect for my needs was how it integrates with SharePoint. Just like the other members of the Office 2007 suite, OneNote 2007 notebooks can be uploaded into a SharePoint list as documents. But OneNote behaves (in my opinion) just a little differently than Word or Excel when you hook it up to SharePoint. Using SharePoint with OneNote allowed me to access, read, update, and add to my notes from multiple computers without having to worry about keeping multiple versions in sync or possibly overwriting previous updates. Since I was often working on the book from different locations (at a client site over my lunch break, from my work laptop when I’d take it home, or from my personal home computer) I needed to be able to easily access my data from a central location, but didn’t want to have to deal with manually synchronizing my files or downloading new updates. The cool thing is that OneNote 2007 does all this for you.
Here’s step-by-step instructions for setting up OneNote in SharePoint
SharePoint can be used to host OneNote Notebooks, and make sharing of information very easy for e.g. project members. The OneNote client will synchronize content with SharePoint and let end users work with OneNote Notebooks when offline.
This post will explain:
- How to create a shared Notebook
- How to access a shared Notebook in SharePoint
- How is the OneNote file structure within the SharePoint document library
- How to configure SharePoint to search OneNote 2007 content on SharePoint sites
How to create a shared Notebook
From the Share menu in OneNote, select “Create Shared Notebook”.
1. give your new notebook a name:
2. select the option to store the notebook in a SharePoint document library:
4. select an existing document library in SharePoint:
5. your new notebook is now created and the sync indicator is available in the notebooks pane.
By clicking on the sync icon, you will be able to change the sync properties for your notebook:
How to access a shared Notebook in SharePoint
The built in security mechanism in SharePoint control who have access to a document library. As long as the user has access to the document library (and the files within the library), he can simply navigate to the document library and click to open one of the OneNote files.
The OneNote client will give the user an option to open the file or the whole Notebook:
By selecting “Open Notebook”, the OneNote client will establish sync relations with the shared Notebook.
How is the OneNote file structure inside a SharePoint document library?
The OneNote structure is divided into Notebooks, Section, Section Group, Page and Subpage. This structure is also mirrored in the SharePoint document library.
On the left side you see the SharePoint document library, and it’s pretty similar to how OneNote is presenting the elements to the user.