11 May 2014

Getting started with OneNote - Feeding it with your multimedia information

As I have already partly covered in my initial article about OneNote the sheer amount of convenient ways to feed your notebooks with information was one of the main reasons that convinced me.
Since this is also one of the first things you need to get up to speed with OneNote, I hope you enjoy the article and get something new out of it.

Foster the connection with Outlook

As of OneNote 2010 the connection between Outlook and OneNote is very handy to swiftly shift stuff from one tool to another.

Copy content from Outlook to OneNote

Nearly in every screen being it the main view or a mail/meeting/contact-dialog, you can find the OneNote-button which (at least) gives you the possibility to move a selected object to OneNote.
To me this feature has the biggest value when it comes to quickly archiving documentation sent as a plain email. With just a few clicks you get the full e-mail stored as a OneNote-page in a nice format:

For another demonstration of how you can store e-mails in OneNote, please see the section "Add files to your notebook".

In case of a contact or a meeting the result is even better as - in addition to the information of the meeting and contact - it includes a link to the object in Outlook, enabling you to open your contact or meeting in Outlook right out of your page in OneNote:

Importing Meetings from Outlook into OneNote

Additionally to copying the meeting from Outlook to OneNote, this also works from out of OneNote using the "Meeting Details" button in the "Home"-Ribbon.

Selecting the desired meeting there will give you the same result as above apart from the link to the Outlook object, as this is not created using this method.

Print to OneNote

This is by far one of my favorites as it offers the ability to copy documents into OneNote without necessity to have them as a file.
Also that this feature is offered in various ways is another strength of OneNote:
The easiest and most convenient way, when you have the document opened is to use the system-wide "printer" that got installed with OneNote called "Send to OneNote".
Since it behaves as a normal printer it is compatible with everything that's printable and also enables you to send something to OneNote that is not stored as a file on your PC - quite handy for websites with a "print friendly"-mode.

Drag a file to OneNote

This is one of the most diverse features OneNote offers to feed it with content. Right when you drag a file to it, you know why:

Considering you dragged that file from your Windows Explorer, you get these 3 choices. (If for instance you're dragging an e-mail object from Outlook, there are only options #2 and #3)

Although these are quite obvious, I would like to point out the specifics of them:
  1. As usual the link is the best way to refer to a document that's stored somewhere else. Also this is the best way to make sure the reader always gets the latest version in case the file is regularly updated under this location.
  2. Inserting a copy has the big advantage that you can always drag it right out - for instance into a new mail in Outlook, attaching it. I use this regularly when I know a document doesn't change regularly and I will need to send it around regularly. But you should always consider, that the full size of the file is added to the size of the notebook. So refrain from adding huge documents to it, or it will bloat up your notebook!
  3. Apart from the fact that this is another way of printing a document to OneNote, this also includes a link to the original document to the page. Basically including option #1 as well.

Screen clipping - because taking full screenshots and cutting them in paint is a relic from the past
If you're familiar with the Windows Snipping Tool, this is basically a simplified version of it - if you're not, you should change it immediately! (Simply hit the Windows-Key and type "Snip(ping Tool)"
Clicking the "Screen Clipping"-Button in the "Insert"-Ribbon hides OneNote and enables you to cut any area from the screen which will then be added to your page.
A great bonus: When you're i.e. clipping from a website in Internet Explorer it even adds the url of the page below the image.

While using this, you might find the "Dock to Desktop"-View (In the "View"-Ribbon) very helpful; It shrinks the OneNote Window in width and docks it to the right-hand side of the screen. Giving you more room for the windows you need to take screens of.

Record Audio and Video

Again these are quite straightforward however one particular setting is making this really powerful: You can not only select the Microphrone inputs but also the "Playback" of your soundcard which enables you to record what you hear. That way you can also record audio-calls - at least the part of it that you hear - if the software doesn't offer such features.
Beware: Recording calls and discussions might require the approval from everyone involved before doing so. Apart from it being polite this is also required by law in some countries!