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Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Product Review – Microsoft OneNote

When I purchased my new laptop, I also made the leap to Microsoft Office Ultimate 2007, including Microsoft OneNote 2007, and I've been dying to tell y'all about it ever since I started using it. (I got a great deal on the entire software package, but you could also just upgrade to the Small Business versionand buy OneNote separately rather than buying the Ultimate edition.)

I don't know about the rest of you, but I'm a list maker. I LOVE lists, and I make them constantly. I'm one of those people that adds things to lists just so I can cross it off. Pathetic, I know.

Anyway, my issue has always been that while I love the flexibility of notebooks and handwriting my lists – being able to write in the margins or stagger my notes across the page, for example – it was frustrating to me to realize that I hadn't put things in the exact order that I wanted them and have to either rewrite the list, squeeze in an additional item in teeny writing or just deal with it.

I've seen references to Microsoft OneNotea few times and really thought it was a business software that wouldn't be relevant to my needs. To be honest, I had no clue what it was. And then I installed my software and opened it up to see what it was all about.

I can't believe I've been missing out on this program for all of my life. It is exactly what I never knew I wanted. Let me show you...

With the press of a few keys, I can open the program and have everything I need at my fingerprints, all in the same place.

The content on each page is not the only thing that makes this program so exciting. You can customize that virtually any way you want. Starting with a template or a blank page, you can basically type anywhere you click on the page, insert tables, Microsoft tasks or any other variety of tools, giving you the flexibility of handwritten notes with the editing power of a computer program.

But what makes this program really exciting for me is the organization of many different categories of notes. You can have several different notebooks, which are listed down the left side for easy access. I've opted just to keep everything in one notebook, called "Planning Notebook" (because I'm creative like that).

Then, you'll see a few tabs across the top for quick reference – Weekly Schedule, Master To-Do List, Monthly Calendar. In the view below, I'm looking at my monthly calendar, (which admittedly has not been fully populated yet – life has been very busy for the last several weeks since I got it!). If you look on the right side, you'll see yet even more tabs, and I can access each month while looking at this view. Again, these tabs can be customized virtually without limit.

But that's not all!

Look next to the tabs at the top. I have tab groups created as well, and if I click on any of those – Blogs, Personal and Work – it opens yet even more tabs.

So, in the view below, I've clicked on my Personal tab group, and I now have access to my to-do list, budget and finance information and grocery shopping/couponing lists. And yet again, down the right side, I can include multiple documents for each tab.

Although I have not yet gotten it set up, my dream is to take the tabs that I have set up for each company that I currently contract with and create documents for their style guide, payment schedule, assignment tracking and other notes. I love having everything all in one place and organized exactly how I want it, with the ability to easily change and adjust as I go.

If you have this programand are not using it, I encourage you to open it today and starting putting together your dream notebook. If you don't have it, I encourage you to consider it. It may be just want you've been dreaming of or exactly what you need to get organized!


margi said...

Now see? This is why I lurve ya. You post about something I want to know about - even when I don't ask!

I bought OneNote2003 and then didn't upgrade when I got Office 2007 because I could only see the application as it pertained to a student. You know, notes by class subject, etc? I am re-thinking this, now, because of you.

I am NOT a list-maker and lately, my brain has been a little leaky so I may have to become a born-again list-maker to compensate.

All this to say: Thanks for the review!

Stephanie said...

OMGosh, as a list lover, I can't believe I have never tried this before.
I just downloaded the 60 day trial off of Microsoft's website, to try it out, and can't wait to get started.
Thank you for the awesome reviews you all do for us :)

margi said...

So far, my One notebook is called "Margi's Life," and it has a section group called "Work Stuff" and a section group called "Home Stuff." Within the home tab, I have another section group called "recipes" and another one called "Address book" and in that one I inserted a table with all the addresses I can never find because I have them on scraps of paper (Post-It Notes? I think we're breaking up) everywhere.

I also shared my Notebook with myself so that I can access it on my laptop.


MKR said...

Check out this review of a magic pen. Simple as pen and paper, but with the benefits of Onenote.


Stephanie said...

I am now addicted to OneNote.
Thanks for giving me a new addiction :)

Janinne said...

For all you OneNote fans, come and join the one and only online community for OneNote lovers. You'll get tips and tricks for using OneNote from other members and you'll be able to see Notebooks and videos.