I’d never heard of OneNote till I joined Microsoft. Granted, I was barely aware that Microsoft and Windows were different, and actually opened the pre-installed Microsoft Works and was disappointed to realize it wasn’t – what I later found out – was called the Microsoft Office suite. Well, in the Office Suite, one of the least-known products, with one of the most passionate niche followings – is OneNote.
OneNote is built for someone like me. I have a notebook for NetIP – my non profit, a notebook for every year at work, and a notebook of personal stuff. In each notebook I have sections – one for each work project, one section in personal for my blog, another for my book, another for travel research, another for online shopping clippings taken off the internet. Under travel research, I have 10 pages of research on every trip, grouped together into different trips, with itineraries on the top-page, followd by research, clippings, and ready-to-print maps and confirmation pages for each booking
My use of OneNote, however, had been waning. At Kno, I didn’t have OneNote (they hadn’t sprung for it, and I guess the IT guy forgot my special request), and so I started typing notes as emails to myself. On-the-go I was using the rudimentary notepad that comes on the iPhone. And eventually I downloaded EverNote, since it synced across PC, iPhone, and the iPad I knew I would eventually succumb to buying. I was still using OneNote, but only on my personal machine, at home, when doing personal research, or working on my blog, which really wasn’t happening enough.
Then something magical happened. I joined BookRenter, started using OneNote 2010, and discovered that 2010 syncs to the cloud. So I can have OneNote 2010 notes sync nearly-instantly with a notebook stored off-of my Hotmail account, living in Office Live (technically, Microsoft has branded it Microsoft OneNote Web App). Then, I downloaded the OneNote iPhone app – which I’d read about and had been meaning to try-out, and discovered that – in a display of forward-thinking engineering, the iPhone app, the cloud, and the desktop app were all syncing seamlessly. there was a delay whenever I opened a page in the iPhone app as it worked to pull-down the latest incarnation, but within a minute it would find it, and my additions made on-the-go were always reflected when I booted-up the PC again.
I’ve started using OneNote for everything now. Shopping Lists. Blog posts. I still keep a notepad for my official task-list, but I’m thinking of ditching that too, and going entirely paperless.