The Office 365 secret organiser - OneNote 2010 Part 1

Microsoft OneNote became standard with Office 2010 and some packages of Office 2007 and 2003, but unfortunately has lain under the radar not getting the recognition it deserves for some time. Many non-technical users will have no idea what OneNote is meant to be used for, and that's if they even know that OneNote exists.

Having only recently discovered OneNote due to an Office 365 migration, I have quickly learnt how useful it is, and would like to share some of its wonders with you. First of all, OneNote is a sort of computerised notepad/notebook. I say "sort of" because OneNote is a lot more than just a simple notebook.

If you are anything like me, you will have two or three notebooks on the go and numerous documents and emails all over the place. OneNote is like having an endless notebook that links into everything you do. Together with searching capabilities and online sharing, OneNote is the ultimate tool for being organised at work and at home. When you share your OneNote notebook/s in Office 365, it can become a very useful collaboration tool.

In this article, we will go through three basic tasks to get you up and running with Microsoft OneNote in a jiffy. These tasks are how to:-

  • Create a new notebook
  • Save a notebook
  • Insert a new page

When you first open OneNote you will see that it is divided into four sections. At the top of the window you have the Microsoft Ribbon; along the left-hand side of the window is the Notebook Navigation toolbar; on the right hand side is the Page Tabs toolbar; and in the middle is the active notebook with the sections of the notebook in the bar above.

Create a New Notebook

The best way to keep your work organised is to have more than one notebook. For example, you may wish to store customer information, finance information, and business/personal ideas you may get from time to time. Alternatively, you may simply want to have a notebook for personal information and another for work information. There are two ways to create a new notebook in OneNote. The first method is to go to the File tab in the ribbon and click New from the menu below. In the New settings dialog box you will need to:

  1. Enter where the notebook will be stored (on the web, your corporate network, or on your computer),
  2. Provide a name for the notebook, and
  3. Enter the location of the notebook. The location field will vary depending on whether you selected Web, Network or My Computer in Step One
  4. Once you have completed the above information, click the Create Notebook button.

In this example, I will store a new notebook in My Computer.

The second way to create a new notebook is to right-click in the Notebook Navigation toolbar. You can do this from any tab in the ribbon apart from the File tab. For example, click on the Home tab, then place your mouse inside the Notebook Navigation toolbar and right-click to open the right-click menu. From this menu, select New Notebook. This process will take you to the New notebook menu in the File Tab, as shown in the previous example.

Save a Notebook

A great feature in OneNote is that it automatically and continuously saves changes to your notebooks as you work within them.

However, you may wish to save a copy of a page, section, or the entire notebook for inclusion in a document. Should this be the case, use the Save As command. The Save As command is located on the File tab menu, from here you can select to save the current page, section or notebook that is currently active.

Once you have selected Page, Section or Notebook, you need to choose the format in which you want your page, section or notebook to be saved in. For example, if you want to send a copy of your notebook and do not want the receiver to edit it, you can save it as a PDF file and then send that. Alternatively, you could save a page or section of your notebook as a web page for easier viewing access from any browser. Your save selection will dictate the number of formats available. In our example below, we are saving just a page in the notebook, therefore more format options are available than if we were to save an entire notebook.

Once you have chosen which part of your notebook to save, and selected the format that you wish the information to be saved in, click the Save As button.

Tip: Do ensure that you are in the correct section or have the correct page open before you choose Save As or else you may save the wrong part of your notebook.

Insert a New Page

Even though OneNote allows you to type text and add pictures on one long continuous page, this is not conducive for good organisation or information retrieval. To get the most out of OneNote notebooks, try to organise your notes into separate pages.

To insert a new page into a Notebook, you will need to navigate to the Notebook that you want a new page to appear in ('Office365' in our example) and select the section where the new page is to be created ('Office354Ideas' in our example). Once you are in the correct position, click the New Page button from the Page Tabs toolbar on the right. A new page will then be added to the bottom of the list on the right.

Tip: If you want to create a page after a specific page, click on the drop down arrow to the right of the New Page button and select New Subpage.

Now that we have gone through the basic tasks in OneNote 2010, including creating a new notebook, saving and creating new pages, I hope you will be ready to start making the most out of your new organisational tool.