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Beyond the Basics

Beyond the Basics

While the basic user experience in OneNote 2010 is familiar to anyone who has used an earlier OneNote release (or a paper-based journal, for that matter), the latest version of the product is useful for much more than just personal note-taking. Microsoft's high-level value proposition for OneNote includes the following suggestions:

  • Create one centralized resource for all of your ideas
  • Manage information with tools that save time and simplify your work
  • Work together more successfully
  • Collect information, brainstorm, and share ideas from more places

Let's consider each of these points in a little more detail.

Organizing Your Information Items

Create one centralized resource for all of your ideas. In terms of providing a resource for ideas, OneNote has evolved to become a multifaceted and multimedia information item (note) manager. It's useful for basic note-taking and structuring outlines, but it also can work seamlessly with drawings, audio, and video information items. OneNote can be very handy for relating these types of information items; for example, replaying a note-taking session and jumping to a specific segment in an audio recording that correlates to a particular paragraph in a meeting note.

Manage information with tools that save time and simplify your work. One aspect of managing information and simplifying work in OneNote is the product's ability to integrate other applications such as Microsoft Outlook. OneNote users can easily create and schedule Outlook tasks, for example, by selecting text in OneNote and, with a couple of mouse clicks, associating the text with a new Outlook task. OneNote can also be used to complement Word, Excel, and Microsoft PowerPoint, making it easy for people to take notes on content created in those applications.

In all cases, relationships between the information items are managed in a bidirectional mode — for example, making it easy to navigate to an Outlook task from related OneNote text, or to navigate to the OneNote task-related text from an Outlook task.

Sharing Your Information Items

Work together more successfully. To help people work together more successfully, OneNote 2010 supports a variety of web-centric content authoring and sharing capabilities. People who have worked with wiki-based tools or services will find that OneNote 2010 supports wiki-styled authoring, linking, and content versioning. Indeed, for people who prefer to work in "the wiki way," OneNote can appear to be a rich client application for wiki-centric work.

When used in conjunction with Windows Live SkyDrive or Microsoft SharePoint, OneNote 2010 also facilitates collaboration through multi-person content authoring and sharing, including participants who use browser clients (through OneNote Web App) rather than the full OneNote 2010 application.

Another way that OneNote 2010 helps people work together successfully is by providing powerful but unobtrusive distributed information-item database services, making it possible to work locally without a network connection, and later resynchronize with a shared notebook. OneNote's underlying services also facilitate concurrent authoring. For example, a group of people participating in a meeting from different locations can collect and organize their respective notes in a single, shared OneNote page. In this respect, OneNote 2010 delivers many facets of the compelling vision initially associated with the ill-fated Google Wave.

Collect information, brainstorm, and share ideas from more places. OneNote can be used on PCs, in browser clients, and from Windows Phone devices. Third-party tools such as MobileNoter make it possible to work with OneNote notebooks from non-Microsoft device platforms, including the Apple iPhone and iPad.

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