The OneNote-Extended Outlook
Outlook has multifaceted integration options with OneNote. The options vary based on the type of Outlook item you’re working with.
For e-mail messages, Outlook supports sending items to OneNote. By selecting an e-mail message and clicking the Send to OneNote action from Outlook’s Home tab (Figure 3) or the Outlook Message tab, if you open an e-mail item in a new window, Outlook creates a copy of the selected e-mail message in OneNote (in a context determined by your Send-to-OneNote settings, as explained the second article in this series, “Information Item Management in Microsoft OneNote”). This option can be useful when you want to save the content from an e-mail message along with other OneNote-managed items, and to perhaps tag the item in OneNote, or to link it with other items. It’s an especially useful option for people who want to maintain e-mail item-related to-do lists outside of their Outlook inbox, in order to keep their inbox uncluttered (although you should be sure to review your employer’s e-mail retention policies, for e-mail in a work environment).
Figure 3 Outlook Message home tab
Sending e-mail messages from Outlook into OneNote is less than ideal in some respects. For example, no source item link is created in the send-to-OneNote action, so it’s not possible to revisit the source e-mail item with a single mouse click, as is the case with the PowerPoint example in Figure 1. This limitation will hopefully be addressed in a future Office update.
Outlook also supports linked OneNote notes for appointments (see Figure 4), tasks, and contacts. This option can be very useful for capturing personal or shared meetings notes, for example.
Figure 4 Outlook Appointment tab
Unfortunately, it’s not possible to create linked notes for Outlook e-mail message items, probably due to the same limitation that prevents capturing a source link when sending e-mail message items into OneNote.
On a more positive note, another convenient OneNote/Outlook integration option is the ability to associate Outlook tasks with OneNote page content. You can select OneNote page content (e.g., text such as “Finish next blog post”) and, from the OneNote right mouse button action menu, select Outlook Tasks to create a new Outlook task, along with schedule considerations (today, tomorrow, or another option). This approach is in some respects similar to a OneNote linked note, in the sense that the selected OneNote content and related Outlook task are bi-directionally linked, and it’s possible to subsequently navigate from the OneNote task (which appears similar to a OneNote tag) to the related Outlook task (or vice versa), making OneNote a very useful tool for managing detailed task lists.
Access control privileges are another consideration for Outlook/OneNote linking scenarios, as it’s likely you haven’t broadly shared access to your Outlook-managed information items. As such, for most people, Outlook/OneNote linking options are primarily used for personal notes.
Revisiting the fourth integration option, file insertions, it’s possible to insert a copy of an Outlook (.pst) file into OneNote, but that’s not a useful option at this point because e-mail files are dynamic and frequently updated, and because Outlook can’t be configured to use OneNote as a storage subsystem.