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5 Ways to Use OneNote at Work

5 Ways to Use OneNote at Work

If your IT department is like my IT department, the thought of you downloading something like Evernote would make their heads spin. Most IT departments are wary of something you don’t have to pay for.

Additionally, a lot of us are stuck with Windows at work and can’t take advantage of the great tools on the Mac — ones that are Mac-only. However, there is something you might not know about something that is likely already installed on your office PC. That’s right: Microsoft Office. And it has a pretty neat tool that you can use…and it’s called OneNote.

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Here are the 5 reasons why you should use OneNote at work.

1. It’s a good tool to implement GTD

We have explained in the past why Getting Things Done is great, OneNote is very much an empty notebook with which you can implement GTD at work. Use folders, sections and subsections like you would use physical folders. Instead of printing out that email or webpage, simply print and hit “send to OneNote” in the drop down menu. You can then file the “printout” where you need to.

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2. Shared Notebooks means instant and real time collaboration

Put the OneNote notebook file in a place where it can be accessed by the people who need it and setup it up to share. And as simple as that, you have an online version of a whiteboard. Use OneNote to manage projects among many people, or simply as a place to throw ideas around. If there is sensitive material you can password-protect some or all of the notebook so that only certain people can see it.

In my day job we have a weekly report we have to file with our supervisors. We use a OneNote notebook to make our weekly report accessible to everyone in the division. That way we can see what everyone is up to — and maybe help pick up slack in areas that need it.

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3. Take better notes in meetings

If you have a laptop as your work PC, bring your laptop to meetings and have OneNote open and ready to take notes. Use the tagging feature to flag important tasks or questions as they arise. Then, if you have a shared notebook with someone, share your notes so you can see if you were thinking the same things in the meeting.

When I was still attending college I used OneNote for my lecture notes. I was able to tag things to look up later or for items I had questions about. More than once I had fellow students come up to me and ask what app I was using to take notes. They were very surprised to learn the program was included in Microsoft Office.

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4. It is an awesome wiki

Since OneNote updates and saves in near real time, the ability to use it as a wiki is clear. Linking inside a notebook is a new feature and allows for a more “wiki feel”.

5. Take fast and simple screen shots

By using the keyboard shortcut Windows+S, the screen will grey out and you will see a crosshair cursor. Select the area you want to grab and that area will be placed into your unfilled notes section of OneNote. You can either cut, copy, and paste (or save) the screen grab as a PNG. You no longer have to hit the print screen button and crop the photo in an image editor (like Photoshop, for example).

OneNote is a great tool that is often overlooked when talking about how to be productive. But if you’re like me and your IT department doesn’t allow you to install apps on your work PC, it is a tool that is indispensable.

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Last Updated on May 14, 2019

8 Replacements for Google Notebook

8 Replacements for Google Notebook

Exploring alternatives to Google Notebook? There are more than a few ‘notebooks’ available online these days, although choosing the right one will likely depend on just what you use Google Notebook for.

  1. Zoho Notebook
    If you want to stick with something as close to Google Notebook as possible, Zoho Notebook may just be your best bet. The user interface has some significant changes, but in general, Zoho Notebook has pretty similar features. There is even a Firefox plugin that allows you to highlight content and drop it into your Notebook. You can go a bit further, though, dropping in any spreadsheets or documents you have in Zoho, as well as some applications and all websites — to the point that you can control a desktop remotely if you pare it with something like Zoho Meeting.
  2. Evernote
    The features that Evernote brings to the table are pretty great. In addition to allowing you to capture parts of a website, Evernote has a desktop search tool mobil versions (iPhone and Windows Mobile). It even has an API, if you’ve got any features in mind not currently available. Evernote offers 40 MB for free accounts — if you’ll need more, the premium version is priced at $5 per month or $45 per year. Encryption, size and whether you’ll see ads seem to be the main differences between the free and premium versions.
  3. Net Notes
    If the major allure for Google Notebooks lays in the Firefox extension, Net Notes might be a good alternative. It’s a Firefox extension that allows you to save notes on websites in your bookmarks. You can toggle the Net Notes sidebar and access your notes as you browse. You can also tag websites. Net Notes works with Mozilla Weave if you need to access your notes from multiple computers.
  4. i-Lighter
    You can highlight and save information from any website while you’re browsing with i-Lighter. You can also add notes to your i-Lighted information, as well as email it or send the information to be posted to your blog or Twitter account. Your notes are saved in a notebook on your computer — but they’re also synchronized to the iLighter website. You can log in to the site from any computer.
  5. Clipmarks
    For those browsers interested in sharing what they find with others, Clipmarks provides a tool to select clips of text, images and video and share them with friends. You can easily syndicate your finds to a whole list of sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Digg. You can also easily review your past clips and use them as references through Clipmarks’ website.
  6. UberNote
    If you can think of a way to send notes to UberNote, it can handle it. You can clip material while browsing, email, IM, text message or even visit the UberNote sites to add notes to the information you have saved. You can organize your notes, tag them and even add checkboxes if you want to turn a note into some sort of task list. You can drag and drop information between notes in order to manage them.
  7. iLeonardo
    iLeonardo treats research as a social concern. You can create a notebook on iLeonardo on a particular topic, collecting information online. You can also access other people’s notebooks. It may not necessarily take the place of Google Notebook — I’m pretty sure my notes on some subjects are cryptic — but it’s a pretty cool tool. You can keep notebooks private if you like the interface but don’t want to share a particular project. iLeonardo does allow you to follow fellow notetakers and receive the information they find on a particular topic.
  8. Zotero
    Another Firefox extension, Zotero started life as a citation management tool targeted towards academic researchers. However, it offers notetaking tools, as well as a way to save files to your notebook. If you do a lot of writing in Microsoft Word or Open Office, Zotero might be the tool for you — it’s integrated with both word processing software to allow you to easily move your notes over, as well as several blogging options. Zotero’s interface is also available in more than 30 languages.

I’ve been relying on Google Notebook as a catch-all for blog post ideas — being able to just highlight information and save it is a great tool for a blogger.

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In replacing it, though, I’m starting to lean towards Evernote. I’ve found it handles pretty much everything I want, especially with the voice recording feature. I’m planning to keep trying things out for a while yet — I’m sticking with Google Notebook until the Firefox extension quits working — and if you have any recommendations that I missed when I put together this list, I’d love to hear them — just leave a comment!

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