The New Pen and Paper One Note at a Time

I’m a developer but I’m also a writer at heart.  Whether writing my life’s story or writing a blog, I’ve always loved writing.  For work, my writing usually involves taking notes in a meeting or jotting down ideas for a new development project.  And while my favorite writing instrument is still a pencil, I have a new favorite notebook, Microsoft’s OneNote 2007.

The idea of touching pencil to paper is special but using OneNote is surprising.  Why surprising?  Well, as much as I love writing in a paper notebook, I’ve always had a problem with the organization aspect.  Even with a 3-subject notebook, I’d require a minimum of two notebooks if I’m juggling six projects.  Forget about all those one-off notes.  Even with those subject dividers, how do you effectively further divide your subjects so you can actually find what you need later?  Enter OneNote.

Imagine a paper notebook that can dynamically grow as needed.  Add a section and label it.  Add a page and give it a title.  Group pages into subpages.  Assign a different color to each section.  Need a page template?  Done.  Need additional notebooks, one for work, one for your personal stuff?  Done.  Surprising, right?

Besides the fact that OneNote uses notebooks and sections rather than files, there are a few other things that make it unique.  Below is just a small list of some of OneNote 2007’s unique features.

  1. First off, typing in OneNote is unstructured.  Basically, just pick a place within the writing area and click to begin typing.  Create as many of these “writing blocks” as necessary size them accordingly.
  2. OneNote comes with a set of small icons that you can use for tagging your content.  You can use these to call attention to a specific note.  Searches by tag can also be performed.
  3. Sharing notes and collaborating together is very easy with OneNote 2007.  Here at ReachFarther, I’ve created a shared notebook with sections from everything including our processes for creating new websites and databases to our own tips and tricks for development.  When this shared notebook is placed on a server, our local copies of the notebook stay updated and synced.
  4. You can create tasks in OneNote that sync with Microsoft Outlook.  Managing projects just got easier!
  5. One of my favorite features, new in OneNote 2007, is the ability to create hyperlinks between pages.  This is more valuable than you can imagine!

There are so many amazing, useful features in Microsoft’s OneNote 2007, too many to list here.  Check out Microsoft’s Top 10 Reasons to Try OneNote 2007 and Terry Gold’s Cool OneNote Features article for more details!

As you can tell, Microsoft’s OneNote 2007 is an amazing tool for taking and organizing notes of any kind.  It’s definitely helped to keep me more organized and productive.  For more information on OneNote check out the OneNote 2007 page on Microsoft’s site.  Also check out Daniel Escapa’s OneNote Blog for OneNote video demos, help & how-to articles, and other resources.

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