OneNote - The Hidden Treasure
Many years have passed since I began my journey to go paperless, both personally and professionally. It has been like getting into a fitness routine. The hardest part was getting started. However, once I began to see the benefits of my efforts, the journey transitioned from a challenge to a very positive experience. However, there was always that last mile that was nagging me. What I mean is that it felt like I had ended up with personal silos of information. Email messages remained in Outlook, letters and correspondence remained in Word, spreadsheets remained in Excel and so on.Then I discovered OneNote. I had seen the OneNote icon in my Office applications menu for a few years before I began to explore it. That is when everything changed for me.
OneNote is included in the MS Office suite, so if you use Office, then you already have access to the OneNote application. I like to describe OneNote as my document desktop. I now have a place where I can combine direct access to all of the emails, appointments, documents, spreadsheets, PowerPoints, websites, etc. that relate to a specific project, customer or event. OneNote has enabled me to tear down my information silos. Or, maybe it is more efficiently described as my personal drone that provides me with a bird's eye view of the information in my silos, with the ability to swoop in and access the information I need. If you have not taken the time to explore the OneNote application yet, follow me on this brief tour and give it a try. You won’t be disappointed.
A picture is worth a thousand words.
Let's take a quick tour of the OneNote interface. It starts with creating a notebook. You can create as many notebooks as you want. You can also share access to a notebook with others, as long as the notebook is stored on a shared access file server or in the cloud. In the picture above, my notebook example is named "CPAs for Athletes, LLC." Within the notebook, you create sections to organize your content. Think of these as being similar to dividers in a three-ring binder. On the right-hand side, you will see a list of page titles. You can create as many pages within a specific section as you want. The title of the page above is "Revenue Projections." You can drag and drop a page title to rearrange the sequence if desired. The final component is called a "container." You can have as many containers as you need on a page and you can use drag and drop to place them anywhere on the page. In the example above I have a container with the revenue projection spreadsheet. This model of organizing your OneNote content makes it extremely efficient for organizing all of your information for quick retrieval.
The feature that drives the value of OneNote is the wide variety of content types that you can insert into OneNote. The screenshot below of the insert ribbon gives you a sense of the options.
As you can see, you can insert just about any content you can imagine. You can also use the File Attachment button to create a direct link to any file. For example, you may want to reference a PDF file in your notes. The hyperlink will launch Adobe Acrobat (or whatever PDF viewer you use) and open the file from within OneNote. The File Printout button lets you print from ANY application directly to a OneNote page. A good example is if you have an A/R aging report you want to use to make collection calls. Print the report to OneNote, and then the caller can annotate the report based upon the results. It's very easy and very practical.
There is so much more you can do with OneNote. If want to learn about every OneNote nook and cranny feature, I recommend you attend our webinar titled OneNote - Mastering Organization of Your Notes & Correspondence.
Get started with OneNote today - you will be happy you did.