HP Technology at Work

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5 Microsoft OneNote tips

October 2014

The increasingly digitized, mobile and social workplace can put major strains on your brain’s ability to keep you organized. No wonder more business professionals are turning to powerful organizational applications, like Microsoft® OneNote®, to structure and coordinate their projects and meetings.

Tools like this enable us to spend less time trying to organize our days, and more time actually getting things done. Here are five ways OneNote will help you do exactly that.

1. To-dos that do the trick
Most of us have so many things on our plate that we tend to feel overwhelmed before the day has even begun. What you need is a clear and concise overview of your day, the most critical tasks and how to best manage your time. That’s where OneNote’s to-do list comes in handy.

After creating your first Notebook in OneNote (select File and New) start your day by creating a to-do list. It’s really easy.

Just click on ‘To-Do’ in the tag box or use the shortcut CTRL+1, and start typing your first to-do item. Hit Enter and then CTRL+1 to add succeeding items. If you complete your to-dos, you can check them off one by one.

In order to prioritize your to-dos, you can add different tags to them. Simply select the dropdown menu under To Do in your Home menu bar, and you’ll see that there are loads to choose from—ranging from "important," "critical," and "idea" tags, to "first priority" and "client request" tags, to mention a few.  

By creating this nifty to-do list, your day is totally structured, and you can systematically complete your tasks. There are few things as gratifying as ticking off your completed to-dos, right?

To-Dos Template

2. Your electronic project manager
If you have various projects or tasks that you’re working on simultaneously and you need a tool to help you organize, streamline and priorities them, OneNote is it. Once you’ve typed your first to-do, you’ll see that page marked as To-dos in the panel on the right. If you want to add more pages to your project, you can find many useful templates under New Page (above the panel on the right). Select Page Templates and select the template you need to use. You can also customize your own template if you like.

At the top of your page there’s a marker saying Section 1. Use that to name your project. Simply right click on it and select Rename (it will automatically color code your project too). If you want to add a different project to your notebook, click on New Section. You can add as many projects as you like. And that way, you’ll have all your projects in one location, with all the info and to-dos relevant to each project. No more searching for various parts of your projects in hundreds of files on your desktop or server.

OneNote also allows you to share your Notebook with your team members. It’s the easiest way to make sure everyone involved is kept in the loop and up to date with the project status. Simply select Share from the main menu and click on Share This Notebook. You’ll be given the option to either share via the web or a network.

Insert New Page

3. Stay organized while on the go
There’s no need for you to leave your notes in the office when you’re traveling to and from business meetings. All you need is to download the OneNote App. You can sync it with your tablet or smartphone by using a cloud provider, like OneDrive®, as the bridge between your devices.

It enables you to take notes on the go, and automatically saves them to your OneDrive Cloud. From there, you can sync them across to your OneNote desktop.

4. Multi-task with multimedia
If you’re sitting in a meeting that is fast-paced and highly interactive, there’s no way you’ll be able to jot down all the important notes at the same time. Good thing OneNote gives you the option to record your notes instead!

Just open the page you want to add the note to, and place the cursor where you would like to insert the media file. On the Insert tab, choose Record Audio. Once you’ve inserted the file you can start, pause, and stop the recording from the Audio-Video Playback menu. And if you want to take it up a notch, you can record a video file instead.

Record Audio

5. Secure confidential info
Most of our projects include information that is highly confidential. OneNote uses 3DES encryption standard to password protect all your projects (sections), if you choose to.

Simply right-click the Section tab to which you want to add password protection, then select Password Protect This Section. Click Set Password at the right side of the window and type your password into the Enter Password field (and re-type it into the Confirm Password field), then click the OK button. OneNote will then ask you how you want it to handle your existing backups that have a copy of the notebook section without password protection, so just select the option that you prefer.


OneNote boasts many other features that will totally revolutionize your note-taking habits, but for now, these should get you (and your day) off to a great start.

Microsoft, OneNote and OneDrive are U.S. registered trademarks of the Microsoft group of companies