Microsoft OneNote 2010, a great program that you could use all day

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This article appeared in the September, 2010 issue of CRN magazine.

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Microsoft OneNote 2010, a great program that you could use all day

The phrase "note-taking software" makes OneNote sound like a lightweight application, but Microsoft is making a concerted attempt to bring it to the fore. The main sign of this is in PowerPoint and Word, where the Linked Notes button sits with pride on the Review tab.

Let's say you receive a presentation and want to make notes as you view it. Press Linked Notes and a miniaturised version of OneNote docks to the right-hand side of the screen. Each note you make is tied to the slide you're looking at, so you can jump straight to the right point when you review your notes. Or, if you're researching a project, you can drag and drop text and pictures from Internet Explorer and those pages will be automatically linked.

OneNote 2010 also sees far greater emphasis on sharing and co-working on notebooks. You can do this via SharePoint or even over the office network, but the greatest power comes via the web. Saving the notebook to Microsoft's SkyDrive service allows many people to work on it concurrently - Microsoft has introduced page versioning to make this fool-proof.

Thanks to the OneNote Web App, your fellow authors don't even need to have OneNote installed on their desktop.
Despite all these innovations, OneNote's main use is surely note-taking in meetings, and there haven't been many changes here. You can still record audio at the same time as you make notes; you can still tag sentences with "Important", "To-Do", "Question", or whichever tags you define yourself, then use these tags to generate a list of tasks at the end of the meeting.

OneNote didn't benefit from the Ribbon in Office 2007, and while its introduction in 2010 is welcome, there are rough edges. Microsoft's pre-made ribbon tabs seem barren, and it's disappointing that the Backstage view is so basic. For example, a print preview isn't shown by default.

But we're being picky. While there's room for improvement, this is a great app that deserves its place in the Office limelight, and it could rapidly become the program that sits open all day, just like your web browser does now.

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Copyright © Alphr, Dennis Publishing
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