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Microsoft OneNote


Amber MacArthur, Bill Jelen, Leo Laporte, Andy Walker on the set of Call for Help on TechTV Canada.

Microsoft OneNote is the newest member of the Office 2003 family. It is not bundled with Office, but is a separate program you can buy, like FrontPage or SharePath. Currently, OneNote is retailing for $79 at Amazon.

Since the first time that I saw OneNote at the Microsoft Authors and Publishers Conference in 2003, I fell in love with the product. It is a note-keeping tool that is great on my desktop PC at home. OneNote ships automatically with all Toshiba pen-based Tablet PC's, but it is not exclusively for the tablet.

Basically, OneNote is like a large spiral notebook. You have a blank sheet of paper with pages going down the right side of the screen and sections going across the top of the screen. You can add more pages to any section and add more sections as needed.

As you type notes, you can mark them with a variety of NoteFlags. OneNote offers 25 different note flags slots that you can customize.

The To-Do note flags make OneNote ideal for tracking To-Do lists.

Notes can be dragged from one place to another. You can easily drag the completed items out of the way.

At the end of the day, create a new page...

...and copy the unfinished items from yesterday to the new day.

OneNote can keep text notes, images, audio & video notes. If you copy text from a web page and paste to OneNote, the original URL will be pasted, allowing you to go back to find the web page later.

The Audio notes are amazing. If you start an audio note during a lecture and type a few keywords as the professor makes a point, you can easily go back and start the audio playback from the point that you typed the note. OneNote miraculously backs the playback up a few seconds to account for your reaction time in starting to type the note.

If you have the SP1 version of OneNote (this is a free upgrade once you buy the program), then you can invite others on the network to edit your pages at the same time that you are editing pages. Imagine your whole project team of 10 people people able to simultaneously brainstorm and watching the page fill up with ideas. During the show, I had Andy type on the left while I typed on the right.

OneNote works well transfering data between itself and PowerPoint, Word, Excel. If you have Outlook 2003, you can send OneNote pages as e-mails to others who have or do not have OneNote. On the show, I demo'd the VBA utility to automatically push Excel data to new OneNote pages.

OneNote is a great new product for Windows PC's. If you are constantly trying to keep sticky notes on your wall or even carry a paper notebook that you would like to be able to search, you owe it to yourself to try out OneNote.

For the complete details on Microsoft OneNote, check out the new book, Unleash the Power of OneNote.

For the BEST TV show on technology, check out Call for Help.

This tip was originally published on December 10, 2004 and aired on TechTV on January 9, 2005. The permanent URL for this page is

If you are looking for show notes from another episode, visit my complete list of TechTV appearances. Consulting can be hired to implement this concept, or many other cool applications, with your data. provides examples of Visual Basic procedures for illustration only, without warranty either expressed or implied, including but not limited to the implied warranties of merchantability and/or fitness for a particular purpose. The Visual Basic procedures on this web site are provided "as is" and we do not guarantee that they can be used in all situations.


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