19 August 2012

Tech Tuesday: More on Microsoft OneNote

I have been asked to provide more information from my previous post on using Microsoft OneNote for research notes. You can read my original post here. Following are some of the features I use most often.

Integration with Microsoft Outlook
If you use Outlook and have OneNote, with the click of a button you can transfer a copy of an email (with attachments) or a meeting/appointment from your calendar as a new page in OneNote. This is an excellent way to store these items with other relevant materials. The added benefit is that you can easily add your own notes to the newly created page. For example, if you have an entry on your calendar to view microfilm at the Family History Center, you can transfer that to a page in OneNote and type your research notes on that page. The more information you put in your calendar entry, the less you have to re-type in your research notes.

Page Layout
The page layouts in OneNote are more flexible than in Word. You can click anywhere on the page and start typing. This means you can create blocks of text anywhere on the page and drag and drop them to move their positioning, all without impacting the positioning of existing blocks. Creating tables in OneNote is much easier, as well - simply hit the tab button to create a new column. You can insert files, or even draw directly over what is already typed on the page.

Notebook Organization
What differentiates OneNote from other Microsoft products is the ability to organize individual pages into binders, complete with dividers. For example, I might take the calendar entry with my research notes from above and put it into a surname binder under the divider heading of the individual's name. You could do the same with client files - perhaps the binder would be named after the client and the dividers would be separate projects. Rather than a multitude of separate files, all documents can be stored in one place.

Extracting Information
Selections from OneNote can be printed or emailed. You can also copy and paste to other programs, whether it be Word, or a new email using your own email provider. If you have a research report format already in a word processing program, you can copy and paste out of OneNote into your existing document. OneNote is also fully searchable, so if your organization system is less than perfect, there is no need to waste type paging through your notebooks.

Hopefully this additional information will help you decide whether OneNote would be useful to you in your own genealogy research organization. I don't use it all the time, but have found it to be a good tool in keeping myself organized.

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