Before OneNote came along, I would typically attend a meeting, bring a pen, and take lots of notes right on the handout. Aahh, good times, right? Actually, a lot of that still goes on today. Look around you the next time you attend a meeting and see if you can spot one of these pre-historic note takers. I bet if you follow him/her around they would have a hard time finding their notes when they really need them.
Enter, the digital world. Now you have no excuses...because you have OneNote. You get the same level of functionality, (well, almost), as you would if you had brought that trusty old writing utensil with you. Yes, that means you can even take notes on a digital copy of the document. Just insert the document as a printout right onto the OneNote page surface before the meeting. Once there, you just begin taking notes like you would if you actually had the document in front of you in the meeting. After all, in reality…you do.
But, the beauty is that your notes are searchable. i.e. it's easy to find them when you really need them. But did you know that the text inside the handout is searchable too. You see, when you insert a document as a printout, what you're really doing is inserting a picture of each page of the handout onto the OneNote page surface. But how can a picture be searchable? OneNote uses Optical Character Recognition (OCR) to identify characters and words in a picture, then inserts them into the searchable index. So if you don't remember what words you used when you took those notes, but happen to remember the subject of the meeting/class, just type in the search term and it finds it in the printout.
For example, below on the left is a PowerPoint slide. The one on the right is a sample of how it prints to OneNote. You can see from the red outline that the page extends beyond the OneNote window borders. This can sometimes cause problems when attempting to take notes on the printout.
A while ago I created a powertoy called the OneNote Printout Manager to resolve this problem. Once pages have been printed to OneNote you can easily adjust their size, position, etc.
If you insert or print files to OneNote, give this powertoy a try. Click here to download it. Just as an FYI, the download also contains a copy of the PowerPoint referenced in this blog. That way you can experiment by printing it to OneNote and running the powertoy.