I don't know about you, but when I was in college, there were times I wish I could have sent someone else to take notes for me during class. I was too busy working or too tired to get out of bed or just having a nice conversation with someone who's company I enjoyed, (if you know what I mean).

    Well, unfortunately OneNote can't solve that problem for you, but the one thing it can do is record your class notes for you. As you take your notes it links the portion of audio it's recording with the note you're taking. It's pretty easy to get started, and most laptops today come with a built-in microphone.

    For example, say you're in a class and the professor is just going too fast for you to keep up. Just start recording in OneNote. Then you can follow along and take notes at your own pace, which you can review later. Or don't take any notes at all, after all, you can review the recording later and take your notes then if you like. OneNote will link the recording to the notes you take during playback too.

    OneNote is not just for students. There are many other professions that can take advantage of OneNote's recording feature: interviews, conference calls, briefings, meetings, lectures, court proceedings, trainings, just to name a few. Click here to see additional details on how this feature is being used.

    A recording icon Recording icon is placed next to each note you take while you're recording, (although you won't see it until you stop the recording). You just click on the icon to begin playing back the recording at the time you actually took the note.

    In addition, you can use the Audio and Video Recording toolbar to control all recording and playback functions. It automatically appears when you begin recording.

    Audio and Video Recording Toolbar

    As the playback advances, the notes you took while OneNote was recording become selected so you can follow along. The Audio Gauge Audio Gauge is used to display the amount of time in the recording. If you have multiple recordings on the same page, the time will show as cumulative. You can use the Rewind RW and Fast Forward FF buttons to advance backward and forward respectively by 10 seconds. You can also drag the thumbnail Thumbnail to navigate forward and backward in the recording.

    Don't forget that OneNote records video too. If you have a webcam, or some other type of video camera that hooks up to your computer, just start recording video while you take your notes.

    Note: OneNote does not transcribe your recording for you. But there are ways you can get your recording transcribed outside of OneNote. To find out how you can do this, see Chris Pratley's post on this topic by clicking here.


    • Any notes you take while the recording is paused will not be linked to the recording.
    • When the Play button on the Audio and Video Recording toolbar is pressed, it will begin playing back the recording from the note where the selection is. If the selection is currently not in any of the linked notes, it will begin playing back from the beginning of the recording.
    • If you don't want selection to follow the recording, just unpress the See Playback button on the Audio and Video Recording toolbar.
    • To hide the video window, just press the Hide Video Window button on the Audio and Video Recording.
    • When you begin recording, the actual recording file Audio Recording  is embedded into the page you began recording on  followed by a timestamp "Audio recording started: 9:00 AM Thursday, May 29, 2008" to indicate the date and time the recording began. Since the recording file is embedded, there is no way to access it outside of OneNote. However, if you right-click the embedded file, you'll see a Save As menu item, which will allow you to save a copy to a new location where you can access it.
    • You can also drop existing recordings that were not recorded by OneNote onto any page. Just drag the recording file into the OneNote page. Then as you play back the recording in OneNote you can take notes and they'll automatically become linked to the recording.
      • OneNote currently supports the following formats for existing external media files, (meaning files recorded outside of OneNote and dropped onto a page): WMA, WAV, MP3. For video WMV and AVI are supported.
    • By default, OneNote rewinds each linked note by 5 seconds, to ensure the context of the note is captured. This means that when you click the recording icon to begin playback, it will begin playing back 5 seconds prior to the exact time the note was taken. You can adjust this time by clicking Tools -> Options -> Audio and Video -> then you can enter the desired number of seconds in the following box:
    • Seconds

    • Did you know that your audio can be searched in OneNote too? To enable it, click Tools -> Options -> Audio and Video -> place a checkmark in the following checkbox:clip_image009

    Recording Enhancement Tips:

    Not all microphones are created equal. So, depending on the type of microphone and sound card you have on your computer, things like background noise and other types of interference can affect the quality of the recording. The playback may not be as clear or as audible as you like. Here are some general tips on how to adjust your sound recording in Windows, (Please note that these tips are for a generic sound card and microphone and may be different depending on the manufacturer and model in use on your computer).

    • Use the Windows tuning wizard to help you make adjustments to your microphone's recording capabilities, (available only on Windows XP):
      • In OneNote, click Tools -> Options -> Audio and Video -> Tuning Wizard.  Then follow the prompts.
      • You can make similar adjustments in Windows Vista by going to Start -> Control Panel -> Ease of Access -> Speech Recognition Options -> Set up microphone.
    • Experiment with your audio/video settings in OneNote to see if it responds better. You'll see the settings in the Options dialog (Tools -> Options) under Audio and Video.
      • If you have multiple devices, try them all to determine which one records the best.
      • If you have multiple codecs installed, try them all to see which one performs better.
      • Experiment with different recording formats.
        • Warning: the format you select will determine the byte size of the recording file and as a result your OneNote section file size will increase. As a general rule, the higher the quality you select will map to a higher file size. For example, a 1 minute recording at 16 kbps, 16 kHz, mono will increase the size by approximately 130 KB. While a 1 minute recording at 128 kbps, 48 kHz, stereo will increase it by about 960 KB.Audio/Video
    • Adjust the Windows recording levels for your microphone and line in:
      • In Windows XP: Start -> Control Panel -> Sounds, Speech and Audio Devices -> Sounds and Audio Devices -> Voice -> click Volume under the Voice Recording section. Use the Volume slider to increase volume levels. Make sure the Mute checkbox is unchecked, (this is generally used to prevent feedback, so it may not be ideal in all situations).Volume Control
      • In Windows Vista: Start -> Control Panel -> Hardware and Sound -> Sound -> select your microphone -> Properties -> Levels -> experiment by making adjustments to Microphone and Microphone Boost.Microphone Properties