How easy is it to take notes in OneNote?  Simple, just run OneNote and start taking notes, right?  Well, for some it may be that easy.  But for others, there’s the added overhead of organization.  For example, you might have a section for shopping, or a To Do list of things that need to be done around the house, or a notebook of notes you take at work, or school, etc.  Before you take notes, you have to think about where those notes go.  So, if you’re out shopping and you see a great deal on that television you’ve been thinking about purchasing, or meet a friend who suggests a book for you to read, or you’re in a meeting and hear something you want to capture quickly without distracting yourself from the discussion.  Do you really want to take the time to figure out where these notes will go before you take them?  Or do you want an easy way to quickly take a note and deal with the organization later?

This is where Side Note comes in. What is Side Note you ask? It’s a smaller, compact version of the same OneNote you’ve grown to love over the years. Think of it as a sticky note. It’s there when you need to take a quick note. Just press the <Windows + N> keys on your keyboard and you’ll see a new clean surface appear where you can jot down that quick little note and not have to worry about where to file it. Then close the application and continue about your business. Each time you press <Windows + N> you get the same experience, a compact, clean surface for which to take your notes.

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When you finally get that extra minute and you’re ready to organize your notes, just go to your Unfiled Notes section and you’ll see your notes there. You can then organize them by moving them to the section/notebook of your choice.

With SkyDrive and many other means of storage available, you can access your notes in the cloud and get to them from anywhere.  Your PC at home or at work, your Windows Phone, or at the kiosk on your college campus.  This makes it even easier to get notes into OneNote from anywhere.  But there’s a catch!  Unfiled Notes in OneNote 2010 does not come preconfigured for the cloud, so there’s a little bit of work you’ll have to do if you want your Unfiled Notes to be accessible from anywhere.

  1. Make sure your Unfiled Notes section lives inside a web notebook (by default, the Unfiled Notes section generally lives at the root of all your OneNote notebooks, not inside of an existing notebook).  This can be any web notebook you choose, but for simplicity sake, you may want to create a new “Miscellaneous” notebook on SkyDrive.
    • Click File –> New, select Web and sign into SkyDrive, (you may have to create a new Hotmail or Live account first).
    • Then type “Miscellaneous” into the name field and click Create Notebook.
  2. Move the Unfiled Notes into the Miscellaneous notebook.
    • Right-click on the Unfiled Notes section –> click on Move or Copy –> select the Miscellaneous notebook –> click Move.
  3. Point OneNote to the Unfiled Notes section in your web notebook.
    • Click File –> Options –> Save & Backup –> select Unfiled Notes Section –> click Modify –> select Unfiled Notes in the Miscellaneous notebook.

You can also set your Windows Phone to point quick notes to the Unfiled Notes on your web notebook by following these steps:

  1. Go to the Notes area of the Office hub.
  2. Tap the Notebooks button.
  3. Go into the Miscellaneous notebook.
  4. Tap and Hold the Unfiled Notes section.
  5. Select Set as Default.

Now that you’ve completed these steps, anytime you press <Windows + N> or tap the New button in the Notes area of the Office hub to create a new note, it will automatically be synced to SkyDrive and accessible from anywhere.