Microsoft Office OneNote is still relatively new in Office—it’s only been available for 3 years. I’ve had it on my computer since it became available, but only in the last year have I really started to take advantage of OneNote. To be honest, I don’t take great notes. I didn’t take great ones in college and I still don’t. So when everyone told me how OneNote was a great program for taking notes, it just didn’t mean that much to me. One thing I like to do, though, is gather information from multiple places—be it in meetings, from the Web, in other documents, conversations, e-mails, or other sources.

Once I have all the information in one place, I can see everything at once and make better-informed decisions and use it as the basis for reports or other documents. And that’s why I really like OneNote. It gives me one place where I can easily gather information.

Collect information online with OneNote

When I’m starting to research a topic, I first collect a lot of information off the Web. For example, I do this when I’m:

  • Researching projects at work
  • Comparing products when shopping online
  • Searching for information on home projects
  • Researching family vacations

In these cases, OneNote can be a big help. If you want to save something from a Web page, just highlight the information and drag it into OneNote. You can even drag images into OneNote. To simplify this process, I minimize the Web site and OneNote so that each program window takes up half of the computer screen. That way, both applications stay open and it’s easier to drag the content into OneNote.

What not Word?

Good question. We use Word so much already, why not just do everything in the same program? I think OneNote gives a couple of advantages when I gathering information from the Web.

  1. OneNote automatically includes the URL from where the content came in case I want to go back to the source.
  2. The formatting in OneNote stays closer to what it was online.
  3. I find the content much easier to work with after I drag it into OneNote.
  4. It’s easy to move the content from OneNote into PowerPoint, Word, or other programs.
  5. The OneNote display makes it easier to view all the notes I take, including from the Web.

Give it a try

If you don’t have OneNote already, download the 60-day OneNote trial. Also, here are a couple of additional links to help you collect information using OneNote.

Try it and let me know what you think.

-- Jason Kozleski