- by Chad, "The Dream", Weaver
We all are starting to realize how awesome Microsoft’s One Note product is.
It works great for so so many tasks, projects, and just keeping yourself organized. I just discovered a feature that helped me out in a bind that is just down right amazing. I can’t give enough praise for this product out of all the different products in the productivity suite from Microsoft this one is over looked I think and needs to get on everyone’s radar. I have used this before during meetings, when working on and organizing thoughts for large projects, and so many other tasks. One of the great features provided by this product is its ability to accept images, files and documents in the document itself.
I used this feature to my advantage recently, by importing screen captures of text that the program I was working in wouldn’t let me export. I found that I could copy the text straight out of the image, and that One Note also has a pretty decent OCR function built in. Now it wasn’t perfect, it did have trouble identifying all the characters correctly, for instance V, Y or 5, S. But even by sight, I could see it being difficult in the font that the program displayed, that if I wasn’t looking closely I could have made the same mistake. So now I can add OCR to the list of amazing features that really useful product brings to the table, if you haven’t checked it out lately and it is was installed when Office was installed please give it a click. It is kind of like a transformer; more than meets the eye.
Well, nothing that dramatic, but it did improve my life at my client site.
I am a Site Manager for one of our clients in the Philadelphia area at which there is a lot going on. There are 150+ nodes, 100 users, multiple in-depth projects, a ton of one day projects that pop up, and, on top of that, I'm managing my IT support staff. I was challenged with keeping track of everything, and with being able to present the "at the moment status" of projects when asked. I also felt I wasn’t giving my staff the full attention they needed to be efficient. I was managing my managing instead of my staff and site.
I do have to confess I am a document junkie. I love documenting anything and everything. You are doing an install, document the steps you complete. You are doing an upgrade, document the steps and inventory. Document. Document. Document. It has been my experience that, more than once, clients have been saved by having proper documentation. If it is Information Technology related, it is documented. So my issue was not being organized in terms of documentation, I have binders of documents. The issue was getting access to documents in a way that was convenient and flexible.
I had been using MS Project to keep track of the projects. While I like using MS Project for project tracking and development, it is not good for a management of a site. Then I found OneNote Journal (2007 sp2) in my MS Office listing and checked it out. I had found my new favorite electronic friend.
OneNote sets up the information in a binder format. We all use binders, so the format makes sense. You can put ANYTHING into the journal! Anything! Meeting notes, images, clips from websites, charts, documents, random notes, reminders, and checklists.
By setting up a site journal in OneNote I was able to get the everyday tasks, scheduling information, management tasks, and the projects all in one spot. If I ever needed to pull the data during a GoToMeeting, presentation, or a quick sit down meeting, it is all accessible. When I backup the data it all comes out of one place. Granted, there are supporting documents that are made that are stored in other location, but the key elements are all centralized in my OneNote.
OneNote also has the capability of utilizing SharePoint to take it to the next level. By allowing others working on the projects to add docs and edit the pages you bring all the work together. OneNote seems to have been made with collaboration in mind, and the work involved, not the final published product that wiki’s host.
I would recommend OneNote to anyone who is comfortable taking notes on laptops and has a need for coordinating different media and tasks or anyone who uses binders to keep track of documents, but feels guilty at not being green – OneNote is your new best friend!