Microsoft OneNote is a powerful tool for anyone – kids, parents, executives, avid readers, scientists – but in this article I’m focusing on some benefits specifically for administrative professionals.
At my IAAP TEC16 session, Powerful Notetaking and Organization, Anywhere, you’ll get 2.5 hours of tips and tricks. Of course, you should use OneNote to take your notes for the rest of the conference!
Creating Valuable Notes Pages
One of the critical roles of an administrative professional is to compile information, boil it down to its most useful and essential components, and present that information to the coworkers they are supporting. Often, this involves the use of Microsoft Word to write out the valuable information, and include charts and images that support it. OneNote is much more flexible and useful for this. Let’s take a side-by-side comparison:
As you can see, in Word we have a single sheet of paper, where the text is almost always full-width on the screen. Additionally, if you’ve ever inserted a picture into a Word document, you know how frustrating it can be when you want to move the picture around.
In OneNote, you can create textboxes wherever you want, and the pictures easily slide around the document. That means that you can create a description that is very easy to understand.
Anytime you want to insert a new textbox, just click at that point on the page and start typing – that’s really it!
And, if you want to make that textbox a particular size, just place your mouse around the outside edge to stretch or squish it. As you can see, the finished result in OneNote is much easier to make what you want it to be, without all the frustration that comes from the strict page layout of Word.
One way to provide this information to your coworkers is to share the notebook. This works if you’re connected to OneDrive (for you as an individual) or OneDrive for Business (that your company would provide). Just click File > Share > and put in the email of your coworker. They’ll be able to open the same page you have, just by clicking in their email.
As you can see, this is incredibly simple, as long as your company lets you use the OneDrive system from Microsoft. However, some companies don’t like to let you put information ‘in the cloud’, so we’ll need another technique, too.
Email a Page
This technique will work for anyone. On the Home tab at the top of the screen, you’ll see a section toward the right side of the screen called Email Page. Press that button, and away we go.
Notice the beauty of this email. Let’s say that you were supporting an executive traveling to Houston. They’d probably want, at a single glance, their flight information, rental car, and hotel, right on their phone. Even if you can’t share the OneNote Notebook (if you can’t use OneDrive), you can email them everything they need, compiled in whatever way works for them.
There are literally hundreds, if not thousands, of useful features and practical uses for OneNote. You could use it just for cataloging your favorite recipes, if you didn’t find a business use for it. But, as a tool for creating useful reports and compilation of information, it can’t be beaten. Check with your company whether you can use OneDrive to collaborate with your coworkers, because that makes it even more powerful.
Neil Malek Microsoft Certified Trainer, CompTIA CTT+, and Adobe Certified Expert—is founder and principal at a Knack Training, a San Francisco Bay Area education company. He has over 15 years of experience teaching software, professional development, and design skills. Neil studied Computer Science at the University of Florida, followed by becoming certified as a Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist and Adobe Certified Instructor.