Everyone needs a BFF:
- Bert has Ernie,
- Ms. Aniston has Ms. Cox
- Oreos have milk.
I am lucky to have two: My Steve-o and my lovely Terri. But what about Projects?
Amigos, Projects need BFF(s). Who will document and track their progress, create the much required TO DO list, offer inspiration and encouragement?
A Projects Best Friend ForeverSince the launch of Microsoft One Note, I am glad to advise that that BFF position has filled:
Let's just say if a Project was a man, then One note would be his long suffering wife: keeping that bad boy on track, relevant and organised.
I love Microsoft One Note. I use it professionally and personally. All my projects can be found on this software. It is easy to use, integrates with all my mobile devices (iOS and windows OS, thanks to it's cloud service) and I really dig its core functionality.
I tend to use One Note, daily. I use it as my Project journals, and on some devices it offers the functionality to put pen to paper aka screen, i.e actually write notes on your device and just like magic it writes on the One Note app. Gotta love technology, especially digital note taking ones!
Using One Note on the PC
If you are familiar with Office post 2007, the layout and interface of the software will be recognizable. Office 2012 does offer additional features, but overall the format is not dissimilar.
For this post I will be showing One Note 2010.
For this post I will be showing One Note 2010.
One Note has the Office Ribbon interface, making navigating and identifying available functionality quickly and easily. One thing to "note" (pun intended) if One Note's available functionality will be significantly less than let's say MS Excel (another software which I love) and even MS Word.
For the sake of this post, I will not categorically speak on every available capability, rather just highlight general usage of the software, if you are anything like me (a nosy user) you will discover more and more the more you use it.
Located on the left is a listing of your notebooks. For as fair as I know, you can create as many Notebooks as you like. I try to keep my notebooks very General. It is very easy to add a new Note book, right click on this banner.
Online Cloud Service
I like to keep my notebooks available online, this is especially important when you use a mirage of devices on a daily basis. This ensures that any amendments made to your notebooks are always in sync.
Using One Note, will require you to have a Microsoft Live Account (think: Hotmail, Outlook etc) These accounts are free and will also provide a free 15 gb cloud service known as One Drive. (This is a great system and I would recommend anyone to sign up for this free and reliable service!)
A green Icon with a tick denotes that the notebooks has successfully been uploaded to your cloud service.
There are many ways to sync your notebook online, however going via the File tab is always fool proof, select your notebook, click on settings and you will be given the option to Share your notebook. Note will bring your through a mini wizard to get that online.
Now that you have synced Notebooks, let's fill them up with yummy Content goodness. While in my Notebook creation, I stayed as general as I could, while adding Chapters I tend to do the opposite: the more specific the better. By the way, am I the only person who can't pronounce Specific? I tend to say Pacific... anyway....
Adding Tabs aka Chapters is easy, you can create them two ways:
- You can either right click this banner and select new section
- or click on the last tab that has an asterick symbol
The tabbed Chapters or (Sections as MS One Note calls it ) color can be changed. Just right click the tab and select section color. Helps if you want to group your chapters together via color.
3.) PagesOk so you have your Notebooks, you have your chapters, now lets get some content rich pages and fill this notebook out!
Just like adding notebooks and chapters, adding pages is pretty straight foward:
- You can either right click this banner and select New Page
- or click on the icon which says New Page
These are good if you are strapped for time and want to add a cohesive theme.. Frankly I don't use them. However, I could save my current page as a template and reuse it time and time again.
4.) Page Attributes
What is really great about MS One Notes is the page Attributes:
- I can copy and paste directly to my page
- I can click anywhere on the page and add text
- I can lift and shift emails/documents/images/audio files from the desktop directly to page. It will store all documents and display all images.
- I can tag items on my page (more on that feature as it is really cool)
- I can assign follow up actions and link it to my Outlook email.
- I can email the contents of my page to anyone.
Additional and Useful Functionality
Tag Items and Outlook Tasks are king! I use these functionalities all the time.
MS One Note comes with pre designated tagging which allows you to prioritize and categorize your content for follow ups, reminders, etc. In fact you can create your own tags if you wanted. Just click on Tags found on your header bar.
Adding tags will allow you to search for them, which makes it really easy to find your items.
Outlooks task is pretty priceless for me. This allows me to assign a follow up via Outlook which will include reminders.
Using One Note on iOs/mobile devicesOne Note is available to many platforms: Mac, PC, Android, Windows phone and iOS. But the beauty of this software is it's remote access. The key to making it's transition from a feature rich PC program to a light device app lies in it's simple but effective interface.
You can't always bring your PC/Mac with you everywhere, that is why mobile devices are really useful. I use both iOs and Windows mobile as my preferred mobile devices (one is personal, and the other is my work phone), so can't really vouch for Android functionality but I am sure it is pretty similar.
While the functionality is more limited than it's PC counterparts, you can still create new Notebooks, chapters and pages and most importantly you can access your already created notebooks.
You can create notes, lists, bullet points etc.
Even Add images :)
And the best part, it all stays synced, so next time I use my desktop I can see all additions.
MS One Note, is possibly one of my favorite project management tools. there are more functionality available then noted here but I hope this helps.
So how much is this delightful tool?