5 Proven Things I Love About Microsoft OneNote

People taking notes. One is using paper and one is using Microsoft OneNote on a device

5 Proven Things I Love About Microsoft OneNote

From Paper to Microsoft OneNote

My journey to electronic note-taking using Microsoft OneNote has been quite a few years in the making. More than 10 years ago, I decided to fully embrace my electronic calendar at work. That seemed like an obvious transition to make at the time.

A few years later though, I decided to switch to using a digital to do list. (Outlook Tasks).Not such an obvious transition, but since I was using Outlook extensively for my planning, I felt it might be helpful to have my To Do List  there as well.

People taking notes. One is using paper and one is using Microsoft OneNote on a device

Then I started to consider digital note-taking. Like most people, I experimented with using the native notes App on various devices I was using. I found this to be OK, but I was really looking for portability across platforms. Somewhere around 2012, I experimented with using Evernote. I liked the fact that could access my digital notes anywhere and on multiple devices including my Laptop.
A year later, I decided I’d should give Microsoft OneNote a try out for a year and then make a decision on which program would suit me best.

In February 2014, I decided to commit to using Microsoft OneNote as my main note-taking tool.

As I became more and more committed to using MS Outlook as my time management tool of choice, it became clearer, that using Microsoft OneNote was probably the best option. Microsoft OneNote and Outlook have some fantastic integration features that finally convinced me that this was the way to go!!

So after nearly five years of electronic note-taking using MS OneNote, here is what I love about Microsoft OneNote.

1 – Flagging Text or a Page Straight to Outlook

This is definitely my all-time favourite feature. I can write up an action in my notes on a page in OneNote, and insert a Flag beside the text. This text then appears in my Outlook Tasks. Gone are the days when I’d take notes and then have to continually refer back to my notes in case I may have missed some important action.

Since I use my Outlook Tasks as my only To Do List, it means that with a mouse click, I have captured my to do items directly from my notes taken in OneNote.

2 – Insert Meeting Details from Outlook into Microsoft OneNote

This is my second favourite feature of Microsoft OneNote without a doubt. When you open a new Page in OneNote, you can insert the meeting details directly from your Outlook Calendar. The meeting details are then shown in the heading or title of your notes.

This makes it really easy to set your note pages up for your meetings. I tend to do this a the start of each day or even the night before.

You can also go the other way and set up a Notes Page from your Outlook Calendar meeting or appointment page.

3 – Email a Page to Meeting Recipients

Once you have taken your notes on a page in OneNote, you can email the page at the click of a button in your Home Menu.

If people were invited to a meeting in your Outlook Calendar, they are automatically included in the Senders in your newly created email. This makes it incredibly quick to issue meeting minutes, assuming you have taken meeting notes in OneNote.

4 – I have access to ALL my notes

I love the fact that I can go back and find all my notes in one place since the start of 2014… I have found this to be incredibly powerful!

To illustrate how good this is, last year, I was in a coaching conversation with a client I had worked with previously about two years previously. During the session, he said something that reminded vaguely of a previous issue we had discussed. I was able to very quickly search his name and bring up our previous coaching notes. I was then able to weave some of our previous discussion learnings into the current coaching session.

I still remember the look my client gave me as he said….”man, you have a good memory!!”….and actually, I don’t in fact!!

5 – Being able to organise project Information in one place

Finally, I love the way I can organise all my information in one place within Microsoft OneNote. This might be for a project or even for a meeting. This can be done in several ways of course, but I will give you a simple example relating to meetings. Once I have created a new page for an upcoming meeting, I try to insert everything I need for that meeting on that page. No more printing things out for meetings! This also saves me having to search around my PC for information I might need.

I will insert such things as:

  • The Meeting Agenda
  • My own meeting reminders or notes I wish to chat about
  • I will insert any relevant Emails or Links to documents I think I might need.

It means I have all the information I need in the one place! Plus I still have plenty of room for my meeting notes. How good is that!

I could go on and mention more, but maybe that can wait for another day. Microsoft OneNote has been a real game-changer in terms of the way I work. I’ve had many people say the same thing to me after undertaking my Productivity with OneNote Training session.

I want to encourage you to give Microsoft OneNote a go and see if you can make it work for you. I’m sure you will save time and like me, find it will improve your productivity and your time management.


Geoff Prior – Lingford Consulting, November 2018

Workload & Email Management Training/Coaching. MBTI Consultant


Want to learn more? See our Productivity with OneNote Training program  or our Productivity with MS Outlook and MS OneNote Training

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