Information is slippery stuff. You’ll know that if you’ve ever had to research and organise it, whether in planning a holiday, writing a university essay, moving home or organising a work project. Information can come at you from all angles, and capturing and then using it in the best way can be tricky.
Bring order to your research notes
In the old days, when information took a verbal or hard-copy form, a paper file for cuttings and a pen and pad for jottings were enough. But with computers now playing a huge role in our everyday lives, and communication methods, such as email, social media and instant messaging, adding to the audiovisual, audible and handwritten delivery methods of old, it can seem like an impossible task to get every scrap of data into a single central location.
This monumental task can be simplified with a single tool: Microsoft OneNote. This program is able to bring structure to your data, and supports a range of file formats and media.
OneNote 2010 is available as a single product for £69 inc VAT, or comes as part of the Office 2010 suite. This costs £109 inc VAT for the Home and Student Edition at Microsoft’s online store, while our own Software Shop offers a 10 percent discount at £97.
OneNote first appeared in 2003. It has since become a mainstay of Microsoft’s Office suite. Version 2010 adds the ability to synchronise notes to the cloud using Windows Live SkyDrive, making them accessible from anywhere you have web access – even on a Windows Phone 7 smartphone. And if several colleagues are researching the same project, collaborative tools let you pool resources.
Yet OneNote isn’t the widely used tool we reckon it should be – something almost certainly due to the number of free alternatives that are also available. Here, we’ll show you how to get started with OneNote.
Get started with Microsoft OneNote
Step 1. Having installed the software, launch Microsoft OneNote and create a ‘notebook’. A notebook is a collection of individual note pages; OneNote lets you maintain as many notebooks and note pages as you require. To create a notebook, simply click anywhere in the grey area of OneNote’s main panel.
Step 2. Specify where your data should be stored: online, on a network or on your PC. ‘Web’ lets you access it from anywhere with a web connection; ‘Network’ lets other users on the network share the data. Since this is a personal project, we chose ‘My Computer’. Add a name and save location for your notebook. Click ‘Create Notebook’.