Using OneNote to Share Documents and Information in a Group
Most of us using a Windows PC have the full version of Microsoft Office installed, which includes a mysterious program named Microsoft OneNote. Most people never open it, because they’ve never heard of it and don’t know what it can do. Cliff Hirschman, Director of Information Technology in BioMed, reports on one effective use of OneNote in his unit.
The office of Biomed Dean Edward Wing is using OneNote as a powerful collaboration tool. Its simple, low-maintenance tools for coordinating work across multiple users have greatly enhanced the office’s ability to operate efficiently.
OneNote uses a notebook metaphor which is instantly understandable. A notebook (actually a file on a file server) can be divided into sections, and each section contains tabs and pages. The Dean’s office uses OneNote to store meeting notes and track follow-up activities. A notebook section was set up for meetings, with a tab for each recurring meeting. Individual occurrences of each meeting become pages within that tab, and meeting notes (usually handwritten) are scanned into the pages. The pages can then be linked in both directions to corresponding Outlook calendar items, so that the notes for any individual meeting can be quickly retrieved from within Outlook.
The office also uses OneNote for coordinating major projects, such as preparation for a Corporation meeting. Each facet of the project (site logistics, presentation preparation, etc.) has a page, and portions of each page can link back to a master project summary page.
OneNote features extensive integration capabilities with other Office applications and the outside world. For example, you can:
- Send a OneNote page via email so that someone who doesn’t have access to the notebook can read the page
- Send web pages from Internet Explorer directly to a OneNote notebook (not just a link, but the whole page)
- Create Outlook tasks
- Insert pretty much any kind of content into a OneNote page, including images, audio, and video files
- Create links within a OneNote page to internet sites or to documents on a file server
OneNote requires no technical expertise to set up, beyond making a file share available. The Dean’s administrative staff took the initiative to implement it entirely on its own.