Product Review: Microsoft OneNote

When I purchased my new laptop earlier this year, I also made the leap to Microsoft Office Ultimate 2007, including Microsoft OneNote 2007, which quickly became my favorite software package and time management program and remains my favorite to this day.

I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’m a list maker. I LOVE lists, and I make them constantly. I’m one of those people that adds things to lists just so I can cross it off. Pathetic, I know.

My issue has always been that while I love the flexibility of notebooks and handwriting my lists – being able to write in the margins or stagger my notes across the page, for example – it’s frustrating to realize that I haven’t put things in the exact order that I want them and then have to either rewrite the list, squeeze in an additional item in teeny writing or just deal with it.

I’ve seen references to Microsoft OneNote a few times and really thought it was a business software that wouldn’t be relevant to my needs. To be honest, I had no clue what it was. And then I installed my software and opened it up to see what it was all about.

I can’t believe I’ve been missing out on this program for all of my life. It is exactly what I never knew I wanted. Let me show you…

With the press of a few keys (shift+start+n), I can open the program and have everything I need at my fingerprints, all in the same place.

The content on each page is not the only thing that makes this program so exciting. You can customize that virtually any way you want. Starting with a template or a blank page, you can type anywhere you click on the page, insert tables, Microsoft tasks or any other variety of tools, giving you the flexibility of handwritten notes with the editing power of a computer program.

But what makes this program really exciting for me is the organization of many different categories of notes. You can have several different notebooks, which are listed down the left side for easy access. I’ve opted just to keep everything in one notebook, called “Planning Notebook” (because I’m creative like that).

Then, you’ll see a few tabs across the top for quick reference – Weekly Schedule, Master To-Do List, Monthly Calendar. In the view below, I’m looking at the Master To-Do List. If you look on the right side, you’ll see yet even more tabs, and I can access my Packing List while looking at this view. Again, these tabs can be customized virtually without limit.

Tab View

But that’s not all!

Look next to the tabs at the top. I have tab groups created as well, and if I click on any of those – Blogs, Personal and Work – it opens yet even more tabs.

And within each tab, I can add more sub-tabs. You see where this is going, right? You can organize your whole life in this program, easily flipping to the information you want while keeping it all separate and organized as well.

Tab Group

If you have this program and are not using it, I encourage you to open it today and start putting together your dream notebook. If you don’t have it, it may be just want you’ve been dreaming of or exactly what you need to get organized!

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