I have now been using OneNote for about 18 months ever since I attended a presentation on the software at the February 2013 MVP Summit.

Like most everyone else I had heard about OneNote and had a vague idea what it was for but I never took it any further. I was quite happy at that time to print out the 20-25 stories each week for the Observed Tech PODCAST and then toss that stack of paper into the recycle bin.

The workshop really showed me the capabilities of this software and prompted me to make the jump and go paperless with my podcast.

Turns out that was my starting point as I now use OneNote to do everything from sharing lists with my wife to keeping client notes about PC hardware and setups when I provide PC repair services.

When you add the synching abilities between OneDrive cloud storage and your Windows and Windows Phone devices you now have access to those notes on any of those devices. There are even OneNote apps for iOS and Android so that those users on other platforms can get access to their notes as well.

OneNote is also integrated into Windows and Windows Phone so that it enables you to share items from those devices directly to OneNote so that you can read/use the information later.

Like me you may be wondering how you get started with this transition to a paperless environment and Microsoft has a document that helps with that and explains how you can organize your notes in OneNote 2013.

Via Microsoft
The document, aptly named Go Paperless by Using OneNote 2013, is available from the Microsoft Download Center in Microsoft Word .docx format (16 pages, 513KB).

Topics covered by this guide include:

  • Understanding the basics of OneNote 2013
  • Creating a notebook
  • Taking notes
  • Capturing information
  • Organizing a notebook
  • Sharing a notebook
  • Taking notes in an online meeting
  • Searching through your notes
  • Using OneNote 2013 on a Windows Phone or Windows RT device

Included in the guide are some ideas for using OneNote 2013 to go paperless – here are my top five on that list:

  • Organize your work and life. Store and categorize the information that’s most important to you in a central location. This information might be in email; in different programs like Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel spreadsheet software, or PowerPoint; in a paper notepad or printout; or even on sticky notes.
  • Share your notes. OneNote is all about sharing. Share a notebook with your teammates on OneDrive for Business and then edit together in real time. Share notes in a Microsoft Lync online meeting that you start from Outlook or Lync. Or share a notebook (for example, budget, to-do list, or product research) with a family member on the consumer version of OneDrive.
  • Create a to-do list. Add a to-do list to projects that you’re working on, and then mark off items as you go.
  • Take down random thoughts by using Quick Notes. If you have a random thought that you don’t want to forget, jot it down as a Quick Note. With a Quick Note, you don’t have to think about where to place it in a notebook. You can always move it to a notebook section later—or not.
  • Experiment. There’s no right way or wrong way to use OneNote. Organize as much or as little as you like. Jot down an idea and watch it take shape over time.

It is that last one where the power of using OneNote 2013 really comes through.

Everyone of us can think of situations or work processes that can benefit from using OneNote 2013 and this is where you get to help crowd source those various ideas.

Comment below on how you use OneNote to go paperless so that everyone can either build off of that idea or use it themselves.

I am looking forward to reading about your creativity and these items will be included in a future episode of the Observed Tech PODCAST.

Did I mention that is a paperless podcast thanks to OneNote?


OneNote Image via Microsoft