OneNote: killer app

I just recently got this (the new 2007 version; never used it previously). This is the best thing that can be used as a GTD-style notebook that I’ve ever seen. If you have the screen real-estate for it (so it can be always open and so its use of space isn’t a burden), it’s just a fantastic way of seeing everything you are (or will eventually be) working on at a glance, categorized in easy to use tabs. It’s not perfect (it needs a “stop bugging me” pass on the UI’s helpful widgets when you mouse around), but it’s much better than anything else that I’ve seen – especially including apps intended for use in a GTD context.

I’m back on OSX this morning after a week on Vista (thank GOD for CS3, finally native across the board, and oh my it’s fast), and OneNote the biggest thing I miss. There’s nothing like it on the Mac (that I’ve seen, in searching with considerable effort). I’ll be running a VM just for this.

Onenote and my tablet PC are an expensive way of saving paper.

Old way:
Print out the bug/feature lists so that I can sit by a window and annotate the print-outs with notes as to whether there’s anything I need to document.

New way:
Clip the HTML bug/feature list into OneNote and write all over it with the stylus.

Yeah- I’m still using OneNote 2003 with my new (old, refurbished) tablet, and it’s the bee’s knees. I love being able to just scribble in it like I do my old black lined notebooks, annotate with images, etc. I have different tabs for all the various hobby projects I’m working on, recipes, etc. I love it to bits. What’s new in the 2k7 version?

I keep thinking I may install Vista etc. on this thing- It’s a bit long in the tooth spec-wise (Centrino 1.8, 2gigs RAM), but reports say that it runs OK (sans the fancy interface).

Vista has far better support for tablets than XP. Among other features you can do handwriting training through the OS (Tablet PC control panel).

And yes, OneNote is love.

I’m using the new VMWare Fusion 3 beta (even though I own parallels) to test this out on my Mac Pro under OSX, using Vista Ultimate 64-bit (wow, nice job VMWare). So far my only gripe is that Fusion seems to confuse the hell out of my Logitech MX Revolution drivers, and it can’t see the mouse anymore, so none of my button mapping works, the scrolling isn’t smooth, etc. Luckily I stumbled upon a workaround: click the Logitech icon in the control panel. It’ll say it can’t detect any devices, but the mouse features will resume working as normal (at least until you click on the Fusion window again… grr). Reported it, so we’ll see how that goes. Beta and all… if it gets too annoying I’ll install 32-bit Vista under parallels and give that another go. It’s great to have OneNote running while in OSX, though. I’m hooked. This might be incentive enough for a weekend Cocoa project.

OneNote came with my Office 2007 suite, so I gave it a try… but I found it fairly useless. Knowledge Base or Mybase are far better tools for organizing random data, and a real paper notebook is far better for drawings and brainstorming. Doesn’t take up any screen space, either.

Maybe it’s different when you’re working at Microsoft and always lug around a notebook computer that’s permanently connected to the campus network so you can immediately share those OneNote pages with anyone.

I also like oneNote 2007. Great to take with you on meetings - especially on a tablet.

Chris: I use it sorta like 8 or 10 sheets of paper, and I mostly use it in the getting-things-done method of task management. It doesn’t replace scribbling for me (I’m always at a desktop, with a notebook handy if I need to sketch something out), but it works really well for having a list of my ongoing projects and quickly updating whichever one I need to as thoughts or tasks come up or as progress happens. The simplicity and instant 1-click access are what make it effective for me.

I used it to take a lot of notes during grad school… also used GoBinder. I liked the SP2 release of the first version. I had a toshiba convertible laptop that I used to take all of my notes. Seemed like a good idea at the time, but now that I’m on the Mac, I can’t access those notes easily, which is inconvenient. Then again, I don’t really need to get back to them often. OneNote is great for doodling, too, in my experience.

What i’m looking for is something to be used in a small business network environment where several users contribute, at different times, to jobs, and i need a way of organizing project data. Like, generally, there are say, 15-20 pending projects at any one time, but i need also access to the archive so that any new work on an old job can be instantly updated. Something that would let different users see and have record of what other users have done, over weeks and months.

Would OneNote do something like this?

Kinda sorta, but it’s not ideal. You want a wiki for that.

I’m trying not to be condescending in saying this but most places are like this. You didn’t just describe Microsoft’s campus and workplace, you descibed most larger companies today, even most small to medium businesses.

Desktops at work have receeded into near extinction. You could wage your argument about tablet PC’s though, they haven’t gotten the traction that just a plain laptop in the business world has.

To the OP, I too would like to know what’s new about 2007 version. The prior version is pretty good too.

If you’re back on OS X and are somehow able to stomach OneNote, then you probably haven’t ever used Notebook.

If they’re using documents (word, excel, etc) and dead-set on MS products, then Sharepoint would be good, and the core version is free. Groove also is nice, but not free, and IMO isn’t that much of an improvement unless you have external users that need to play with internal documents.

It’s also becoming more and more true of the larger colleges and universities. The primary wireless network here is huge, and watching the explosion of laptops on campus over the last few years has been interesting.

It’s also often a solid environment for the tablet (especially with OneNote or at least the feature-set of OneNote), but that hasn’t come close to taking off yet. Not sure if it’s cost related, or awareness/hype related. Apple throwing out an iTablet would solve the latter problem. :)

I finally got my upgrade to Onenote 2007. Jesus it’s like a new app. Fantastic so far, I’m in complete agreement with ciparis. A big thank you to your earlier post, I finally got around to getting it.

The Outlook integration is very neat and I’ve used that quite a bit so far. You can clip items straight out of email to a notebook, then continue work on them, or enhance them with notes I take from a meeting or call. You can also post them to SharePoint for the rest of the team or for sharing items between each other. You can also live share, which sounds interesting but I haven’t tried it yet. The personal notebook is also quite useful, especially with the protection being applied per-notebook when you need it. Very, very slick. If this version of the app (2007) would have launched with the tablet PCs in the first place, we would all be using one. It’s that good.

Live sharing is amazing. You just put it on a fileshare and multiple people can use it, which no piggling around about locking or anything. It’s how every document should work, but nothing actually does. If there were a web-facing server-based viewer app for OneNote stuff, it’d completely replace wiki usage for my team at work.

I loved OneNote when I was doing Windows stuff at home. A Mac version (sort of, but not as good) is Voodoo Pad.