Microsoft OneNote might be the coolest application ever

July 8 2008

In the past couple weeks, I have done quite a bit more note taking vs coding. I have tried to play with software like MindMapper but what I need is a way to take notes, organize them, and work with them. I need it in a way I can type and outline fast. Nothing fancy or graphical. Up to a couple weeks ago, I did this either on paper (notepads and cards) or in my Notes journal. After playing with Microsoft OneNote a bit last year, I really pushed myself to use it the past month.

Woah. Talk about a change in productivity. I do not have a Tablet PC, so I am not using a pen to take Notes. Just typing ... which I am a pretty good typist.

The pure note taking part of OneNote is great. I can organize my notes in an outline format, just like I was creating an outline in Word or PowerPoint. I so wish Notes had this level of outlining support. But how I store those notes is the real power. The "Notepad" storage mechanism allows me to organize at the top level. I have one for Clients, Projects, and Personal. But the fact it works like tabs in Notes is what I love. The grouping of the sections, like Lotus Word Pro did, is even more powerful.

The clipping functionality is great. I can take a part of the screen as an image, a web page or section of text, and even audio and video. And store it all together. I am in note taking love!

I also love how you can tag or task anything in OneNote. I just wish I could send those tasks to Notes instead of Outlook. I hope to the API in OneNote 14 allows me to build some add-ins that allows that.

Another aspect of OneNote is that it is very customizable. Templates for both sections and Notebooks are all over the net. So are Power Toys and Add-ins that provide extra functionality.

If I was a student in school again, OneNote would be a dream for class notes and organization.

Anyone else using OneNote? Any thoughts about Note taking out there?