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February 12, 2014

Why OneNote? Four fans explain all…

Pen and paper still have their place, but with cloud sync and wide ecosystem support, using OneNote means you won’t lose a thing.

The premise behind Microsoft OneNote is simple; capture words, pictures, audio, whatever, and forget about it. Which is the polar opposite of what the software is doing; memorising your notes, so you don’t have to.

Working across multiple operating systems and devices, you’ll be able to access everything no matter where you are. And because it’s built right into your Nokia Lumia, you can start using it straight away.

Conversations spoke to four OneNote fans that use the app and software in different ways, but with the same goal – to be more organised.



Why do you use OneNote?

“On a PC, you can drag-and-drop almost anything into your Notebook, which is a real time-saver” says 15-year-old Flo Martin. “Now that we’re allowed tablets and laptops in class, it means I can type straight into the Tabs I’ve created for each lesson. Then, when I’m home, I use the notes to help with homework, even copying and pasting chunks into my essays. I’ve also left my tablet in my locker a couple of times and panicked, but then remembered the notes are automatically saved and can be accessed on the family computer at home. That’s got me out of detention at least once! It’s great that I can upload images, photos and voice recordings I take with my smartphone, and put it anywhere on the page – I learn quicker with a combination of words and images.”

What’s your favourite feature?

The Draw function. Sometimes, I have to sketch something to understand it. This makes it really handy.



Why do you use OneNote?

“Last year, I spent more time on planes, buses and trains than I did in my own bed”, says Daniel Davey who has just returned from a year’s travelling. “I didn’t fancy lugging around a laptop with me, so recorded pretty much everything on my phone [he has a Lumia 925]. I used OneNote as a kind of journal, taking pictures, making notes, building lists of things to do and see. It was nice being able to share that with my family, who could see what I was up to.  The search is super powerful, too – I can just type in the name of a country or phrase to be taken that time without trawling through twelve months of writing. Knowing that it’s all backed up and safe was really important, too. Now that I’m home, I’ve started embedding video into my notes using my PC.

What ‘s your favourite feature?

It sounds like a minor thing, but being able to pin my journal to the Start Screen was great for spontaneity – just firing it up and recording my experiences really quickly.



Why do you use OneNote?

Kathryn Winks works for a London-based media agency and, by her own admission, “spends her day in meetings”. Kathryn says: “I’ve always used a laptop to take notes but they ended up either as one long document, which would take me ages to find anything, or lost on the hard drive somewhere. I’ve been using OneNote for about three years now and haven’t looked back. If you’re using a laptop, the keyboard shortcuts are great for formatting your notes on the fly or adding things like Outlook reminders. I also use the Quick Note feature a lot and then edit my scribblings into meaningful folders on my smartphone on the commute home.  It’s then all updated. Really clever.

What’s your favourite feature?

Probably the Screen clipping feature. I’m always looking for inspiration and can quickly capture it and save it for later. It even time-stamps and embeds the URL.




Why do you use OneNote?

“I’m I geek at heart”, says ‘house husband’ Matt Wray, who looks after his two young children. “I needed to integrate some form of technology into my day-to-day and, because OneNote was already built into my Lumia, I thought I’d give it a go. I started off making to-do and shopping lists but, since syncing it with the family PC, I’ve found loads of other useful features. I run the family calendar – which is digitally shared, obviously! – so the ability to flag stuff and have it pop into Outlook, which is then synced across my wife and I’s smartphones, is great. I also do all the cooking and have a bit of a passion for it, so I regularly take photos of recipes with my phone and embed them into my Recipe tab. I’d love a bigger-screen Lumia for reading the small text but, for now, I just load up the laptop and everything’s there.

What‘s your favourite feature?

The speed at which everything syncs. I can adjust lists on my smartphone and I know that, if my wife wanted to access the shared notebook a minute later, it would be updated. We’ve even used it to communicate messages a few times. Sad, I know!

So you’ve read how four people are using it. Now, it’s over to you. Is OneNote the ultimate in Lumia note-taking?”