The Power of Using OneNote and OneDrive

By JaredD | OneNote

Jan 19

Getting a Foundation of the Versions of OneNote and How They Work with OneDrive to do More

A goal of Class and Office for 2018 is to release weekly blog posts on the site. This is the first of the blog posts series.

As you may already know, the 2017 Learn OneNote Conference was held in November.

A total of 32 incredible sessions were held, showing you different aspects of OneNote.

For the next 32 weeks, we'll be reliving these sessions and I'll be sharing my key takeaways from these events. Don't worry, you don't have to be an All Access Pass buyer to benefit from these future posts. And if you are an All Access Pass buyer, these posts will be the perfect companion to re-watching the videos and jump-starting your own notes.

There is an opportunity to respond, disagree, agree or question my takeaways in the comment section of each post.

Scott is a Microsoft Certified Trainer who has tons of experience with the Office suite, teaching and helping others with Microsoft and related products for the past 21 years. He was the first speaker of LONC17 and was critical in getting us all on the same OneNote page.

Whether you are a seasoned OneNote veteran or a beginner, there are three key takeaways from Scott I want to share with you now.

OneNote's Power is with OneDrive

When I was working as a real estate appraiser, I stored my notebooks on my company server rather than on OneDrive. This meant that my notebooks were not available to me on any other device.

By making this mistake I was severely limiting the power of OneNote.

The BIGGEST power of OneNote is that your notes are with you everywhere you go. But that doesn't tell the entire story.

Your notes are with you wherever you go IF you store them in the cloud. This cloud for most OneNote users will be OneDrive.

An account with OneDrive and OneNote can be created for free. Or, you can use the OneDrive account you created with an education, business or personal paid account.

Taking this thought one step further, you can have notebooks open on your device from multiple OneDrive accounts at once.

For example, I have personal notebooks on my personal OneDrive account and business notebooks on my business account, both displaying side-by-side in OneDrive without any visual difference when working in the OneNote. When I had notebooks on the company server, I also had one personal notebook open side-by-side so I could jot down chores to do for when I got home, do some research on a trip during my lunch or write down accomplishments I might want available to me in the event of searching for a new job.

I feel it is also important to point out the concept of "opening" a notebook. Let's say I open a notebook on my Surface Pro 4. When I go to my iPhone, that notebook will not show in OneNote until I prompt my iPhone OneNote app to "open" the OneNote notebook I just created. When I first started, this was a big point of confusion for me because I didn't understand that each local OneNote platform has notebooks open and closed independently of the other. Even though the notebooks were available, I had to "open them."

Be Comfortable with Different Versions of OneNote

Scott does a good job of explaining the different versions of OneNote. The key takeway I had from his discussion is the importance of being comfortable with several versions.

Although OneNote is the version I use primarily (the one that comes with Windows 10), I still open up the OneNote online version and OneNote Desktop version for different reasons. It helps me stay up to date with the recent updates and changes within the different versions.

Thinking about the future of OneNote, I will be interested to see which of the major versions (OneNote, OneNote 2016 and OneNote Online) get the most attention from Microsoft in terms of new features. It certainly seems now that OneNote is the priority, but we'll see. Office 2019 is coming out in 2018, so I'm watching closely to see if/how OneNote is a part of the new suite.

The ongoing changes and improvements with the OneNote versions should be seen as a positive and an encouragement to be comfortable with different versions of OneNote. But I'm still going to be using OneNote primarily :).

To get OneNote on your device, visit the Microsoft OneNote download site. OneNote may already be on your computer if you are running Windows 10.

Look on the Microsoft OneNote site linked to above for the "Other Download Options" if you want the desktop version instead of the Windows 10 version. Please note that this may change in the future as Microsoft decides to change access to what versions are free and paid.

To see an introduction to OneNote online, see this quick post on another site.

To see Microsoft's explanation of the difference between OneNote 2016 and OneNote, click here.

To see what's new in OneNote Windows 10, visit the Microsoft page here.

Create Notebooks in OneNote Desktop 2016

OneNote Desktop 2016 is the most robust version and is the favorite of many productivity experts and educators. While I primarily use OneNote, I take Scott's advice and use OneNote Desktop 2016 when I open a new notebook.

When you open a new notebook in OneNote Desktop 2016, it is a bit easier to choose settings like who you want to share the notebook with and where you want to save the notebook.

One thing I highly recommend is after creating your notebook in OneNote Desktop 2016, immediately open your other versions of OneNote. For me, that is the Windows 10 version and on my iPhone.

Search for the new notebook created and open it on your phone, in OneNote and your Mac or any other locations you access OneNote. By doing so, you'll have the newly created notebook with you everywhere you go without having to worry about internet access. Remember, you need internet access to open a notebook from OneDrive, but you don't need internet access to edit, add to, and use your open notebooks (they won't sync until you get back to internet, but this is usually not a problem).

I'll leave you with a challenge. Work in a OneNote version you don't normally use for a whole week. See how you like it and you might even surprise yourself.

This post is written by Jared DeCamp. 

To learn more from Scott Concilla, speaker at the 2017 Learn OneNote Conference, visit one of the links to his work below.

I'm curious, what version of OneNote is your favorite? What is the one thing about that version that makes it your favorite? Leave a comment and share so we can all learn from you.

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