Since its initial launch, OneNote has quickly grown from an obscure Microsoft Office add-on to one of the more widely-used applications within the Office suite. OneNote is the most ubiquitous of the Microsoft Office applications, and it has filled a role as ambassador (and guinea pig) for Microsoft's cross-platform capabilities. Now, Microsoft is once again broadening the horizons for OneNote.
Microsoft introduced two OneNote-related tools this week. Let's take a look at both of these in greater detail.
1. Chrome extension for the OneNote Clipper
Microsoft initially introduced the OneNote Clipper feature in March. The tool itself isn't groundbreaking—OneNote's biggest rival, Evernote, has had similar web clipping capabilities for a while now. In a nutshell, the tool allows you to easily "clip" any web page to OneNote. You can use it to save web pages for reading offline or gathering online research into a OneNote notebook. Once the site is saved in OneNote, you can also annotate and mark it up. The Chrome extension for OneNote Clipper simply makes the tool more accessible and integrates it into the Google Chrome web browser.
2. Migration tool to help Springpad users transition to OneNote
Springpad is another rival note-taking and organization application, but it recently announced that it's shutting down. As of June 25, Springpad will no longer exist, so Microsoft developed a tool that helps Springpad customers easily export and migrate their existing Springpad content into OneNote.
These new features and tools follow on the heels of Microsoft's unveiling of the Surface Pro 3 at a recent media event in New York. While the Surface Pro 3 was the main attraction, OneNote played a significant role in the event, because Microsoft has gone out of its way to make OneNote more accessible on the new tablet. Clicking the purple button on the end of the Surface Pro 3 stylus automatically opens the Windows 8 OneNote app, and the two-button stylus is designed to allow users to easily navigate and work with information in OneNote.
If you haven't tried OneNote yet, I highly recommend that you do. If you tried it years ago but stopped using it, I suggest that you give it another try. Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook are great tools, but OneNote has secured a place as the crown jewel of Microsoft Office. Like most Microsoft Office programs, it's nice at face value, but the real power lies beneath the surface. If you spend time exploring some of the more obscure or advanced features of OneNote, you'll be hooked and wonder how you ever got anything done without it.
Do you use OneNote in your organization? Why or why not? Share your experience in the discussion thread below.
Tony Bradley is a principal analyst with Bradley Strategy Group. He is a respected authority on technology, and information security. He writes regularly for Forbes, and PCWorld, and contributes to a wide variety of online and print media outlets. He has authored or co-authored a number of books, including Unified Communications for Dummies, Essential Computer Security, and PCI Compliance.