Service packs for applications are usually not very
exciting; they fix a few bugs and perhaps enhance performance. With Microsoft’s
recently released Service Pack 1 for OneNote 2003, though, there’s more going
on. SP1 does fix a host of issues, but that’s not all it does. It also adds a
number of features in response to customer requests, making OneNote even more
functional. In this article, we’ll take a look at these new features and see how
OneNote—especially when installed on a Tablet PC—can make your note-taking life
easier than ever.

Installing the service pack

Installation is straightforward. I installed SP1 on several
computers, both Tablet PCs and desktop machines, without any problems. Although
you can download the service pack from Microsoft, the easiest way to get
it is to use Office
Update on the Office Online Web site
. Just click Check For Updates or click
the OneNote 2003 link under New Updates.

You can even install the service pack to the 60-day trial
version of OneNote. You’ll be able to try out all the SP1 features, but the evaluation
version will still expire after 60 days.


Tip

Be sure to uninstall the preview version of SP1 before
installing the final release. For information on how to uninstall the preview,
see Knowledge
Base article 873206
.


To determine whether SP1 has been installed on your copy of
OneNote, pull down the Help menu and select About Microsoft Office OneNote. If
it has, you’ll see the notation SP1 at the top of the dialog box after the
version number.

Dress up your notes with multimedia files

With SP1, you can create multimedia-enhanced notes and more
easily transfer information into your notes from a variety of sources. A great
feature for those of us who gather information on the go is the ability to copy
notes that you take on your Pocket PC or Smartphone into OneNote. This includes
not only written notes, but also recordings. Just click Tools and select Copy From Pocket PC Or Smartphone.

You can also add video notes made with a digital camcorder
or Web cam, and you can synchronize the video with your text (typed or
handwritten) notes. Click Tools and select Audio And Video Recording. Likewise,
you can import screen captures into OneNote (with time and date stamps), and
you can dress up your notes by importing digital photographs, as shown in Figure A. Just click Insert, select
Picture, and then select From File.

Figure A

You can add photos, screenshots, video, and recordings to your notes.

Interoperate with Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook

Here’s another handy feature: You can insert an Office
document (from Word, Excel, or PowerPoint) into a note as a picture. Just click
Insert and select Document As Picture.

The document appears in the note (and the document’s filename
is automatically inserted as the note’s title). You can even annotate the
document by drawing on it, highlighting portions, or inserting typed or
handwritten text, as shown in Figure B.

Figure B

You can annotate an inserted document.

You can also import information about meetings from Outlook
by clicking Insert and selecting Outlook Meeting Details.

Interoperability goes two ways, too. You can create contacts
and appointments and send them to Outlook 2003 by clicking Tools and selecting
Create Outlook Item. To send notes to Word, click File and select Publish. Then,
in the File type drop-down box, select Microsoft Word Document (.doc).

Sharing—and not sharing—your notes

SP1 allows you to collaborate with others by sharing your
note pages in real time. Multiple users can see and even make changes to a page
of notes. Just click File and select Share With Others. This invokes the Share With
Others task pane, shown in Figure C.

Figure C

You can share OneNote sessions with others in real time.

You can send your notes via e-mail. The recipient doesn’t
have to have OneNote installed to see them. You can take notes with others in a
live session by clicking either the Join A Session or the Start A Session button.
When you start a session, you’ll be asked to set a password so you can control
who else participates. You can also share your notes by sending them to a
SharePoint Web site.

Even if you aren’t sharing your notes, you may still want to
password-protect them and encrypt the data in your notes. To do this, click
File and select Password Protection. You can set passwords on specific sections
of a notebook and lock sections that you’ve entered, as shown in Figure D.

Figure D

You can password-protect your notes if they contain sensitive data.

Other new features

In addition to the enhancements we’ve looked at so far,
Microsoft has made several small but important changes to OneNote with SP1.

For starters, you can easily create customized flags to go
along with the default flags (To Do, Important, Question, and Remember For Later),
such as those shown in Figure E.
Just click Format and select Note Flags. Then, choose Customize My Note Flags.

Figure E

SP1 makes it easy to create customized flags.

SP1 also offers a selection of new stationery options to
dress up the background of your notes (and make it easier to organize and
identify particular notes), as shown in Figure
F
. To access the options, click Format and select Stationery.

Figure F

You can choose from a selection of new stationery options.

If you want to have a record of when a note was created, you
can insert the date and time on a note page. Just click Insert and select Date And
Time or use the [Alt][Shift]F keyboard shortcut. You can also change the date
and time on page headers. Just click the date or time to select it, and a
calendar or clock icon will appear. Click the icon and select the new date or
time you want to appear in the header, as shown in Figure G.

Figure G

SP1 lets you change the date or time on a page header.

With SP1, you can assign names to subpages. In addition, the
search function has been improved to allow you to change the scope of a search
so that you can search an individual section, in a selected folder (with or
without including subfolders), or in the entire notebook. To access these
options, click the down arrow next to the search text box, as shown in Figure H.

Figure H

These options enable you to set the scope of a search from the current
section to the entire notebook.

If you have a Tablet PC, you’ll find that it’s easier to
erase specific text using pen gestures, and you have more selections for
customizing pens and pen colors.

Easier note-taking

The recently released Service Pack 1 for OneNote 2003 is
much more than just a bug fix. It does take care of a number of issues, but it also
adds features and functionality, making it easier to incorporate information
from various sources, organize, search and protect your notes, and share them
with others.