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I’ve used a paper diary for many years, before Outlook revolutionised my life. I’m not the most of organised of people (my wife would testify to that) but Outlook helps so the paper diary was “archived”!

Then came the option of synchronising Outlook with my mobile phone! Having picked myself up off the floor, I started looking at my desk and wandering what else I could throw away? And then OneNote came along…

My pen pot was in danger briefly before realising I need to sign cheques and do that annoying rolling it around your fingers whilst listening to someone! I noticed I was coming to the end of yet another notebook. This documents my working life, things to do lists, client meeting information etc. It’s an expensive looking leather(ette) one, the refills are not cheap but the biggest issue I have with it , is finding anything. It’s an involved effort trawling through pages of notes looking for that all important telephone number I quickly wrote down but didn’t file correctly. Or pulling together all the notes for one project that span many pages throughout the 160 pages.  Time to roll out the revelation that is Microsoft OneNote.

Think of multiple notebooks in an electronic form! The ability to create sections within each notebook, have multiple pages within each section! OMG! You can organise, section, sub-section, highlight, search, protect, share and more, all from within OneNote. Try doing all that with a pieces of paper?

Here are some other aspects that I’ve come to love about it:

Instant Saving and Versioning - It saves as you type, so removes the need to constantly hit the save button and I don’t lose documents. Coupled with seamless backing up and versioning allows a safe and practical way to organise my notes, projects and things to do lists.

Security – You can password protect sections for those of you who need to store sensitive information. As with all passwords, ensure it’s as complex as you can manage.

Sharing- A new feature in 2010 is the ability to share a workbook. You can store your workbook on the web, SharePoint or from you own PC. This is great for collaborating with colleagues or keeping your manager up to date with your Things To Do list. (They can’t say they don’t know what you’re doing if they constantly have access to your list – unless it’s empty!)

So having used it for a couple of months now, I am totally converted. The only downside is tapping away whilst in a client meeting, doesn’t look brilliant. Off to test the app that will allow me to write on my tablet and synchronise with my OneNote… watch this space!

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