Saturday, June 20, 2009

OneNote on SharePoint


One of the most overlooked applications available from Microsoft is OneNote. It is a simple electronic notebook that allows you to store just about any digital information you can think of.


You can even use it to clip information directly from web pages. It is just such a handy application that if you haven’t had a look I suggest you download a trial.

I will leave the virtues of OneNote to another post, what I want to demonstrate here is how much more powerful OneNote becomes when it is utilized in conjunction with SharePoint. Basically, if you save your OneNote notebooks into a SharePoint document library then you can share the notebook between people. If the SharePoint site is hosted on the Internet then people connected to the Internet can collaborate easily.

If you need a free hosted SharePoint solution have a look at Microsoft Office Live Workspace. Combine that with OneNote and you have instant team collaboration anywhere you have an Internet connection.

So, how do you create a OneNote notebook that lives on SharePoint? During the process of creating a new notebook you’ll see a windows like this:


Selecting the bottom option then “On a Server” will then ask for the location of the server. In this case you simply enter the full location of a SharePoint document library like the one shown below.


If you now enter a new folder name OneNote will store the new notebook there with all the sections in files below this.


Once the new notebook has been created you can add any information you require. The information is not only saved locally but also automatically synced with the information in SharePoint. This allows anyone to work on the notebook.

Next time you open OneNote you will see the local copy of the notebook appear. You can continue to work on this copy but if you are connected to the Internet you will see a prompt at the top of the page asking you to login to the SharePoint site as shown:


Once you are logged back in the notebook will synchronize again so you will see any changes that other people have made and that information will be copied to your local machine.

If you take a look around your desk at all the information on bits of paper you should ask yourself why these aren’t in digital form. Once they are entered into a digital form they are easily backed up, searchable and shareable. I can guarantee that it will improve your productivity and reduce clutter. If it can do that for one person imagine what it can for a team of people?

If you are looking at tools to improve your productivity look no further than OneNote and SharePoint. You won’t be sorry you did.