Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Shared OneNote notebooks

For those who have not as yet experienced the joy of OneNote I’d suggest you give it a try. You can download a 60 day free trial from:

http://us20.trymicrosoftoffice.com/default.aspx?culture=en-US

Basically, OneNote is a digital notebook that allows you to save just about any form of digital information. You can use it to save text, images, web sites, files and more.

You can even print to OneNote from any application and send information directly from Internet Explorer and Outlook. Best of all, any information in OneNote is not only backed up but it is also indexed, which means you can search through all your notes quickly and easily.

Now this isn’t a blog post on the benefits of OneNote it is about how you can connect OneNote to SharePoint to provide shared notebook access. This enables a single notebook to be shared between multiple people. If you have a SharePoint site that is hosted on the Internet you can share this information between people just about anywhere.

So how do you go about doing that? First you’ll need to have a SharePoint site with a document library people can get access to. I normally like to create a separate OneNote document library to keep all the OneNote files together but there is no need to do that. You’ll also need to have OneNote installed on every machine that you wish to access the notebooks with.

Once you have all that in place and have launch OneNote complete the following to create a new notebook.


Select File | New | Notebook from the menu.


Give the new notebook a name and select a OneNote template.



To allow a shared notebook select the Multiple people will share the notebook option and then On a server.



In the path field enter the URL of your SharePoint document library.



If SharePoint is hosted on the Internet you will need to logon to the site.



The new notebook should appear. Now all any other user needs to do to connect and share the notebook is launch OneNote on their local machine and open the notebook from the URL you used to create the notebook.



Next time you open OneNote you will see some text at the top of the notebook indicating that you need to login to get the latest updates to the file. Simply click on this link and enter your login details. Any changes will then be automatically sync’ed.

If you don’t have a hosted SharePoint site you can still achieve the same result using Office Live. Information about how to configure that can be found in a free document I created a while back which can be found at - http://www.slideshare.net/directorcia/onenote-and-office-live.

The good thing about sync’ing OneNote is that not only do you retain a local copy but there is always an offsite backup. So you can keep using OneNote on the road and when you connect back to the Internet all changes in all notebooks are synchronized. It makes it a very easy process for any team collaboration.

So there you are. If you haven’t looked at OneNote I’d recommend you do and if you can link it to SharePoint to provided shared notebook access I’m confident that it’ll prove a winner with most teams.