My OneNote daybook template

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A while back I detailed how I use OneNote to replace my paper diary. You can read about that here:

One of the ways I use OneNote

The main benefits of a “daybook” for me are:

1. It is searchable

2. It is backed up

3. It is available on all my devices

This concept of a “daybook” is something that I use in my Office 365 adoption process. I have users create their very own “daybook” as part of learning how to use OneNote and OneDrive.

Creating a whole OneNote diary can be time consuming and many people simply want a completed “daybook” template that they can start using immediately. If you do, then I have uploaded to my GitHub repository for you here:

https://github.com/directorcia/general/blob/master/Daybook.onepkg

Simply download the file and open it with your favourite version of OneNote.

Go forth, save the trees and OneNote.

Focus on the ‘Me’ services first

The way I approach Office 365 adoption for businesses is very different from the approach that many take. My experience shows that successful adoption is all about understanding the human experience rather than just implementing technology.

The vast majority of people and businesses are very change adverse. That’s normal. This means they are already wary of what technology brings their work life. Many have also had plenty of experiences where technology failed them and actually made their job more difficult. All of these factors are an accumulated mountain that implementing new systems inside a business need to surmount.

The solution is not to attack that mountain with more technology, it is to focus on enabling people with technology. It is about making technology more personal for the user and showing them how it can help them get their job done. It is about letting them become familiar with what the technology can do.

Thus, the starting point is always the individual, because we all know everyone wants to know ‘what’s in for me?’. If you don’t get individual buy in then you’ll never get business buy in. It’s the individuals that make the business succeed, not the other way around! So what’s the strategy here when it comes to Office 365 adoption?

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The approach I recommend is always to focus on the ‘me’ services in Office 365 first. These services to my mind are Yammer, OneDrive for Business, OneNote and Delve.

I have talked about why Yammer is the key starting point for adoption previously:

Why Yammer is still relevant

In summary, Yammer is a great way to make a big impact with little investment. It basically allows the business to work in public, which most businesses have never been able to do. Yammer also allows people to contribute and consume what is happening in the business and with those around them, on the desktop or on their phones. In short, it brings the social nature of being human into a business and in my experience produces huge initial wins for the business.

Once Yammer has been rolled out the next recommendation is to get users onto OneDrive for Business. In essence this gives them familiarity with the SharePoint experience of working with files but without being in the glare of everyone else in the business as they do with Team Sites. Because OneDrive for Business is personal, they can play, use and learn without fear of ‘breaking something’ or interfering with others. It has the added benefit of moving all their unbackedup data (desktop, My Documents, C: drive, etc) to somewhere they can easily access that just about anywhere. For the business, it provides greater compliance and security over their information.

Next up, I recommend OneNote. OneNote is an app that most people have never used but it is available on all platforms. That makes it easy to start saving information into. Once information is in OneNote it is backed up and sync’ed to all devices automatically. How many people do you know that carry a pen and pad wherever they go? Just about everyone right? Imagine the benefits those people would get if they recorded even some of their stuff into OneNote? The killer feature of OneNote is search. Since you have already got users hooked on OneDrive for Business, now you show them the benefits of creating and saving OneNote notebooks there. Whether they create one massive personal notebook or lots of smaller ones, it doesn’t matter. Now they have a digital notebook that never runs out, is always backed up and available on all their devices.

The final piece of the puzzle is Delve. How is Delve a ‘me’ service you may ask? Well, the way I see it, Delve is a user’s personal search engine. It allows them to search across all their documents, all the shared documents they have access to, their attachments as well information about others in the business. Remember how I said search is the killer feature of OneNote? It is actually the killer feature of Office 365.  Delve shows them THEIR document feed, the people THEY are interactive with most. It allows them to create THEIR OWN personal blog and so on.

Delve is also great from an administrator’s point of view because there isn’t much that needs configuring. However, for successful adoption an administrator MUST ensure that one feature of Delve is enabled. Can you guess what that is?

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Nothing looks worse than having just a shadow staring back at you from your Delve. To drive adoption successfully you MUST have the user’s profile picture there automatically or show them how to upload it themselves.

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Users will feel greater ownership if they see firstly, their own picture and secondly, pictures of the co-workers. Remember, you are implementing something like Office 365 to benefit users, not just for something to do. Thus, doing everything you can to promote buy in makes sense. There are so many other benefits of ensuring you have images in user’s profile that I won’t go into here, but rest assured, they are critical when it comes to adoption.

Once you have all these ‘me’ services rolled out, then you can start looking at ‘us’ services like Teams, SharePoint and so on. How do you know when the time is right to shift from ‘me’ adoption to ‘us’ adoption? Well, the metrics that you established prior to rolling out Office 365 should be the yard stick, however when users come to you and say things like:

– “Hey this Yammer thing is great, could we use it for this?”

– “OneNote is amazing, will work for this project?”

and so on. Basically, you’ll know then that the time is right to shift to rolling out ‘us’ services. You just have to wait till users start asking for them. At that point you know they are comfortable with the technology and have embraced the benefits themselves and now want to extend that elsewhere in the business. They are no longer afraid of the new technology, they see how it can make their lives easier. At that point, it is time to unlock your adoption achievement award and move on.

Thus, successful Office 365 adoption is about focusing on the individual before the team. It is about giving them ‘me’ services to allow them to become familiar in their own time and space. Once they do that they’ll come to you asking how these can be extended beyond their own world.

That is the way to do Office 365 adoption successfully in my books.

Microsoft Teams and OneNote integration

One of the ways that I describe Microsoft Teams to people is as a simplified and aggregated wrapper over things such as SharePoint Teams Sites and Skype for Business. Many may not appreciate however that it is also a wrapper over one of other favourite products, OneNote.

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When you create a new Microsoft Team you also get a new SharePoint Team Site as part of that. That SharePoint Team Site contains a OneNote notebook which is known as a ‘site notebook’. To view it, simply select the link Notebook from the Quick Launch menu on the left of the SharePoint Team Site.

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If you open that notebook you’ll see that it is blank, as shown above. OneNote is arranged by sections, inside which are individual pages.

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If you now go to that Microsoft Team (in my case, called Help Desk), you will see the normal Conversations and Files tabs at the top of the only channel I currently have in the Team called General, like so:

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You’ll notice that I have already added a new tab to this channel (Polly) thanks to a bot I’ve inserted into this Team. I’ll cover bots in another post.

What you don’t yet see in the Team channel is anything to do with OneNote. The reason is that OneNote connectivity is not added by default.

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To connect this Microsoft Team channel to OneNote press the ‘+’ (plus) item on the menu.

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That will display a new window, as shown above with all the items you can add to menu. One of these you should find is OneNote.

Select the OneNote tile.

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You’ll then be asked to give the new tab a name. Here I have called it Meetings. Select the Save button when you have made your choice.

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Now you should see a new menu item across the top matching the name you just gave OneNote (here, Meetings). You’ll also notice that you are placed into a OneNote style page below the menu.

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You are now free to give your page a name and enter any notes into that page.

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If you now select the ‘hamburger’ menu in the top left of the page you will see,

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This should now begin to look more and more like OneNote. Here you can go in and create new pages like so,

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That’s really handy for everyone in that channel to capture information.

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If you now return to the Site Notebook directly in SharePoint you should find the notebook looks something like that shown above. There is a new section with the name Channel – Selection name (here General – Meetings) and the information just enters appears as pages.

Thus, when you add the OneNote option to a Team channel a new section is created in the Site Notebook in the SharePoint Team Site that was created when that Microsoft Team was established. Pages you create in that channel are then saved under that section.

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If I now go and create a new channel for that Team (here called Office 365) and then add OneNote to that channel as above, I again get the ability to add pages. Here, I have created a new page called Scripts in my Office 365 channel.

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If I now go back to my Site Notebook in the SharePoint Team Site I can see this new channel as a section and the page I created underneath it in standard OneNote format.

So in summary, when you create a new Microsoft Team you get a new SharePoint Team Site. This SharePoint Team Site contains a single OneNote notebook called a Site Notebook. If you then add OneNote to a channel in Microsoft Teams, the name you give that OneNote tab becomes a new section in the Site Notebook. Any new page you create in that channel gets created under this section in the Site Notebook.

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If you elect to Edit Notebook, as shown above, you will get the option to work with the WHOLE notebook in the web or via OneNote on the desktop. That means you are in effect opening the complete Site Notebook where you will see ALL the sections (channels) and pages below like so

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Given the way the sections are named after the actual channel, hopefully this avoids confusion but there will no doubt be those who don’t see the connection between the Microsoft Team as a whole and all the channels within it and the Site Notebook which holds ALL the OneNote information for the Microsoft Team as a single OneNote notebook file. You can view the OneNote information for the Microsoft Team by channel inside the Microsoft Teams app or for the WHOLE Microsoft Team (i.e. all the channels) at once using the OneNote app.

Hopefully, this articles goes some way to explaining the configuration and connectivity between Microsoft Teams, SharePoint Teams Sites, the Site Notebook and OneNote.

My software and services

Previously, I detailed the hardware that I used in my work:

My gear

In this article I’ll look at the software and services I use most.

To start with, I use Windows 10 professional on all my desktop machines and Windows Storage Server 2008 on my WD Sentinel DX4000 NAS. I have upgraded all my immediate families machines to Windows 10 without any issues as well. We are therefore a Windows 10 family through and through.

Unsurprisingly, I used Office 365 for things such as a email, OneDrive for Business, Skype, Office desktop software and the like. What maybe somewhat surprising is that, although I have access to a free Office 365 tenant from Microsoft as a partner, I don’t use this in production. I have a completely separate paid tenant for my business.

Why is that, you may ask? The main reason is that I use my Microsoft Office 365 tenant for demonstrations and testing. I don’t want production data appearing when I do demos to customers and prospects. Having to two separate tenants means complete separation of the data.

I of course use all the standard Microsoft Office desktop software such as Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc however, the key application from the suite for me is OneNote. OneNote is my go to Swiss Army knife for just about everything digital. I use it to capture all sort of data. I even use it as a diary as I have detailed previous here:

One of the ways I use OneNote

The reason OneNote is key is because:

1. Just about everything I put in there us searchable

2. It is freely available across all platforms.

3. All my information is synced and accessible on all devices.

4. It is available on the web or offline if needed.

Another key service I use everyday along with Office 365 and OneNote is Azure. Typically, I use it for running up virtual machines that I test various things with but I also use it to backup my local data as well as that of other members of my family using Azure Backup.

Azure desktop backup

There is just so much that can be done with Azure. I haven’t even scratched the surface of what I could use it for. I see Azure becoming a larger and large part of what I do every day.

I use Lastpass to keep my passwords and private information secure. It allows me to do things like generate and store unique passwords for each website that I sign up for. It is also available across all browsers on my machine (including Microsoft Edge).

For a subset of my local data that I wish to remain secure I use Truecrypt to create encrypted volumes. All my my Windows 10 machines run with full disk encryption thanks to Bitlocker, but stuff like financial and customer data I keep inside Truecrypt volumes for that extra layer of security. I understand that Truecrypt is no longer maintained and may have some very minor security flaws, but for how and why I use it, it is more than adequate.

To capture my desktop for my online training academy or my YouTube channel I use Camtasia.

To compose and publish blog articles I use Open Live Writer.

To keep track of where I spend my time on my desktops I use RescueTime.

For improved email productivity I use Microsoft FindTime and Boomerang.

For chat and web meetings I use Skype for Business from Office 365. I encourage anyone to connect up to me via my address = admin@ciaops365.com. Chat is generally always faster at resolving things than traditional email.

For protection, apart from the standard Windows 10 tools, I use Malware Bytes.

Inside my browsers I typically have the following plugins:

Lastpass which provides automated insertion of web site credentials.

Nosili which provides productivity enhancement thanks to background sounds. My favourite is rain.

Pushbullet which connects alerts from my Android phone to my dekstop browser and allow me to share information easily between them.

GetPocket which allows me to save and categorise websites URLs, which I then typically read at a later time. Has its own dedicated mobile that I can use on any device.

The Great Suspender which puts unused tabs in Chrome to ‘sleep’ to save memory.

I use the automation sites If This Then That and Zapier to automate many different tasks. A good example of one of these is automatically publishing to various social media sites.

For my Office 365 and Azure email newsletters I use Mailchimp.

My preferred public social networks for business, in order are:

1. Twitter

2. Linkedin

3. Facebook

I also use Yammer extensively but for more specialised roles and thus don’t consider it really a ‘public’ social network, more a private one.

YouTube is also something I use daily for business and pleasure. It use for both education and marketing as well as entertainment, thanks largely to the XBox YouTube app. Just wish they’d hurry up and bring the Amazon Prime Video app to the Xbox here in Australia so I can watch The Grand Tour from my bean bag.

I use a lot of other software and services but the above are the main ones I use pretty much everyday that I’m at my desk.

I am always looking for ways to improve my productivity and effectiveness with software and services. If you therefore have something you can recommend to me please don’t hesitate to let me know what it is.

How to present Office 365

I’m working on a new course for my online training academy that will give people a framework for successfully presenting Office 365 to prospects, clients and colleagues.

Having presented this material in face to face classroom sessions I was really looking to incorporate the “whiteboard” experience on screen. What I therefore decided to try was using the Windows 10 OneNote app on my Surface 3 along with the Surface pen to see how well it would work while obviusly recording the whole thing.

My trial attempt is shown above and I think it worked pretty well. Obviously, there will need to be some polishing done before I release the final version of the course material, which will also contain more tutorials on how to present each individual service such as Delve.

Have a look and let me know what you think at the rough draft of on screen “whiteboarding”. Also, if you have played with OneNote and a pen then I suggest you do as OneNote is a great hand notetaking tool as hopefully the video illustrates. Of course if you want to find out when the course on Presenting Office 365 becomes available then stay tuned here or sign up for free at my online academy:

www.ciaopsacademy.com

Moving OneNote notebooks to OneDrive

The problem is that SharePoint 2010 no longer has mainstream support. Thus, it is therefore time to move everything off that platform including OneNote notebooks. Now you could easily move it to Office 365 but what if you wanted to move your OneNote notebooks to the consumer onedrive.com instead? Here’s how you can do that.

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In my case, I have a number of ‘nice to have’ notebooks hanging around on an old hosted SharePoint 2010 site. They are currently stored in their own Document Library called OneNote. One such notebook called SharePoint Bootcamp and when you drill into its current location you see the above structure.

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Because the SharePoint 2010 hosting service I was using didn’t include Office Online it meant that they only way I could see the contents of my notebook was to open and sync it with OneNote on the desktop as you see above.

All versions of SharePoint provide a great repository for OneNote files and allow them to be opened by multiple people and multiple devices and have them all in sync. Truly brilliant and if I hadn’t chosen to move away from SharePoint 2010 they could happily stay in place, working as they always did.

Now, the recommended process to move a notebook is laid out here:

Move a OneNote notebook that you’ve shared with others

It basically suggests you create a new notebook in the destination and copy the original sections over. That was just too much work for me so my approach was simply to change the source location of the notebook and have it sync to there.

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Now the challenge of moving a notebook to OneDrive consumer is that you need to go via an indirect method as you can’t simply use OneNote to complete the move.

The first step in my process was to login to my consumer OneDrive and create a new OneNote folder just to keep things tidy.

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Next, I went in and created a new blank OneNote notebook here from the New menu at the top of the page as shown above.

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After you have given your new notebook a name it will open in a browser like that shown above. Select the option in the middle at the top of the page, Open in OneNote.

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This will then open the notebook using OneNote on the desktop. Right mouse click on the name of the notebook in the top left and from the menu that appears select Properties as shown above.

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You should see the current location as being your OneDrive consumer. Select the Change Location button on the right.

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This should open a Windows File Explorer dialog as shown above. If you select the path box at the top of the page you should see the full path. Copy the full path to the clipboard and close the dialog as you are not going to change the location of this temporary notebook.

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Locate the notebook you wish to move in the desktop version of OneNote. Right mouse click on the name and select Properties from the menu that appears as before.

As you can see this notebook is located in hosted version of SharePoint. Select the Change Location button as before.

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Once again, the Windows File Explorer will launch. Paste the file location you copied previously at the top of the page. Make sure you remove the trailing temporary notebook name and only leave the folder structure i.e. from

https://d.docs.live.net/308d6e43c203741/OneNote/test

to

https://d.docs.live.net/308d6e43c203741/OneNote/

and press Enter.

Windows File Explorer should update the location as shown above. You should now see a folder for the temporary notebook you created. Simply press Enter to save the original notebook into this new location.

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Once the notebook has moved and synced to the new location, if you look in OneDrive consumer you should see two notebooks as shown above. The original temporary one (which you can now delete) and the second one you relocated from the original location (here SharePoint Bootcamp).

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The desktop version of OneNote will now sync the notebook to this new location in OneDrive consumer. This means you can return to the original SharePoint 2010 location and delete the source files.

The big benefits for me of moving notebooks into OneDrive consumer is that they are simple to sync on every device and that I can access them also directly from a web browser which I couldn’t before.

So in summary, you can simply move a OneNote notebook by changing its location via the notebook properties. Obtaining the location for OneDrive consumer can be a little tricky but as I have shown here it isn’t too difficult to find.

Office 365 planner

I was very excited to see Microsoft announce the Office 365 planner after rumours had abounded. You can read the Microsoft blog post here:

https://blogs.office.com/2015/09/22/introducing-office-365-planner/

Introducing Office 365 Planner 2

The reason I am excited (and should every IT Reseller) is that it offers yet another revenue stream opportunity. Why? It would be hard for me to find a I business that I deal with that doesn’t need some form of project management and need help doing just that.

Yes, you can do project management in SharePoint but SharePoint but be somewhat intimating for businesses still migrating from the old world of files and folders. A dedicated ‘planner’ app in Office 365 makes so much sense and open up so much opportunity.

What I also find interesting is the look as you can see from the above image taken from the Microsoft blog post. It looks very much like Delve, which I think is great. This is an indication of the direction Microsoft is heading with the whole Office 365 product. I wrote an article a while back about important I believe Delve is, which you can review here:

Delve should be the center of your Office 365 universe

Another point (and opportunity to note) is there is that every plan includes a OneNote notebook, much like Office 365 groups. I am a huge fan of OneNote and user it every day on every device I have. OneNote again is a huge opportunity got resellers to demonstrate how much productive customers can be if they start using OneNote in their business.

Although the Office 365 planner isn’t available yet, it will be soon along we a whole raft of updates and improvements. Office 365 just keeps getting better and better, for customers and resellers!