Going Paperless: Use OneNote for Meeting Notes

One of the biggest paper pile-ups in offices is meeting notes and handouts. One of the easiest ways to reduce this pile-up is to start using Microsoft OneNote. Microsoft OneNote is part of the Microsoft Office suite and usually available on most computers. OneNote was designed as a meeting note application and does a great job of organizing meeting notes by type and date of meeting.

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Some of the features include:

  • It has 3 levels of hierarchy-1) a “notebook” ideally one notebook for each year 2) a “section” that is a tab at top that can be used to label all standing meetings and projects 3) and the “Pages” for the actual meeting notes.
  • It has a good integration with Outlook that allows users to export emails to OneNote for quick reference in a meeting. As well as identify tasks and move them in two clicks to Outlook tasks.
  • OneNote is also a mobile app and can sync notes to tablets, phone and any other computer. So take notes on your tablet and go back to your office and open OneNote and they are right there.
  • Great embed functionality of pictures, documents, audio or video files. No need to print handouts anymore, just embed them in the page of OneNote and you have all information about the meeting in one spot.
  • The ability to create custom tags and symbols to identify text and information. It is the electronic version of highlighting, circling, making a checkbox or underlining in handwritten notes. OneNote provides a long list of default tags and users can modify or create new tags depending on their own coding needs.

 

As with any application or new habit it takes a little time to get used to it. But once you do, you will be glad you did, especially for busy executives and managers who are often in back to back meetings. Microsoft has a good basic tutorial on OneNote to get users started.

Meeting and Note-Taking: Recommended Apps

Evernote has been the dominant app for meeting and note-taking. It has a streamlined interface and interacts with other programs such as Microsoft Outlook. There are competitors to Evernote recognizing that everyone needs a place to track meeting notes, tasks, ideas, recommendations and other pieces of information. Below are some other recommended applications for note-taking.

Google Keep is a simple platform to iStock_000007485287_Smalltake notes. Google Keep integrates with a user’s Google platform and notes can sync with Google Drive. Users can make unlimited lists, add photos and graphics to notes and also color code notes. Although the functionality for Google Keep is fairly basic, knowing Google it probably will get enhancements in the coming year.

Microsoft OneNote is part of the Microsoft Office suite and an alternative to Evernote. OneNote was specifically designed as a meeting note application and does a great job of organizing meeting notes by type and date of meeting. The integration with Outlook is also a key feature as it allows users to import emails and tasks between the applications. OneNote has an app and notes can sync to mobile devices. However, attached files such as Word, Excel or email documents may not open depending on your platform. The free version of OneNote is limited to 500 notes, with unlimited use available for $4.99 via an in-app purchase.

SpringPad is a free app that allows users to save ideas, notes, project tasks, photos, products, checklists and recommendations. SpringPad has a very nice visual interface that provides photos and images to note topics. It works with multiple device platforms.