Welcome Guest.   Make a donation to an author on the site July 22, 2014, 04:22:44 AM  *

Please login or register.
Or did you miss your validation email?


Login with username and password (forgot your password?)
Why not become a lifetime supporting member of the site with a one-time donation of any amount? Your donation entitles you to a ton of additional benefits, including access to exclusive discounts and downloads, the ability to enter monthly free software drawings, and a single non-expiring license key for all of our programs.


You must sign up here before you can post and access some areas of the site. Registration is totally free and confidential.
 
The N.A.N.Y. Challenge 2014! Download dozens of custom programs!
   
   Forum Home   Thread Marks Chat! Downloads Search Login Register  
Pages: [1] 2 3 Next   Go Down
  Reply  |  New Topic  |  Print  
Author Topic: Microsoft OneNote 2007  (Read 41947 times)
johnk
Charter Member
***
Posts: 245


View Profile Give some DonationCredits to this forum member
« on: May 31, 2007, 06:32:05 PM »

Basic Info

App NameMicrosoft OneNote 2007
App URLhttp://office.microsoft.com/onenote
App Version Reviewed2007 (v 2.0)
Test System SpecsWindows XP SP2
Supported OSesWindows XP with SP2, Vista, Windows Server 2003 with SP1, or later
Upgrade PolicyVersion licence. Upgrade price $79.95
Trial Version Available?Yes - 60-day limit - see product home page
Pricing SchemeStandalone price $99.95. Also included in various Microsoft Office editions.


Intro: It's the GUI, stupid: Long ago, I remember posting here about how we judge new programs. I recall saying that a new program had at most 10 minutes to leave a good impression or it was dead.

A memorable recent experience showed just how wrong I was. No program has as long as ten minutes to make its mark.

I needed a program to share databases with my wife. We were researching the property market, and we were also planning a holiday. We needed to share information efficiently, seamlessly. No more scraps of paper.

I showed my wife my favourite "information dump" - Ultra Recall (http://www.ultrarecall.com). A power user's program. Robust, scalable and can share databases on a network.

She took one look at the GUI and said no. She hated it. Folders, menus, panes. Old-fashioned. Complicated. Boring. Took her less than ten seconds to dismiss it.

I only had one other program that I thought might fit the bill. Another program I'm fond of. Microsoft OneNote. My wife took one look. I explained the interface (took about 30 seconds). She loved it. Within 30 minutes she was creating a shared notebook on our home server. And she didn't even know we had a server. We've been using OneNote ever since. And my opinion of it only gets better.

Microsoft-bashing has been an international sport for many years. And quite often, they deserve it. Outlook 2007, for example, is driving me nuts. Appallingly slow compared to the 2003 version.

But in OneNote, Microsoft show just what they can do when they listen to customers. It is a triumph, and one of the company's finest products.



Who is this app designed for:

People who need to collect and/or share information. If that's you, OneNote should be on your shortlist.

The Good

There is plenty of competition in this area. But the ease with which notebooks can be shared, the ease with which information can be collected, and the overall elegance of the product set OneNote apart.

The interface: Most people with an ounce of computer savvy will understand the OneNote GUI very quickly (see main screenshot). Notebooks down the left, sections of the selected notebook across the top, pages from the selected section down the right. Pages can also have sub-pages, if you feel the need. Neat, simple, and it works.

Shared notebooks: Use the shared notebooks wizard. Tell OneNote where to store the notebook (on a server, or your own PC). Done. Automatic synchronization. And always available, even when you're away from your network.

How does that work? OneNote always makes two copies of a notebook. In the case of a shared notebook, let's say the main one is on a server. OneNote will keep a second cached copy on your machine. When you log off the network, you continue to work on the cached copy (in fact, you're always working on the cached copy). When you get back on the network, OneNote syncs with the server copy. All seamless. Wonderful. The green sync button (see screenshot) tells you that all shared notebooks are synced with the cached copy. You can also see the green sync symbol on the shared notebooks on the left-hand side.

Adding content is easy. Firstly, OneNote adds a printer driver to your machine. So any program that prints can send information to OneNote. Want to do a screenshot straight into OneNote? Use the global hotkey (Windows+S), drag the mouse over the target, let go. That's it.

Then there's the "Side Note", available from the taskbar:



Just double click on this (or use a global hotkey) and a little window pops up. Paste anything you like into this, and a OneNote page is automatically created.

Or of course you can just type straight into OneNote pages. Pages are freeform. Click anywhere and start typing. Or drawing. Or writing. Or creating tables.

Every new note imported into OneNote from another program gets placed in the "Unfiled Notes" section (see main screenshot). From there you can just drag and drop pages into their relevant notebooks/sections.

Searching: Like Outlook 2007, OneNote uses Windows Desktop Search for indexing. But it also uses an OCR engine so that it indexes text in images as well. I was very sceptical about this, but I haven't managed to fool it yet. This means I'm using screenshots a lot, because it takes literally five seconds, it doesn't interfere with my work, and it's all searchable.

Plugins (or Powertoys in MS-speak): Loads of them. In some cases, they add what should be basic features in the main program (e.g. sorting pages). In others they add useful features such as one-click import from IE/Outlook to OneNote:



For more on plugins see links below.

I haven't even touched on the fancy stuff. (handwriting, audio notes). That's because I haven't used them, and I don't think many non-tablet users are likely to. I use it purely as a text and image information dump. You can tag notes, and tags are customisable. You can create a synced Outlook task from a note. You can send a note as an email, or publish it to PDF. There is power under the bonnet.

The needs improvement section

There are one or two silly annoyances. Sub-pages don't link (group) with pages (i.e. if you move the page, the sub-pages don't automatically move with it. What's going on there?).

Some basic features (such as sorting pages alphabetically) are missing from the main program. But as stated above, Powertoys are filling the gaps.

Why I think you should use this product

Most people who use a computer need an information dump. Because most of us waste far too much time searching for information we have already found in the past. Stick your data in OneNote (or Ultra Recall, or a similar program) and use the power of indexed search. Desktop search programs have made people lazy. Organise your data. Back it up regularly. Make it easy to share your data.

If OneNote came as part of your Office suite and you haven't tried it yet, then have a go. If not, you can download a trial version.

How does it compare to similar apps

I spent far too many weeks and months analysing programs in this category before settling on Ultra Recall as the best power-user's data dump (although I also like Surfulater (http://www.surfulater.com/), an excellent program that is still developing). But now that circumstance has forced me to use OneNote in anger, I really appreciate its elegance and simplicity. It's too early to say for certain, but I think OneNote may become my default data dump. It's that good.

Conclusions

OneNote 2007 is a fine achievement, and MS can be proud of it. The reason it stands out is because many programs in this category assume (correctly) that most people looking for a program like this are power users. So they cater only for power users. But MS are offering a powerful option that anyone can learn to use in half an hour. And for that reason alone it deserves success. Unlike Outlook 2007.

Links to other reviews and info about this application

A good blog by MS OneNote product manager: http://blogs.msdn.com/descapa/default.aspx

A good review: http://www.pcpro.co.uk/re.../100145/onenote-2007.html

Powertoys: http://www.onenotepowerto...m/list-of-powertoy-links/

« Last Edit: May 31, 2007, 08:54:38 PM by johnk » Logged
justice
Supporting Member
**
Posts: 1,885



Solve issues simply.

View Profile WWW Give some DonationCredits to this forum member
« Reply #1 on: May 31, 2007, 06:42:16 PM »

Great review. I never realised that OneNote had synchronisation capabilities!!! Now I really need to check it out, I guess I could make a shared notebook on USB and work in two locations and the changes would be merged? Never realised the potential for screenshots either, that would save so much typing!
Logged

Carol Haynes
Waffles for England (patent pending)
Global Moderator
*****
Posts: 7,952



see users location on a map View Profile WWW Give some DonationCredits to this forum member
« Reply #2 on: May 31, 2007, 07:10:42 PM »

Nice review - thanks.

Did you use (or anyone else) OneNote 2003? How have things changed in 2007?
Logged

johnk
Charter Member
***
Posts: 245


View Profile Give some DonationCredits to this forum member
« Reply #3 on: May 31, 2007, 07:32:26 PM »

Did you use (or anyone else) OneNote 2003? How have things changed in 2007?
Yes, Carol, I used 2003. For a v1.0 product, it was very good, and (unusually for MS) they released a service pack which was effectively a new version and really polished it.

There are plenty of changes in the 2007 version, but the one that really stands out is notebook sharing and automatic notebook sync. Very powerful, and it just works. There is also better integration with other Office programs, use of hyperlinks to other notes in a notebook (a powerful feature that I didn't get around to mentioning in the review), and inserting files directly into notes, which I find useful.

You can get more details on the changes here: http://office.microsoft.c...enote/HA100325701033.aspx
« Last Edit: May 31, 2007, 07:52:31 PM by johnk » Logged
Grorgy
Supporting Member
**
Posts: 820

see users location on a map View Profile Give some DonationCredits to this forum member
« Reply #4 on: May 31, 2007, 07:53:58 PM »

Great review, one thing, I've noticed a lot of people compare one note with evernote and was wondering if you had ever used evernote and why/how onenote is superior (if it is)

Cheers
Logged
johnk
Charter Member
***
Posts: 245


View Profile Give some DonationCredits to this forum member
« Reply #5 on: May 31, 2007, 08:13:35 PM »

Great review, one thing, I've noticed a lot of people compare one note with evernote and was wondering if you had ever used evernote and why/how onenote is superior (if it is)


Evernote was one of those programs that I tried and dismissed quickly. Can't remember why, I'm afraid. I tried so many similar programs, but they quickly slimmed down to a shortlist of three - OneNote, Surfulater and Ultra Recall. These struck me at the time as being head and shoulders ahead of the other contenders. Three programs I would trust with my data, and programs that would help me to be more efficient. And I don't have the energy to go back to other programs now. I'm sure I'm not the only member here who spends far too much time looking for programs that will save me time....
Logged
Grorgy
Supporting Member
**
Posts: 820

see users location on a map View Profile Give some DonationCredits to this forum member
« Reply #6 on: May 31, 2007, 08:21:33 PM »

Quote
I'm sure I'm not the only member here who spends far too much time looking for programs that will save me time....

 Grin  yeah there comes a point when you just have to get on and use what you got  lol
Logged
lanux128
Global Moderator
*****
Posts: 6,086



see users location on a map View Profile WWW Read user's biography. Give some DonationCredits to this forum member
« Reply #7 on: May 31, 2007, 09:09:45 PM »

fantastic review, johnk! it gives a whole new perspective on Microsoft's products.. also, the fact that your wife took to it instantly shows that there are good stuff coming from the Microsoft stable.. smiley
Logged

mouser
First Author
Administrator
*****
Posts: 33,157



see users location on a map View Profile WWW Read user's biography. Give some DonationCredits to this forum member
« Reply #8 on: May 31, 2007, 09:15:25 PM »

Great review.  It's also shows why depending on how you come at a program, sometimes some features are more important than others, and depending on how you are going to use a program, you might prefer one kind of interface over another.
Logged
mouser
First Author
Administrator
*****
Posts: 33,157



see users location on a map View Profile WWW Read user's biography. Give some DonationCredits to this forum member
« Reply #9 on: May 31, 2007, 09:16:16 PM »

ps. i know you guys+gals don't need me to remind you that when someone writes a mini-review you like, send them a credit, or even 0.50 credits, just to say thanks smiley
Logged
tomos
Charter Member
***
Posts: 8,325



see users location on a map View Profile WWW Give some DonationCredits to this forum member
« Reply #10 on: June 01, 2007, 02:07:53 AM »

great review John!

Quote
You can tag notes, and tags are customisable. You can create a synced Outlook task from a note. You can send a note as an email, or publish it to PDF. There is power under the bonnet.

is tagging easy -
i.e. can you use shortcuts in particular - & is it easy then to display only stuff with XXX or YYY Tag

Does tagging work across various "Notebooks" or is it limited?

thanks,
tom
Logged

Tom
zridling
Friend of the Site
Charter Member
***
Posts: 3,289


Linux captive

see users location on a map View Profile WWW Read user's biography. Give some DonationCredits to this forum member
« Reply #11 on: June 01, 2007, 02:29:37 AM »

John, I would add that one poor "feature" of the 2007 version is the autosave function. When using it in conjunction with the clipboard it can wreak havoc and lead to saving unintended mistakes. Microsoft does not explain their autosave feature in the Help file, so it's disconcerting for new users. Also, if you cut and OneNote fails to paste in another app, when you return to OneNote, the data you "cut" is gone (unless you revert to your last 24-hour backup file). There is no way to undo it, especially if you move to any other page inside OneNote, since it creates a different Undo stack for every page. Use the copy command instead. Cutting something in OneNote is telling it you don't want it anymore.

However, the liberating thing about OneNote (also check out Zoho Office Notebook app online which is a near clone) is that it provides a canvas for a mind-dump. I now use a text editor for the same purpose and while not as good, I could no longer trust Microsoft to "do the right thing" by its customers anymore (for example, mac folks love this app, but surprisingly, Microsoft does not offer a mac version!). Also, OneNote is the only new Office app that Microsoft has debuted in more than a decade. Thanks for the review!!
Logged

- zaine (on Google+)
Carol Haynes
Waffles for England (patent pending)
Global Moderator
*****
Posts: 7,952



see users location on a map View Profile WWW Give some DonationCredits to this forum member
« Reply #12 on: June 01, 2007, 03:42:14 AM »

You can get more details on the changes here: http://office.microsoft.c...enote/HA100325701033.aspx

Thanks, that is really useful.

The one thing I would like MS to do is remove the link for handwriting and the tablet PC. I understand why it is there but they are trying to sell product rather than support users. They must know that there are loads of other tablets out there that people use daily!
Logged

johnk
Charter Member
***
Posts: 245


View Profile Give some DonationCredits to this forum member
« Reply #13 on: June 01, 2007, 06:26:07 AM »

is tagging easy -
i.e. can you use shortcuts in particular - & is it easy then to display only stuff with XXX or YYY Tag

Does tagging work across various "Notebooks" or is it limited?

I don't think you can modify the built-in shortcuts for standard tags, although I may be wrong. If there is such a feature it's buried.

You filter by tags by selecting the "show all tagged notes" feature and then sorting tags by one of a number of options:

Logged
Jimdoria
Charter Member
***
Posts: 244


see users location on a map View Profile Give some DonationCredits to this forum member
« Reply #14 on: June 01, 2007, 07:41:54 AM »

Thanks for this review, John. I'd been considering writing it myself but you beat me to the punch. I downloaded the trial of OneNote 2003 and although I really liked it, I decided it wasn't quite what I wanted. When they released ON2007 I got the trial again, and almost immediately bought the program. I feel like they've gotten it just about perfect, at least by my criteria.

What has changed? In a word: TABLES! ON2003 didn't really handle them, but ON2007 has them, and although it's no Excel or even Word, I think the implementation is good enough. No support for tabular data was a deal-breaker for me in 2003.

Zaine, thanks for the note about the "cut doom" problem. I hadn't noticed that  - I mostly put stuff into ON, & haven't done really been taking stuff out yet. Autosave is definitely a double-edged sword, but one that I happen to like. Not having to press the "Save" button every few minutes is a leap in usability as far as I'm concerned.

Tags are in OneNote, but the implementation is a little weird. You can have as many tags as you want, but you can't create them on the fly by just typing in keywords (which to me is the "right" way to do tags.) Instead, there is a task pane and a toolbar that are used to manage tags.

A tag consists of a keyword(s) combined with an icon and optional formatting options such as "red background, yellow text, underlined." The icon appears in a toolbar, and clicking it will apply the tag to the currently selected item or the item where the cursor is currently positioned. The tag's icon then appears in the margin next to the tagged item, and any tag formatting is applied to the text. The up side to this approach is that tags are not page-based, they are more like paragraph-based, which lets you tag info at a pretty fine level of detail.

You can modify the built-in tags, as well as create new ones, re-order them, etc. Ordering is kind of important, as the first nine tags in your list automatically get assigned non-configurable hotkeys. There's no way that I can see to assign hotkeys to any other tags than the first nine. If you have too many tags to fit on the toolbar, you'll need to keep the task pane open to apply them. Another task pane lets you view all the items in the notebook grouped by tag.

I always liked the free-form nature of OneNote and the ability to effortlessly mix and match different types of content on a single page. Although this is still not as seamless as it could be, and there is occasionally some funkiness when trying to combine text and graphics, I think OneNote does this more successfully than any of the other PIMs I've looked at.

I also find the ability to integrate OneNote to-do items with Outlook Tasks surprisingly useful. OneNote's linking capabilities are pretty terrific, too. I even have a shortcut on my desktop that links directly to a frequently-used OneNote page.
« Last Edit: June 01, 2007, 08:02:50 AM by Jimdoria » Logged

- Jimdoria ~@>@

There are two kinds of people in the world: Those who divide everybody into two kinds of people, and those who don't.
kiwi2b
Charter Member
***
Posts: 31


View Profile Give some DonationCredits to this forum member
« Reply #15 on: June 01, 2007, 07:43:16 AM »

I'll just add a plug here for using OneNote on a Tablet PC.
I save heaps of internet pages and emails, send them to OneNote, then write (scrawl!) all over them to let me know in the future why I thought they were important. Then I can pick up where I left off. As my writing is searchable, I can even find where I left off.
Tablet PCs are pricey and I doubted if I would pay the premium again. Now I know I would.
Logged
s2h
Supporting Member
**
Posts: 13

View Profile Give some DonationCredits to this forum member
« Reply #16 on: June 01, 2007, 02:41:38 PM »

Great review, one thing, I've noticed a lot of people compare one note with evernote and was wondering if you had ever used evernote and why/how onenote is superior (if it is)

Cheers

Never tried onenote but a bunch of us at work use Evernote all the time.  Such much in fact that we have all retired our daily work journals for it.  I like the fact that there is a pendrive version with auto-sync so I can take my notes with me even without my laptop.  The AIR feature is also cool so I can search for text in images.

Maybe I will give the onenote demo a try.
Logged
cnewtonne
Honorary Member
**
Posts: 115

View Profile Give some DonationCredits to this forum member
« Reply #17 on: June 02, 2007, 12:15:11 AM »

this is piece of art is truly impressive. I have test drove both 03 and 07. There is not entity on earth that can dedicate so much resources, brains, dollars, people on development as does this company. Not only they create the software itself, but they actually develop the tools that developed it and the OS that it runs on. I could never, however, fit my working style and efficiencies into ON. The whole theme of using sections, pages, and subpages is just too restricting for me. Also, the fact that it only integrates with the same company's products is not good for me. I may us one product made by this company, but this is no reason for them to ask for more.
Any way, seeing ON in action on MSLive was fun experience. Thanks for sharing.
Logged
urlwolf
Charter Member
***
Posts: 1,784



see users location on a map View Profile Give some DonationCredits to this forum member
« Reply #18 on: June 02, 2007, 07:08:02 AM »

I use oneNote everyday, and love it.
However, I'm starting to get concerned about vendor lockin.
I used to have a big text file to scratch ideas, now I have a proprietary file format that makes me nervous.
Logged
justice
Supporting Member
**
Posts: 1,885



Solve issues simply.

View Profile WWW Give some DonationCredits to this forum member
« Reply #19 on: June 02, 2007, 09:53:39 AM »

You can print notebooks to PDFs with a free pdf printer and then read out the data in OpenOffice (edit: not possible) and convert them to any data you like, right? I've not tested that but it should be possible. or export to webpage and word documents.
« Last Edit: June 02, 2007, 07:37:24 PM by justice » Logged

urlwolf
Charter Member
***
Posts: 1,784



see users location on a map View Profile Give some DonationCredits to this forum member
« Reply #20 on: June 02, 2007, 03:08:18 PM »

Now, How difficult would it be to have a clone of oneNote under linux?
Maybe by openOffice?

Zaine, I'm sure you have been looking for a replacement for onenote if you moved to linux. Or are you happy with just text files now?
Logged
urlwolf
Charter Member
***
Posts: 1,784



see users location on a map View Profile Give some DonationCredits to this forum member
« Reply #21 on: June 02, 2007, 03:11:36 PM »

Actually, Zaine, if you could document your transition (and what programs you are suplanting with what programs in linux) here at DC, that'd be great.
Logged
urlwolf
Charter Member
***
Posts: 1,784



see users location on a map View Profile Give some DonationCredits to this forum member
« Reply #22 on: June 02, 2007, 03:12:42 PM »

See:
http://www.paulgraham.com/microsoft.html
http://www.paulgraham.com/cliffsnotes.html
Logged
johnk
Charter Member
***
Posts: 245


View Profile Give some DonationCredits to this forum member
« Reply #23 on: June 02, 2007, 06:16:40 PM »

urlwolf,

I'm not sure the world needs another "is Microsoft good or bad" discussion. As I said in my review, Microsoft-bashing is a popular hobby, and many people will refuse to use their apps no matter how good they might be. Truth is, XP isn't a bad general purpose home-user OS. OneNote is a good program.

Yes, OneNote has limited export capabilities (you can export pages/sections/notebooks to PDF/XPS/MHT/DOC/DOCX as appropriate). Yes, still a heavy MS bias. Some bad old Microsoft habits die hard.

I take a pragmatic view of these things, having used computers in the workplace for the best part of 20 years, and often working in proprietary formats. Most data becomes irrelevant over time, be that days, weeks, months or years. We all make judgments about these things every day. Data you know you'll need forever, or might need long-term, your store accordingly in an appropriate app. Very little data most of us generate falls in that category. Regular housekeeping should expunge data you don't need. The vast majority of the data I have in OneNote at the moment will cease to matter within a few months.

Computers have encouraged the "we should keep everything, just in case" school of thought, and the logic is plausible. Hard discs are cheap. But really, it's the equivalent of the guy who keeps several decades worth of old newspapers in the attic, just because they contain information that might be useful one day. In the end, it's just silly and dangerous.

I'm rambling.  All I really wanted to say was; don't be put off using the best app for the purpose just because of export issues; choose apps based on the type of data (and short/medium/long-term value of that data).

Basically I'm an old-fashioned plain text kind of guy. But I can see real value in apps like OneNote for efficiently storing data with a short to medium term life.
Logged
edbro
Charter Member
***
Posts: 425

see users location on a map View Profile Give some DonationCredits to this forum member
« Reply #24 on: June 02, 2007, 07:23:02 PM »

You can print notebooks to PDFs with a free pdf printer and then read out the data in OpenOffice and convert them to any data you like, right? I've not tested that but it should be possible. or export to webpage and word documents.
Are you saying that OpenOffice will open a PDF and make it editable? Not sure what you mean by "read out the data in OO".
Logged
Pages: [1] 2 3 Next   Go Up
  Reply  |  New Topic  |  Print  
 
Jump to:  
   Forum Home   Thread Marks Chat! Downloads Search Login Register  

DonationCoder.com | About Us
DonationCoder.com Forum | Powered by SMF
[ Page time: 0.061s | Server load: 0.07 ]