OneNote 2010 Technical Preview: Hands-on Review

After installing the Office2010logoMicrosoft Office 2010 Technical Preview (msft), OneNote 2010 was the first application I fired up. While OneNote grew in popularity from Office 2003 to Office 2007, the impending release of OneNote 2010 is going to offer longtime users even more to like and, quite possibly, create some new fans.

This post is going to deep dive into some of the new enhancements you will enjoy when OneNote 2010 is publicly available.

Improved Ribbon. OneNote 2010 really benefits from the ribbon improvements in Office 2010. While the introduction of the Office ribbon drew some slings and arrows from long time Office users, the Office 2010 ribbon is greatly improved and smoothes over some of those rough edges.

Tagging. While previous OneNote versions always garnered praise for usability and organization options, OneNote 2010 adds tagging to the “Home” ribbon. You have the option to tag your important notes with predefined tags or ones you create yourself. This new option really complements the already strong organizational capabilities of OneNote notebooks.

Sharing Tools. OneNote gained its popularity as a note-taking and research tool. OneNote 2010 includes sharing tools to make it an even more effective for research, including the capability to email OneNote pages, support for multiple authors sharing notebooks, and page versioning. With OneNote 2010 due to be available in more editions of Microsoft Office, both geographically dispersed and traditional project teams should be able to take advantage of OneNote collaboration.

onenote_2010_sharingtools

Improved Drawing Tools. While I am a big OneNote user, I still rely on an old school yellow legal pad and pen for taking notes in meetings. The reason is that my work as a technical writer means I do a lot of drawing of process flow diagrams and such. The OneNote 2010 drawing tools offer the drawing options I need so I can finally leave my yellow legal pad and pen behind.

onenote_2010_drawingtools

Audio Tools. While you can’t escape client meetings, you now have the option to record meetings directly into OneNote (provided your laptop has a microphone) and then search through the audio files later.

Office Integration. When I first read the news about OneNote joining the Microsoft Office suite proper, my hope was for better OneNote/Office application integration: the upcoming Office 2010 is working to deliver on it. While I try to keep my expectations simple, I am already enjoying the Linked Notes feature, which enables you to keep notes on saved documents. There is also the capability to send OneNote pages directly to Microsoft Word. I was also excited to see the capability to attach documents to OneNote pages because I can see me using it to attach drafts, research and other project artifacts to keep my projects better organized.

Final Thoughts
While the Web Component of OneNote 2010 isn’t available for review yet, I see it as an addition could directly challenge Evernote and should drive innovation in the note-taking market. Additionally, just as Microsoft is bringing Outlook to OS X, expectations are going to rise that access to Microsoft needs to make OneNote available on the Mac.

OneNote 2010 is a standout in the Office 2010 Technical Preview and I look forward to seeing the final version.

Have you tried out OneNote 2010 Technical Preview?

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