Recently, we presented Microsoft's Windows Ink, which offers several capabilities. Despite that, it doesn't help us get more organized, or make use of a digital pen. OneNote, however, can help us with this, as it's not just a simple note-taking app. Windows OneNote is a useful organizing app, a powerful tool to convert our notes to digital ones, a mathematics genius, and much more.
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Table of Contents
What is OneNote and how to get it
Microsoft's app supports handwritten and digital notes, which we can share with others if we like. We can also draw, take screenshots, and record audio for our notes.
All of our files are automatically synced across devices, since it's available for Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, and the Web. We don't have to pay anything to get OneNote, unless we want to buy Office.
Windows OneNote's basics
OneNote's UI might slightly vary depending on the platform we are using it on. For example, the Windows Store version is quite different to the Office one, and the latter also has a few additional tools.
However, we are going to use the OneNote version from the Microsoft Store, since it's free and available to all users.
Notebooks, Sections, and Pages
The main feature of Windows OneNote is called "notebooks," and we can have as many of them as we wish.
Creating notebooks, sections, or pages, as we will further explain later, is done by the use of the buttons found at the lower left corner.
Apart from the notebooks, we can also create sections, which sort of work like the subjects from the classic notebooks.
In each section, we can create pages and subpages. We can also change a subpage to a page and vice versa.
Tags and Search
Since we already went through Windows OneNote's basics, it's time to see how we can find any notes we want at any given moment.
For starters, we can find any note we want through the side tree.
We can also find a note a bit faster by searching.
Meanwhile, we can add tags to store all of our notes on the home page. A list appears by tapping the arrow found in it.
There are very few options on Microsoft Store's version. Simultaneously, the only use is the symbol that appears next to the title.
We can use tags as search criteria, and in the Office version, we can create our own.
There are plenty of settings on Windows OneNote, and a few of them rather important.
For starters, we can choose if we want to auto-sync all of our notebooks, and also download images and files we have embedded in a page.
Moreover, we can choose the default font for our notes, among other options.
If we want, we can add a new account, or edit the current ones by clicking on "Accounts."
The most important part, though, is the "Trust Center." Here, we can forbid Microsoft from gathering "personal information" from us. Meanwhile, if, we can disallow Office from automatically connecting to other Microsoft services.
Microsoft gives us the ability to test new features. If we want to try those, we need to go to our settings, and enable the option "Enable Experimental Features."
Since this is an untested feature, enabling this option could result in a buggy app.
If we find ourselves in such an unfortunate position, we can disable the option. If we want to keep testing, we can re-enable it, and restart OneNote to give it another chance.
With OneNote, we can format our notes with the tools we have available in any text editor. That said, there are a few options that take the experience to another level.
In the notes we create on OneNote, we can import tables, files, images, hyperlinks, audio, stickers, and meeting details.
The tables are simple, and the functions are limited to choosing the size, writing, and automatic change of the cell size.
With the press of a button, we can instantly start recording sound. When we click on "stop," the resulting audio file is inserted in the note. We can replay it at any moment.
The "Meeting details" option syncs the meetings we have stored on our account.
We can insert and edit the rest of the elements as in every Office app.
In case we have a digital stylus, a touchscreen, or we want to take up the challenge of struggling to write anything readable with our mouse, Windows OneNote allows us to keep digital, handwritten notes.
In the "Draw" tab, we will find multiple tools with various color options, different textures, and sizes.
Furthermore, by enabling the setting "Ink to Shape," we can convert our ugly lines to shapes. Unless, of course, we use the premade shapes the program has to offer.
Meanwhile, "Lasso Select" is a tool we might come to find useful. It allows us to choose anything on the page and move it anywhere we wish.
We can choose a handwritten script with the lasso option, and then tap on "Ink to Text." As such, our ugly scribbles turn into perfectly readable text.
Technology keeps improving, and devices we once thought of as separate entities have gradually fused together. Windows OneNote has a calculator integrated within it, which can go as far as solving mathematical equations.
We write the equation we want, select it, and tap on "Math." The app will show an options menu on the right, with which we can choose for what constant we want to solve the equation.
Apart from the results, we can also see the steps needed to solve the equation.
Moreover, we can also create a 2D graph of our equation, which we can then add to our note.
Why use OneNote
OneNote is a relatively obscure and unpopular app among Microsoft's roster. There are several reasons why one might want to give it a chance, as it offers a wide array of features, and it's completely free of charge.
To conclude, it is compatible with every operating system and has a web version. It supports handwritten notes, multimedia insertion, and conversion of a handwritten script to digital writing.
All of our data is synced across devices, and it can also synchronize with our Outlook account.
Last but not least, what we consider to be one of its most impressive features, its mathematical abilities.
Microsoft actively develops Windows OneNote, and there's no shortage of new, experimental features either. If it keeps up with those updates, it will probably overtake other major note-taking apps before long.
It looks like Microsoft's note-taking app had a lot of aces up its sleeve. Do you think it's worth a shot? Did you expect this app could do so much? Did we miss any of the features it offers?
We'd love to hear your questions and opinions on OneNote in the comments down below.
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