When Having OneNote Is Not A Good Idea

Technorati Tags: Microsoft, OneNote, Office, Tips, SharePoint, Backup

Since coming to Microsoft from academia, one of greatest products that no one in academia knows about is OneNote.  I'm sure I'll be getting emails for the product teams saying how I'm an ignorant fool and that Microsoft has sold millions of licenses and they're probably right, but for a product who's end-user usage is second only to Outlook, I never heard of it...but I digress.

OneNote is fantastic because it allows you to take very unstructured notes digitally while allowing for amazing search capabilities.  I don't want to go into a huge OneNote "rah rah rah," that will come later in my multi-part OneNote series in the next few weeks but for now I thought I'd share a small story.  As great as OneNote is, most people aren't aware about the fantastic integration with SharePoint.

I'll start with how after moving to the UK domain from the US domain, my computer installation went to shit.  Nothing worked and basically I needed to backup up.  I knew that when backing up, I was not planning on doing a full restore, but rather pull the content I needed and keep the machine as "clean" as possible *never had to worry about that on my mac...* .  I had invested very heavily in my OneNote notebooks covering an array of topics from corporate initiatives to team projects and goals.  I didn't want to reintegrate these files manually during a system restore.  Furthermore, as easy as it was to restore it, I felt that the information I had in OneNote should be shared with my team so I decided to convert my notebooks to shared resources.

I did this by changing the network path to my Microsoft SharePoint site on our corporate network.  It doesn't have to be SharePoint though, it can be any network share.  By right-clicking on notebook "properties"  I setup a seamless sync service with my Microsoft SharePoint portal. 

image   **right-click on your notebooks in the left-side toolbar

image  **Name your Display Name and set location to your network shareimage     **My SharePoint site via web-browser

Don't worry about adding additional folder hierarchy, it will simply pull naming information from your notes and "Display name."  Now when my colleagues visit my SharePoint portal, then will be able to access my up-to-date resources and notes as if they were their notes!  It even created a table of contents for all my sub-sections and shows location information on embedded OneNote recordings. 

image image

 For you Microsoft FTE's who read this, just set your location to http://my/sites/ [alias] /Shared Documents but make sure you are on CORPNET.

I placed each notebook specifically in the "Shared Documents" space so that my colleagues could access and contribute to my reference materials anytime they wanted.  VOILA! sync' d notebook and worry-free backups.  So remember, it's never a good idea to only keep your work or project notes on your machine, that's like using POP3 when you have a full-fledged Exchange.  If you have a corporate share, USE IT!  Just don't mix-up your personal notes with your "SQL DB Roll-out" notes...no one needs to know that you need to pick up some chocolates and roses so that you can finally get lucky on your anniversary.  --VT