Top 7 Productivity Tips for Microsoft OneNote in 2022

Office Today Team

How to become a OneNote ninja in a hybrid-working world

Microsoft Strategy
Top 7 Productivity Tips for Microsoft OneNote in 2022

The COVID-19 pandemic has upturned our productivity patterns like never before. We have found new ways to complete tasks faster and more efficiently, from flexible working hours to a growing reliance on digital tools. Yet, there is a downside — work hours go on longer, leading to unproductive parts of the day when we are available but not focused. Research has found that just 11% of UK employees managed to stay productive throughout their entire workday in 2021.

An easy way to address this partially is by rewiring how we use our work tools. Given that most employees rely heavily on digital devices and channels to complete tasks, this solution is low-hanging fruit for most of the workforce. The tool we will discuss today is one of the world’s most popular note-taking apps, Microsoft OneNote.

How Does Microsoft OneNote Aid Productivity?

Launched in 2003, Microsoft OneNote is a free-form note-taking and management software provided with the Windows operating system and select Office plans.

What started as a simple note app has become much more sophisticated. You can organise notes in several layers through sections, pages, and sheets. You can collate mixed media, from audio and video to images and entire embedded files. Introducing OneDrive took this a step further to enable shared note-taking capabilities.

All of this has a significant impact on productivity. OneNote can act as a reminder app, a daily planner, a work scheduler, and a memo tool in our personal lives. It makes it easier to organise upcoming activities, from Zoom parties to new book ideas. At work, OneNote opens up infinite collaboration and information gathering/sharing possibilities. It can be your centralised digital whiteboard where employees log in at a time of their convenience, jot down their thoughts and ideas, and everyone can stay on the same page to minimise miscommunication. OneNote reduces project errors, helps visualise concepts, and ensures note-makers meet targets.

It also works as multiple apps in one, so you don’t have to constantly switch between a calculator, a voice recorder, a digital whiteboard, a screen clipper, and Office tools throughout the day. You need to know a few handy productivity tips to use all these capabilities.

7 Productivity Tips for OneNote Users in 2022

Here are seven tips, tricks, and features that can help improve your work efficiency when using OneNote.

1. Use paragraph grippers

Microsoft OneNote allows you to type anywhere on the canvas, but that doesn’t mean the text is entirely unstructured. Note-takers can group consecutive lines into paragraphs. Each paragraph has a gripper for you to drag and drop, rearrange, and right-click for more options.

2. Organise notes using tags

OneNote tags allow you to mark specific page sections as part of a particular content category. For instance, users keep a section of the text as a to-do list, as necessary, as an idea, or as a definition. In 2021-2022, users will create custom tags to personalise the productivity experience further.

3. Import information from Excel

Since Microsoft OneNote closely integrates with Office, you can import existing data from Office apps like Microsoft Excel. Click on the Insert tab from the ribbon on top, choose a table, and select the Excel spreadsheet option to add Excel data as a table on OneNote.

4. Scan to OneNote using Lens

Microsoft Lens (formerly Office Lens) is a handy PDF scanner for your Android or iOS smartphone. It lets you take high-quality images of paper documents, whiteboards, business cards, etc., and import them to Microsoft apps like OneNote. You can even extract the text from images using Lens.

5. Convert ink to text

OneNote has a powerful ink-to-text capability to help convert freehand writing into structured information. This is particularly useful for OneNote users on tablet devices like Microsoft Surface or iPad. Select the handwritten text using the Lasso option under the Draw tab and choose ink-to-text.

6. Try OneNote’s in-app recording tool

One of the most overlooked features in OneNote is still incredibly relevant in the remote working environment. OneNote has a built-in audio recording capability that can help create an audio clip of your conference calls without leaving the app, installing an integration, or embedding anything.

7. Perform simple calculations

Like Google’s search function, OneNote can perform simple math equations like additions, subtractions, square roots, etc. It can even recognise dollar amounts so that you can use the app for your daily financials. Learn more about OneNote’s math capabilities here.

The Ultimate Productivity Hack: Turning OneNote into Your Team Wiki

To truly become a OneNote ninja in 2022, this is a productivity tip you cannot ignore. Since 2014, Microsoft has supported backend integration between OneNote and OneDrive, allowing users to sync the app with their OneNote account. This turns OneNote into a shared productivity space, where you can gradually build an information repository for your team through internal hyperlinking, mixed-media content, file embeds, and much more.

In other words, OneNote can be your team Wiki everyone turns to for their frequently asked queries. And all of this is achievable using a single notebook, while other notebooks fulfil different tasks and purposes.

In 2022, productivity tips like these will be crucial in the workplace. A survey by office solutions supplier Fellowes Brands of 6,000 employees in the UK and EU found a correlation between employee satisfaction and productivity. 69% said they want employers to invest in tools to help them create the presentations and documents they need to be productive. 77% want better organisation tools. OneNote is a vital enabler, and its potential has been ignored for several years despite being key to the Office productivity suite.

Microsoft has big plans for OneNote in 2022, as it intends to develop a unified app experience towards the middle of the year. These seven tips will give you a head-start and help maximise future launches.



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