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Posts Tagged ‘Microsoft One Note’

OneNote as a Workshop Planning Tool

Workshop Outline

Recently, a client asked me to facilitate a Project Management workshop. As I started to think about planning the workshop, I realized the OneNote would be an excellent tool to help with the planning.

I already had an outline of the content that this one day workshop would cover so that was my starting point for setting up the OneNote notebook. I set up the notebook with several sections:

  • Major Topics
  • Labs (Hands-on exercises)
  • Handouts
  • Background and Resource Materials

Thinking about these sections, it seemed to me that they naturally fell into two major categories, suggesting that the notebook should consist of two sections:

  • Workshop
    • Major Topics
    • Labs (Hands-on exercises)
  • Materials
    • Handouts
    • Background and Resource Materials.

Now I had the basic structure for my workshop planning notebook. There was, however, one additional requirement for the notebook. Although I wasn’t collaborating with anyone else, I did want to be able to view and edit the notebook remotely. While I do most of this sort of work on a desktop computer, from time to time I also work away from home base, so to speak. Accessing the notebook remotely would allow me to review and update the workshop plan even if I were away from home.

OneNote offers a solution tailor made to my need. Rather than creating the notebook locally, I created a OneNote Web App on my SkyDrive. Once I had the notebook set up, I was able to link to it from my Android tablet using Microsoft’s OneNote Android App. Now I had the best of both worlds, ability to work with the notebook on my desktop computer exactly as if it were a local file, and ability to access the notebook anywhere I had WiFi or 4G service.

Remote access to OneNote offers a huge advantage over making manual notes and then updating the notebook later when I am back at home base. The notebook is always current with my latest changes. Making changes directly in the notebook instead of making paper notes that have to be transcribed later, saves time and effort.

OneNote is arguably one of the most versatile personal productivity tools in the Windows world. Using it as a workshop planning tool as I have described here if but one of a seemingly endless parade of possibilities. How you use OneNote to best advantage in your world is limited only by your imagination.

OneNote to the Rescue

imageI have long been an unabashed fan of Microsoft OneNote. I recently realized that OneNote could help streamline one of my routine tasks.

In one of my other lives, I edit and publish the weekly bulletin for my parish church. The pastor sends me an email with most of the information to be included in the current week’s bulletin. The organist sends me another email about music selections for the week and occasionally other parishioners email me additional material.

Putting the bulletin together is largely a matter of copying content from the emails and pasting it into Microsoft Publisher. Because I am copying one ‘story’ (announcement, notice, or hymn selection) at a time, I need to keep track of what I have already included in the bulletin and what is not yet included.

Space in the bulletin is limited to what will comfortably fit onto six 8-1/2 x 5-1/2 pages. That means that some items have to be omitted. Often these omitted items could be used within the next week or two, space permitting. So I need to efficiently track those items as well.

Along the way, I started using a reply copy of the pastor’s email so the I could apply Outlook’s highlighting tool to each item as I finished adding it to Publisher. So, I could look through the reply email for anything to make sure I hadn’t missed anything. After I put that week’s bulletin to bed, I simply discarded the reply email.

Enter OneNote. A few weeks ago, while working on the bulletin, I thought, “There has to be a better way to do this.” That’s when Outlook’s OneNote shortcut caught my attention and a new and improved solution was born.

Now when each email arrives I use the OneNote shortcut to send the email to OneNote as an unfiled note. I move each unfiled note to my Bulletin notebook and put it in the Raw Materials section.

The first thing I do when I start to work on the bulletin is copy the contents of each of the raw materials pages to a new page for the current week. With Publisher and the OneNote Bulletin notebook open side by side, I select (highlight) each item to copy and then paste into an appropriate place in the Publisher document.

Then, when I return to the notebook, before selecting the next story, I click the highlighter shortcut while the section I had just copied to the bulletin is still shaded. I repeat the process, item by item, until every story in the original email is highlighted.

When an item has to be omitted from the current bulletin because of limited space, I change the highlight colour and copy the item to an Unpublished page in the notebook. When space becomes available in a future bulletin, I can easily find and use an unpublished item without having to wade through old emails looking for them

OneNote has helped me streamline producing the bulletin, helping me to do a better job as editor and publisher, and reducing the time it takes to do the job.


Incidentally, if you would like to see the final product of this process, visit our website at