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Posts Tagged ‘Microsoft Word’

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