Microsoft OneNote Tips

Microsoft OneNote Tips

Five Microsoft OneNote Tips to convince you to use OneNote.

Microsoft OneNote Tips

Is OneNote the best software Microsoft has ever produced?

A bold question, but I truly think that a cross-platform app that is the perfect companion to your tablet or smartphone and then seamlessly syncs that information back to desktop software and a web app rates high praise.

OneNote is my ‘killer’ app on the iPhone, I use it for many, many tasks. Any information I need to carry with me goes into OneNote:

  • Meeting notes
  • Site visit photographs
  • Hand written maps, diagrams and notes
  • Scanned documents
  • Notes and photos of whiteboards from seminars and courses
  • Booking details for travel and accommodation
  • Expenses
  • Web pages I want for reference
  • Cuttings from newspapers and magazines
  • Encrypted copies of car documents, insurances, passports etc
  • Holiday “to do” lists with links to the web sites
  • PDF documentation I need easy access to
  • Photos of the family and my MX5!
    Etc, etc, etc…


My Top Five OneNote Tips

It was difficult to order my top five OneNote Tips – to be truthful these all rank as my number one.



I still use paper for many meetings. You cannot beat a four-colour ink pen and a sheet of paper for capturing information and thoughts from a meeting, quickly and unobtrusively. My problem was keeping track of the paper. Now, after the meeting, I simply photograph the pages and save them in a OneNote notebook using my iPhone. No more lost notes.



Most projects I get involved with usually involve many emails. I can save my emails (including any attachments) to pages in OneNote from inside Outlook using a simple “right hand click” command. But I process much of my email on my iPhone! Not a problem, Microsoft has an online tool, to put emails into my OneNote, if I forward the email to “”. Set it up for yourself here


Search and OCR

This is two points in one!

The key to storing large amounts of information in one place is how easily you can find what you need. OneNote has the obvious text search but it also searches images and handwritten notes, using excellent Optical Character Recognition software. I found the excerpt below by searching for “university”, showing that your handwriting does not need to be perfect for this too work.

OCR OneNote

OneNote as a scanner

Office Lens is Microsoft’s business camera app and it is included with OneNote. Using OneNote on my iPhone to take the first image below – the built in software produced the second “scanned” image.

OneNote Office Lens before

OneNote Office Lens after

… and then OneNote OCR’d the image so I could search it.


Keep a secret

Individual tabs (and the contained pages) in a notebook can be encrypted with a password. On my iPhone the finger print scanner can then unlock the encrypted tab – on other devices I just type in the password.

OneNote encryption

Unfortunately this encryption function is not supported by the Android app – although you can insert a password encrypted Word document in to a OneNote page and then open that.



This is point number six! You will have to come back for the second part of this article if you want to know more about I how I share my OneNote information.

Clive Catton
Technical Director

Microsoft OneNote and OneDrive are free for all platforms – just log in using your Microsoft account and download. To get the most out of OneNote you should not save your notebooks on your local PC, but let them be saved automatically into your OneDrive online storage. For the best functionality subscribe to Office 365.

For more information –



Clive is speaking at the Lincoln, Positive Networking event on Monday evening, 25th April, about ‘Technology Without Tears”. Here are the bullet points from his talk:

  •  It all starts with a strong password
  • Write it down?
  • Where does your information go?
  • Be secure!

If you would like to come along then please give me a call on 01522 797520 and I will get you booked in.


Secure Cloud Storage

Is DropBox secure?

There is a short story before I get to “Secure Cloud Storage”.

Today my appointments did not join up, which meant a two hour gap around midday. I had the choice to go from the north of the city to Branston and then back to the north of the city or to find somewhere to park up and do some work in the car. As it was a nice day parking up won.

I had a quote to work on and rather than edit it on my iPhone I set up my Lubuntu notebook to use the larger screen. The files I needed for the job are stored in our secure online storage, so I connected my netbook to the Internet using the phone’s personal hotspot – I have a huge data allowance which includes tethering so why not use it.

Secure Cloud Storage

securely working in the car (Photo of the Day – Clive’s Blog)

Secure Cloud Storage

So here is the answer to the question, I first posed – “Is DropBox secure?”

“Who knows?”

I am constantly asked when I am trying to sell our secure online data protection services, “Why should I pay when I can get online storage for free?”

So below are some of the reasons we use and sell online data storage and protection.

  • I cannot decide whether we store our vital company information online for reasons or protection or sharing – both I think are of equal importance to us. But whatever the reasons we use it I have to know our company secrets are safe and secure.
  • Protection – our information is safe and not dependent on any item of equipment working. The remote servers are also backed up and have built in redundancy to ensure the maximum availability.
  • We can share information wherever we are. It does require an Internet connection but one is usually available. As part of our company plan we have access to two other Internet connections if the main one into our office fails. One of them is a short drive away at another premises -‘allowing us to cope with most situations.
  • Our information is secure. A quick Internet search of any of the free online storage providers will provide many stories about their security shortfalls, many caused by staff either not knowing or not following simple company procedures. Our staff and the staff at the data centre are well trained and part of a small local team, so they are conscientious. People connected with our service do not have the option to store your usernames and passwords in Word documents that someone else can then steal.
  • Our data is stored in the Uk and subject to UK regulations. If you really wanted to you could go and put your hand on the rack containing the equipment where your data is stored (encrypted and unavailable to anyone who simply stole the equipment.
  • The servers use certificate security and require you to have secure passwords. We advise clients to use unique passwords for this service so if your Facebook password is compromised then your data is safe.
  • Using our secure cloud storage your username is not your publicly know email address.
  • It is green – using a remote data centre reduces our carbon footprint as we no longer have a server running 24/7 but are securely sharing the server with many others.
  • We use the service – unlike many companies who will sell you online storage but still use in house servers themselves.

These are just the highlights of our secure online storage – if you operate in ir near Lincolnshire and would like to know more please contact me via the Octagon Technology web site.

Super NAS Drives

The other day I installed a NAS drive at one of our clients who runs a farm. It is the first of a new product which we are using now as our standard. This device has the capability of Web services such as email and even WordPress. We can configure it to run as your own web-server.

This device also has the ability to back itself up and sends you an email to tell you when it has done.

These devices are great for small companies who don’t want the expense of a huge server. They have a capacity that is not to be sniffed at. Up to 6TB which is actually 3TB split in to 2 as one drive is a replica of the other for that extra security.