What to do with those OneNote notes after you take them

Jk_icon_100pixI live in OneNote 24/7 on my Tablet PC.  It’s the first program I fire up each morning, that’s in the event I even closed it the night before.  It’s the single biggest thing missing from the Mac experience and I don’t lament every single day that I don’t have it on the MacBook Pro.  I’ve used OneNote so extensively and for so long that I forget that it can be a complex program to the new user.  As a writer I can sympathize that there is nothing quite so daunting as a blank note page staring you in the face.  Reader Jose Mendiola of Palm Insider wrote me an email with some questions about OneNote worth sharing:

Thanks to your comments and suggestions, I am now a bigfun of taking notes during meetings with the Q1 and One Note. I have onequestion though, which I would appreciate you would treat at JKOTR or via email: what do you do with your notes after taking them??I know it’s a silly question but I am not sure if you would convert them intotext (not always easy), file them as a jpg, or store them on the native format.

Read on to view my response.

Jose, my work is largely project-oriented so I have a notebook for each client.  Each project then has its own section at the top of the OneNote page, with individual note pages in the tabs on the right.  I make sure that any given note gets moved to the appropriate project section right away, or better yet I am in the habit of creating it there in the first place.  That keeps me from having to do anything with the page later and insures my notes are filed with no effort on my part.

Your question about converting ink notes to text or image is a very good one.  One of the first mistakes I see new Tablet OneNote users make is to try to convert all ink notes to text.  I had the same impulse when I first started using OneNote but quickly found there is no need to do so.  As you pointed out, converting involves a lot of work because if you’re going to the trouble to convert the ink to text then you want to correct any recognition errors.  While OneNote is highly accurate recognition errors are unavoidable.

The fact is I don’t do anything with my ink notes, it’s not needed.  I rarely share my notes with others so my ink stays as my ink.  The OneNote search function uses the highly accurate Windows Desktop Search engine and since I can get my hands on any piece of information within seconds from anywhere in my notebooks there is no need to convert my ink.  When I finish a page of notes I am truly finished with it unless I search for something I noted.  Fast, clean and easy.

I use the Send to OneNote utility to get everything that comes my way into OneNote.  Since that printer driver inserts it into the note page as a graphic I can ink my own notes right over whatever is already there.  I do this so much that the OneNote printer driver is the default printer on my Tablet.