• May 4, 2020
  • by Sasha Weiman

Advanced Customization of your OneNote

OneNote Tips & Tricks – Part 3


Stefano: Hi, again. Stefano Walker from WBM marketing back with Sasha Weiman from our end user experience and technology enablement team. In this episode, we’re talking about advanced customization of your OneNote notebook. Here we’re getting into some of the real tricks and integration features. Sasha, I was already blown away by the last episode with automating some of the meeting tasks. How are you going to top that and take it up to the next level for us?

Sasha: It is pretty amazing. I started using OneNote about two and a half years ago when I joined the user experience team. If I wouldn’t have had this to log all of the user data and keep track of notes, I don’t know what I would’ve done. I’ve helped a lot of people shift from using writing in a paper notebook and using this instead. I’ll get into what helps shift people from writing on a piece of paper to potentially writing inside of OneNote in a little bit here.

I just want to talk about the ribbon up here. You can really customize your OneNote pages. It doesn’t have to look generic like this. I’ve got all of the same type of options that Word does. I have different headings that I can use. I can use different bullet points, different numbering systems, different fonts. Then I also have these things called tags. Inside of OneNote 2016, I love the ability to create custom tags. I’ve done this in the past. You can create a new tag. Let’s say you’re a part of a department and you want to name something accounting to-dos. If I make my custom display name, I can pick a symbol for it. I can put a person with an exclamation mark. I can change the font of the task. I can add a highlighter color to it if I want to. This really allows me to call out things inside of OneNote.

I’ll show you what I mean. You can go through the tags that are currently in there. You’ll have some different ones that are in here, like you already have a to-do checkbox, you have important, you have questions. You can modify and get rid of tags that you don’t want should you choose to. I’m just going to hit Okay. In a meeting, let’s say, for example, you’re taking action items and things that need to be done, vendor, plan party, those types of things. What you can do is you can use custom tags and you can call them out inside of OneNote. You can see I’ve outlined that. You can add a to-do tag, all those types of things.

What you can also do, and I find really cool for anyone who uses Outlook tasks, is write out your to-do and then you can integrate an Outlook task into it. I’ve created a task from the Outlook tasks field, I can select a date if I want to. In this scenario, I don’t have a requirement for a date so I’m going to select no date. When you do an Outlook task, it puts the symbol beside it. If I go into my Outlook, I can see that it’s now on the side here. It’s cool. You can go into the task. You can assign it out to people. You can add information into it. You can set a recurrence if you want to. You can set if it’s important or not. You can set your start date for the task and your end date for the task and it still exists inside of OneNote. If you are having a meeting the week after and you want to review if those to-dos were done or not, you would be able to reference this page and see. I’m going to right-click on that and mark it complete. If I go back to OneNote 2016, you can see it changed from a flag to a green checkmark letting me know that that task has been completed.

Another great thing is if you do start to have a lot of notebooks and a lot of pages and you start to use custom tags a lot, you have this option of finding tags. You get this tag summary field and you can choose what you want to group tags by. You can choose accounting to-dos, who was in attendance, no date, you can choose if you want to search across just one notebook or all notebooks. Then you can create a summary page. If you start to do a lot of custom tagging and action items, you can create a summary page. What it does is inside of the notebook you’re currently in, you can see that any tags that I’ve created show up here in the summary view.

One of the other things I really like inside of OneNote 2016 is the ability to create custom templates. In your insert screen, let’s add a new page. You have all these options, you can insert a table if you’d like to. You can insert a file printout or an attachment or a spreadsheet or a diagram from Vizio if you’d like. There’s no end to the options that you can do inside of here. There’s some videos that – some meetings that I recorded the audio for. That’s a handy thing. You can record video is you like. You can insert your date and time.

You also have this page templates option. I want to create a template. Maybe I have a specific WBM meeting template I want to use. Maybe our team has a specific process in our agenda where we write out certain things and I don’t want to have to repeat that every time we have a meeting. You can add a page and you have this page templates option in your insert tab. What I can do is I can go to page templates and then I have this whole list of all of these built in templates that I can use, for business, I have simple meeting notes, informal meeting notes, formal meeting notes. If I click this, it adjusts the page for me. You’ve got your opening, your approval of agenda. You’ve got these built in ones that you can choose or you can customize your own. I want to add in the WBM logo to this page. I can go to online pictures and I’m going to search for WBM technologies. I’m going to turn this creative comments off just so that it searches across everything and then I can see my company logo right here. I’m going to insert that so I can have my logo at the top. Maybe I want to have a section for meeting agenda. I can add in some custom bullets so I could do this. I can insert custom bullets. Maybe I want a section for action items. I can do the same time of bullet. There’s really no end to what you can do in here.

Once you’re all done and you’ve customized it to the way you would like it to look, you can go back to your page templates here and then you can save the current page as a template. You can name it so I can say WBM meetings. Then if I’m in a specific section, I can also set this to be the default new page whenever I hit new. If I do this and hit save, any time I hit a new page, it’s going to create that template for me. This can be really powerful if you have a specific type of process template you use, a specific type of meeting agenda you’d like to fill out, this is beneficial to have and it’s only within OneNote 2016 that you can use this.

Stefano: Fantastic, thanks again, Sasha. I wish I had done some of these things long ago. I would’ve saved myself so much time. Please join us for the next installment entitled Using your Stylus with OneNote. We’ll see you then.

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Sasha Weiman

Sasha Weiman

Sasha works as a Solutions Consultant and Office 365 Service Adoption Specialist on WBM’s End User Experience team. Having started out in Customer Care at WBM, she is passionate about working with users to understand how they work and what technical resources they feel could better enable them. She works closely with our clients to plan out the deployment of technical tools that users will not only adopt, but also continue to use to drive the organization forward into a more modern and mobile workplace.

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