OneNote is, for a lot of fans, the best application that Microsoft makes, especially in an educational setting. About 18 months ago, it was announced that the venerable and extensible (especially if you’re a OneTastic / OneCalendar user) desktop version was being put out to pasture, in favour of the more modern, erm, Modern version.
Office 2019 was no longer going to ship with OneNote – the desktop app was not being developed beyond OneNote 2016, but it would still be freely installable if desired.
Efforts would be focussed on the Modern / Store / “OneNote for Windows 10”, which shares a lineage with the mobile apps; there’s a lot to be said in favour of this strategy, since it would bring the UX of the Windows Store, tablet, phone and web apps into alignment. For regular ToW readers, this has been covered ad nauseam.
Well, blow me down, a brilliant Ignite session from @Ben Hodes only went and wound the clock back (and simultaneously painted it forward)… [Check out Union Jack Man at 42:18 in the video stream if you want a laugh]
OneNote 2016 is getting some CPR, and will be installed by default with clean Office setups again, early in 2020.
Point of clarity – a clean Office2019 / Office 365 install doesn’t currently include OneNote 2016 … but upgrading from an existing Office install that already had OneNote, does. If need be, go to http://aka.ms/installonenote to install OneNote 2016.
Some new features are coming, too – like Dark Mode, @mentions, To Do integration and more. The OneNote for Windows 10 code base is being back-ported to the older Win32 version; in time, the same underlying code will exist, even if there remains two versions of the product. It was previously reported that across the Office suite on Windows, the Win32 codebase will be favoured going forward, even though Modern versions were released for several of the traditional apps. We will have to wait and see.
Of course, lots of functionality exists in common between the two current versions of OneNote, even if the level of detail and the way to invoke and use it is a little different – take Record Audio, for example.
Did you know that if you insert an audio recording into your OneNote page, that any handwritten or typed notes you take while the recording is underway, will be linked to the corresponding place in the audio?
Later, if you click on a block of text or handwriting, you can play back the recording at just that point, or if you just start playing the audio, the notes you took will be highlighted as the playback progresses.
No such function appears to exist in the OneNote for Windows 10 app; maybe that’s a good thing. After all, OneNote 2016 only lets you turn it on after an ominous-sounding warning…
As has been covered repeatedly on previous ToWs, OneNote – for some people – is a life-blood app that is more heavily used than many others, and when people depend on it, they tend to care about it. And though there are a variety of addins and templates available for OneNote users to get more from the tool, the best addin is Onetastic, and has just been updated.
The version 3.0 of Onetastic introduces some subtle improvements to the OneCalendar function – possibly the most obviously useful part of Onetastic, as it shows a calendar view with a list of which pages were updated on each date, hot-linked so you can jump straight to each. If you have lots of different OneNote pages, sections, notebooks etc, then this can be absolutely invaluable.
The OneCalendar function is activated from the toolbar in OneNote, though you can create a shortcut to the separate executable if desired:
· Press WindowsKey+R and enter %appdata%\Onetastic
· Right-click on the OneCal.exe file and choose Create shortcut
· Rename the shortcut to just “OneCal”. Right-click it to Pin to Start if you like, or open the app and right-click on its Taskbar icon to Pin it there if you’re truly devoted
· Now, you can quickly start it by pressing WindowsKey+R and entering OneCal
· Or you can install just OneCalendar on its own, should you insist.
Anyway. Whether or not you want to do the above steps, you can still find some cool stuff in the new Macroland functionality within Onetastic. The author, @Omer Atay, has completely rewritten the macro language to make it more like a number of regular programming environments. There are hundreds of macros to carry out everything from minor text formatting to wholesale changes like colouring or changing sections of the notebook.
If you’re a OneNote user and you don’t have Onetastic installed, you’re missing out.
Now that Windows 10 is here, Whether you’ll be waiting for a new machine that comes with Windows 10, or whether you’ll be one of the millions that will upgrade, there’s lots to be thrilled about or to quietly look forward to, depending on your personal level of excitability.
If you’ve been running a preview version of Windows 10 then it may be best to install a clean build of the RTM, just to be sure there’s nothing left behind that might clog your machine up. Some say it’s probably best practice to wipe your PC every year or two, and reinstall only the stuff you need.
Fortunately, with OneDrive and Office365, reinstalling isn’t the major effort it used to be – with a huge mailbox, nobody should need PST files anymore and fret about whether they’re backed up properly. No need to worry about My Documents when OneDrive (on your home machine) can accommodate Terabytes of data, and OneDrive for Business (on your work PC) will sync all of your stuff too.
There are a few things that don’t automatically get sorted out – Outlook Signatures being a particular annoyance, though moving them into OneDrive has been covered in ToW #267. Another is the list of notebooks which OneNote is configured to open – you may be able to select from your commonly used notebooks when you start the desktop version of OneNote up, but wouldn’t it be nice to have a quick shortcut to where they’re all stored, to make it easy to find them again?
ToW regular contributor Stuart Leeks once again recommends a particularly neat trick, courtesy of the awesome OneTastic suite of extensions and addins to OneNote. OneTastic and OneCalendar come from the hand of Omer Atay, who’s part of the OneNote team but has built these tools on his own. There is form for home-grown extensions making it – more or less – into the product… maybe Omer’s product group will follow suit.
[Outlook Thread Compressor is long dead, btw; don’t bother trying to download it now]
Anyway, if you use OneNote in anything more than a cursory capacity, go to http://www.omeratay.com/onetastic/?r=download immediately and download the app.
OneTastic adds loads of functionality, including a macro language and the MacroLand repository of useful extra commands. One such downloadable is the List Notebooks macro which will generate a page at the current section, listing each of the notebooks you currently have open and with a hyperlink to reference the book directly. So when you rebuild your machine, even before reinstalling OneTastic, just click on each link to reopen the notebook.
The genesis of OneTastic was OneCalendar, an amazingly useful applet which shows you each page you’ve visited in OneNote arranged by date – so if you know you took notes on a call last week, you don’t need to navigate to the page or search for it… just go to OneCalendar, and the page will be listed on the day in question. If you’re using shared notebooks, then OneCalendar will even embolden pages that other people have updated – a feature which could be super-handy or super-annoying, depending on how collaborative your co-workers are.
If you use lots of notebooks, there’s a neat feature in OneCalendar, which might help – take a look in Settings and you can specify which notebooks OneCalendar will show you changes from – so you might want to restrict it to the less busy notebooks and all your own personal stuff, or maybe even get into the habit of turning some on & off when required.
There are lots of shortcut keys in OneCalendar, for the power user – CTRL and + / – will make the text larger & smaller, CTRL+ Left / Right arrow moves back and forth between days/weeks/months (depending on what level of zoom you’re viewing), CTRL+ 1 / 2 / 3 switches between the days/weeks/months, and CTRL+ S jumps to settings. CTRL+ 0 jumps to Today, and CTRL+ F lets you “find” so it will filter the view based on keywords.