3 creative ways to use OneNote 2013

My wife and I just had a newborn son.  He’s a joy but one of the things I’m learning as a first time parent is that kids can really freggin’ immobilize you.  Press the pause button on your life because it’s about to be ruled by the tiniest, cutest king in the world. Your baby.

My son is inexplicably wonderful.  I love everything about him but one thing my wife and I have discovered is that we can’t get out of the house.  It’s like house arrest man.  We are fettered to this little guy.  Our daily ritual becomes cleaning bottles, washing clothes, rocking him to sleep, changing dirty diapers and trying to keep him happy.

1. One shopping list

If anyone tells you parenting isn’t hard work tell them to try having a kid of their own!

Anyway, the other day my wife needed some stuff from the grocery store so she rattled off a list of items.

Being the resourceful guy that I am, I thought I could memorize the list.

Fail!

That was stupid stupid stupid – instead I should have used the OneNote app to create a quick shopping list with checkboxes.  Then I could have literally checked off items as I put them in the cart.  This would have obviated the possibility of forgetting something.

All I had to do was create a new OneNote notebook on my iPhone

Create new OneNote Notebook in iOS8

and then use the checkboxes at the bottom of the screen to create a list.

Use OneNote to create a shopping list

By the way, don’t ask me what organic AA batteries are.  I just like saying “organic” because it makes me feel hip.

Everything auto saves to OneDrive and my entire OneNote universe aligns.  You can even get OneNote on your Android, Windows Phone (sorry Blackberry lovers; there’s no OneNote for you)

2. Copy text from picture

Take a picture of a book and use OneNote to yank the text from the photo.

Just touch the photo icon in the bottom left corner of the app to start snapping.

Camera App in OneNote iOS 8

Then back in OneNote Desktop, right click the pic and choose Copy Text from Picture from the quick menu.

Copy text from Picture, Image Credit from Murach's PHP and MySQL 2nd Edition.  Buy the book it's great

Bam! Instant transcription

Text copied from Picture, Image Credit from Murach's PHP and MySQL 2nd Edition.  Buy the book it's great

As you can see, OneNote does a pretty good job dumping the text from the photo.  You’ll have do neaten things up a little but all the raw content is there.

You can also use this technique for saving receipts, contracts, and invoices.

Tip: If you want to lock down some of your tabs, just right click the tab and choose Password Protect this Section.

3. Graphiti the Web

Annotate the Web with OneNote

OneNote is great for annotating webpages or recording little bits on various screenshots and presentations.

You can even convert your sloppy scratch work into text so you can search your marked up images.

Just click the Draw tab, and choose Ink to Text from the ribbon.  You’ll be surprised at how accurate it is.

Use OneNote to convert Ink to Text

The Bottom Line

OneNote is an unsung hero.  Most people don’t realize how much power they have with OneNote.  I’ve only tipped the full array of things you can use OneNote for.  I’ve read stories of people using it as a news reader and receipt book too.  What ways do you use OneNote that I should have mentioned?

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Posted in Smartphones, Smartphones, Windows, Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 8.1 Tagged with: , ,