4 more OneNote tips

By Byron Patrick, CPA/CITP, CGMA

Q. I enjoyed the OneNote introduction and tips in the November JofA. You won't forget to share the four additional tips in the December issue, will you?

A. Me forget? Perish the thought.

So what did we cover last month?

Oh yeah, I introduced you to OneNote and its various components, most notably:

  • Notebooks, which are essentially digital versions of paper notebooks.
  • Sections, which organize related notes much like dividers in a three-ring binder.
  • Pages, which are the actual notes.

The November article showed that opening the OneNote app automatically creates a new Notebook (as shown in the screenshot below) and that you can create a Section by simply clicking on the tab with a plus sign (+) on it. The article also covered four cool OneNote tips: using page templates, embedding screenshots, taking notes with different content types, and embedding a spreadsheet.

What else can you do with OneNote? Here are four more tips.


Send emails to OneNote

OneNote makes it easy to forward an email directly to your notebook. To set up emailing to OneNote, visit onenote.com/EmailToOneNote and follow the steps. Once you have completed the steps, forward emails to me@onenote.com and they will be automatically added to your OneNote, with all attachments. In our example, I added all email confirmations related to CPE to the related conference page. Below, you can see the email, with the CPE certificate attached.


Copy text from pictures

A useful feature of OneNote is the ability to extract text from images. This can be great for a quick and easy way to convert paper into digital text. Simply open OneNote on your phone, select a Page or create a new one, and choose your camera option. Once the picture syncs to OneDrive, you can extract the text from the image using the right-click menu. For those of you who like to take pictures of presentation slides, this could be a game-changer.

Enable multiperson editing

OneNote, like other Microsoft 365 applications, allows for multiple people to work in the same Page simultaneously. This is helpful in many situations, especially when attending a conference with a group of colleagues. This is actually a reason to create a separate Notebook, because OneNote only allows sharing of Notebooks. By creating a Notebook for your conference and sharing it with colleagues in attendance, you can crowdsource the notes.

Sharing is easy. When accessing the Notebook you want to share, click File > Share with People and enter the contacts you want to share with.


Organize your receipts

OneNote is a great tool for capturing receipts for expense reimbursements. If you aren't already using another tool for this, create a section in OneNote called "Receipts." Create a new Page for each month and take a picture of every receipt for that month on the same Page. At the end of the month, export the Page as a PDF, and your expense report is almost complete! An extra benefit of using OneNote for your receipts is they are now searchable.

OneNote is an extremely powerful tool that takes time and practice to get used to working with. Hopefully, these tips will help you to get started!

About the author

Byron Patrick, CPA/CITP, CGMA, is vice president of growth and success at Botkeeper.

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