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Using OneNote to present your ideas in meetings

Omeed Chandra is a Program Manager on the OneNote team. In this post, he shares tips and tricks for using OneNote for meetings and informal presentations.

Microsoft PowerPoint is a fantastic tool for creating polished presentations, but what if you just want to share some informal ideas with the other people in your meeting? Or perhaps you’re running a group brainstorming session and want everyone to be able to contribute their ideas? OneNote 2013 has several great features designed to make it easier to present and collaborate on ideas in a meeting. Let’s look at some of them!

Take notes on one screen while presenting on another

Did you know you can open multiple OneNote windows at the same time? Just open OneNote, click View, and choose New Window–or simply press Ctrl + M on your keyboard. You can even drag one window onto the projector for your meeting participants while keeping the other on your laptop for yourself.

Better yet, take advantage of the Full Page View feature to help your meeting attendees focus on your ideas without being distracted by all of OneNote’s menus and buttons–just click the double-headed arrow at the top right corner of any page in your notes. This works well with multiple OneNote windows; you can use OneNote in Full Page View on your projector, and simultaneously use another OneNote window in Normal View on your laptop so you’ll have all the editing commands available.

Figure 1: The red rectangles above show the buttons for opening an additional OneNote window and enabling Full Page View.

Figure 2: OneNote in Full Page View.

The wisdom of crowds: Let everyone participate in your meeting

One of OneNote’s coolest features is multiple people can edit the same page at the same time–something most other note-taking apps don’t let you do. For example, you can display your meeting agenda on the projector in OneNote and let the folks in your meeting add agenda items from their own laptops, tablets, or phones. This is also great for group brainstorming sessions; anyone in the meeting can add their ideas to the same page for all to see. OneNote even shows each person’s initials next to anything they add to the page, so you don’t have to wonder who added “Discuss the finer points of craft beer” to the meeting agenda. And anything new that was added since you last viewed the page is highlighted in light green, so it’s easy to keep up with what’s changed.

Figure 3: Multiple people can edit the same OneNote page at the same time, so your meeting attendees can easily contribute their own ideas or agenda items. Here, three sets of initials identify edits made by 3 different people; one of the edits happened since the last time the page was viewed, so it’s highlighted in light green.

If you’re running a meeting without a projector, a shared OneNote notebook is also a great way to help everyone follow along. You can use OneNote on virtually any device–we offer apps for Windows PCs, tablets, and smartphones, Android tablets and smartphones, iPhones, iPads, and even a web app for Mac users. No matter what devices your meeting attendees carry, they can use OneNote to view the notes you’re sharing with them.

To let people view or contribute to your notes in a meeting, all you have to do is share your notes with your friends or coworkers using SkyDrive or SharePoint. Just open a SkyDrive or SharePoint notebook in OneNote and click File, then Share, then choose Invite People, and follow the on-screen instructions to email your meeting attendees a link to the notebook so they can open it and start reading or editing.

Point out important ideas to your audience

Want to draw people’s attention to a particular part of your notes? OneNote’s Use Pen as Pointer feature lets you emphasize a specific point without carrying a laser pointer around. To use it, click Draw, then expand the pen gallery by clicking the downward-pointing arrow in the bottom right corner of the gallery. Now, click Pen Mode, then choose Use Pen as Pointer. (If you find yourself using this feature frequently, right-click Use Pen as Pointer and choose Add to Quick Access Toolbar to pin the command to the top of your OneNote window). When you enable Use Pen as Pointer, you can use your mouse, touchscreen, or your tablet’s pen to draw on the screen to attract your audience’s attention–and anything you draw will disappear after a couple of seconds, so you won’t permanently mess up your notes.

Figure 4: Above, the command to use your pen as a pointer to make temporary annotations on your notes. 

Figure 5: At left, the Use Pen as Pointer feature lets you scribble on your notes to draw attention to certain information, kind of like a virtual laser pointer. Your scribbles will automatically disappear after a few seconds (as shown at right), so your notes won’t get messed up.

Navigating through your notes quickly and easily

Splitting your notes across multiple pages can help you present them in a cleaner, more focused fashion. OneNote makes it easy to switch between consecutive pages using keyboard shortcuts; just press Ctrl + Page Up or Ctrl + Page Down to navigate to the previous or next pages in the current section.

Want to take organization to the next level? Create a table of contents pointing to the different pages you want to present. To add a link to your table of contents, type the text you want to use to describe it–for example, “Ideas for Physics Project”–then select that text, right-click the text, and choose Link. This opens the Link dialog, where you can choose the page you want to link to (in this example, the page containing your physics project ideas). Then, when you’re ready to discuss that topic in your meeting, just click your hyperlink and OneNote will open the page you selected!

Tell us what you think

Now that you know about some of OneNote 2013’s great features for presenting and collaborating on notes, try them out in your next meeting. We hope you’ll agree that OneNote is an excellent tool for meetings. Of course, we’re always looking for ways to improve OneNote for our customers–so if you have a suggestion for something we can do to make OneNote more useful in meetings, please let us know in the comments below!

Omeed Chandra


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