How to use OneNote efficiently?

As a note taking software that debuted in 2003, OneNote has been updated and iterated for many years, with various versions emerging one after another. When Office 2019 was released, Microsoft even cut off the originally upgraded version of OneNote 2016 and replaced it with OneNote UWP, making friends who are not familiar with OneNote even more confused. As a member of the Office family, OneNote has always been less well-known than its brothers. Every time we talk about OneNote, everyone’s focus is always on its various bugs that have not been fixed for a century, which keeps those who want to try OneNote hesitant. As a student, I have been using OneNote to manage my knowledge base since I started college, and it has been two years now. Although I have suffered from numerous hardships and psychological games, I ultimately chose to stay.
In this article, I would like to share my methods of using OneNote and the process of breaking in with several common pitfalls. If you are still outside the main gate of OneNote or have exited several times after getting stuck, why not read on. Note: My devices for using OneNote are Windows laptops, iPads, and Android phones. This article only introduces the native features of OneNote. How did I meet OneNote? My obsession with electronic notes arose during my high school preparation period. At that time, I had a lot of paper notes, which were complex and difficult to find. I thought it would be great if I could manage them using electronic notes. After entering university, I began to try using note taking software for knowledge management. Impression Notes was the first note taking software I came into contact with, but I gave up using it because I wasn’t used to its limited hierarchical management. Slowly, I came into contact with various note taking software such as Weizhi Note and Youdao Cloud Note, but none of them were suitable for flexible recording forms in class, so I returned to paper note taking.
Later, when preparing for PAT, I needed a note taking software that could be freely annotated to record the questions and problem-solving process. Under this demand, I found OneNote. Through the detailed user manual, I suddenly realized that this is the true “electronic notebook”. The experience of using it in the classroom is completely different from other software, but it is infinitely close to paper notes. The flexible text boxes alone make it difficult for me to forget. Through continuous adaptation, OneNote became my most commonly used note taking software. At first glance, unveiling the mysterious veil of OneNote can be said to be “easy to use” compared to other note taking software that requires “learning”, because it is so much like paper notes – with simulated icons, clear hierarchical structures, and various paper styles. As electronic notes, they naturally have various advantages over paper notes. Of course, although the features are good, don’t be greedy. In this section, I will focus on introducing the basic functions of OneNote that I often use, which are good helpers for my daily learning
. A simple and clear hierarchical structure: easy to use, with almost zero learning costs. When using Zhizhi Notes and Impression Notes, I would first find a few others to share their usage, and then think about how to build my own note taking system within them. In OneNote, this step is almost non-existent. At the moment I opened it, from the icon of my physical notebook to the partition, page, and sub page, isn’t it the corresponding notebook sub chapter sub section in my physical notebook? So I hardly thought about how to build my own note taking system, and naturally created a notebook with the current course name, migrating it from paper notes. Flexible card notes are naturally effective for collecting knowledge points, but for systematic learning, knowledge often presents a hierarchical structure, making OneNote’s note taking system very suitable for learning a skill from start to finish. Therefore, if you are a student like me, the cost of getting started with taking notes using OneNote is negligible, and there is no need to think about “how to categorize” or “how to label”, just get started and use it. I will set up different notebooks for each subject, with chapters for each subject placed in the partition group. The page will be a small unit for each chapter, and further subdivided sections will be placed on sub pages. In this way, the knowledge of a course is managed at three levels, and there is generally no situation where the levels are not sufficient. Free and flexible text boxes, wandering through the boundaries of disorder and regularity. Every time I try to benefit my friends with OneNote, the first thing I mention is “free and flexible text boxes.”. This is a major feature of OneNote and a reason that many people find difficult to forget after using it. After all, in the early years, everyone may have heard the teacher’s admonition: “Don’t always work hard on notes, otherwise all your energy will be focused on notes. How can you listen to the class?”
In the era of paper notes, it may seem impossible to have both “neat notes” and “attentive listening”, but OneNote can achieve this by allowing your notes to be frantically explored on the edge of chaos, and then pulling everything back to the boundaries of regularity. When teachers give lectures, they always give detailed explanations of a certain word in a definition, but adding a long string of explanations in the middle of this definition can damage the overall structure of the notes. What should we do? In this scenario, if you are using OneNote, there is no need to panic at all. Swipe the mouse over the blank space, create a new text box to input explanatory text, and add an arrow to point back to the definition. A perfect note is easy to handle.

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