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OneNote, the focus of this book, is a powerful note-taking program. OneNote allows you to type your notes or use your Tablet PC's pen to write your notes. Through features such as Note Flags, highlighting, and collaboration with other applications, OneNote can help you with organizing your notes for business, school, or home.

I've been using OneNote since it was first introduced in the Office beta program. I don't just use it to write about it; I use it in my everyday work. This book was written as my company was going through a major software upgrade project. Throughout the project I used OneNote to keep myself organized. After reading this book, I hope you'll find OneNote as valuable as I do.

How This Book Helps You Learn OneNote

All this power doesn't do you much good if you don't know how to use it. The Absolute Beginner's Guide to Microsoft Office OneNote 2003 is truly designed for the OneNote novice. If you've never even installed the program, or if you've fiddled around with it a little and want to learn more, this book can help. Even though you don't need any previous OneNote experience, this book does assume that you have some basic computer knowledge. You should be familiar with opening and closing files, using the mouse, and have some basic experience browsing the Internet.

You begin by learning the basic building blocks of OneNote. You'll learn the difference between pages, sections, and folders, as well as learn how to create detailed outlines and to-do lists. Finally, I'll give you some detailed examples of how to use OneNote in the real world.

How This Book Is Organized

This book is organized into five parts. Each part builds on the previous part. The Absolute Beginner's Guide to Microsoft Office OneNote 2003 can be used in two different ways. You can use it as a total learning tool and read each chapter in order, or you can use it as a reference book, jumping directly to the chapter you need. While some chapters might need more review than others, each chapter provides information you can use in later chapters. Chapter 5 is the one exception. It's designed for Tablet PC users and covers how to use the Tablet PC's pen within OneNote. If you don't have a Tablet PC, you can skip that chapter.

Part 1, “Learning to Take Notes”

Before you can work with OneNote, you must understand the various components of the application. You'll learn how to take your first note, and just a little about organizing the information within your notes.

Part 2, “Taking Your First Notes”

If you're using OneNote on a Tablet PC, you can take advantage of the special features of the pen to make your note taking easier. From changing ink colors and highlighting to drawing diagrams and other objects within your notes, your tablet's pen can enhance your note-taking experience.

Part 3, “Managing and Printing Your OneNote Files”

Like any notebook or filing system, when you compile more than a page or two of information, you're bound to need some way of organizing that information. The chapters within this part are designed to help you open, save, move, and organize the various pages, sections, and folders within OneNote.

Part 4, “Organizing Information Within Pages”

Each OneNote page has several components of its own. This part will help you manipulate the notes you take by adding bulleted lists, numbers, Note Flags, and highlighting. You'll also learn how to add sound and pictures to your notes.

Part 5, “Going Further with OneNote”

This part explores the integration between OneNote and other applications. You'll learn how to share information with others through email and SharePoint Team Services, as well as see examples of OneNote in action in a variety of situations.


This book contains several appendixes that cover topics such as installing OneNote, getting help with OneNote, and the various keyboard shortcuts you can use in OneNote.

Conventions Used in This Book

Each chapter in the book begins with a bulleted list of “In This Chapter” highlights that outline what you're about to learn. At the end of each chapter, you'll find a summary of key concepts that were covered within the chapter in “The Absolute Minimum.”

In addition, there are three different types of special information that appear throughout the book. Notes provide more in-depth information about a particular topic, tips help you perform a process more efficiently, and cautions identify potential problems.

A note provides some in-depth information about a topic. You can safely skip the information in notes while you're learning OneNote.


Tips provide helpful information that can save you time while you work.


Cautions identify potential problems you want to avoid while working with OneNote.

Final Thoughts

I hope you find this book helpful and enjoyable. If you have any suggestions, comments, or questions, email me at patricia@mvps.org. I will do my best to respond to all emails I receive.

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