Why OneNote Is Difficult

SearchWhen I first started looking at OneNote as a tool for small organizations, I found it difficult. Not that the program was difficult to learn, but deciding how to apply it was difficult.

Then, as I wrote in my previous post, I finally understood OneNote better–it still is difficult!

In this post I will discuss why OneNote is difficult and why really it isn’t.

The Filing Cabinet Woes
OneNote is a digital filing cabinet. And that is why it is difficult.

Anyone who has designed a physical filing system will know that it is difficult. No two people will design the filing system the same way. When I studied how people actually used OneNote I was struck by the many different approaches they use. That is to be expected.

Filing cabinets are notorious for swallowing documents. “I can’t find that document, I know I filed it somewhere!” is a common lament. Did you file it under Annual Reports, or under Strategic Planning? That then results in desperate riffling through file folders and much frustration.

The OneNote Solution
OneNote is difficult exactly because we always try and design the ideal filing system. But there is no ideal system. What works under one set of circumstances, will be less ideal in others.

With OneNote there is no need to worry about getting it exactly right. Unlike with a physical filing cabinet, it is easy to rearrange things in OneNote once you have had some experience with the system you have designed and know better what you really need.

And that missing document? No need to riffle through file folders, OneNote has a powerful search functionality that will find the document in no time at all, no matter where you have misfiled or how you misnamed it.

Summary
OneNote is a powerful filing system of your electronic information. Because it is so full featured, it can be difficult to set it up at first, just like with any filing system. The search tools minimize the pain to find the missing document if you did not quite file it correctly.

Of course, if you are not using OneNote, you are stuck with having to take your office apart to find the missing document…

In upcoming posts we will look at how small businesses and organizations can put OneNote to use.