Before we get to anything, let me say for the record that I have never used OneNote before and that I will be using it for a long time from now on. I really like this piece of software from Microsoft and they have done a tremendous job with this very powerful organizational tool. I personally would be using it to catalog and organize my scanned college notes.
For those who do not know, OneNote is a highly capable information collection and collaboration software. It is what it says it is a Note-taking program. In the truest sense, you can type anywhere you want just click a place where you wish to add your thoughts and type away. The Office ribbon does not obstruct anything and the entire screen is your playground. Select text and a translucent overlay of the formatting options will pop up and you can easily change the look and feel of your note.
One of the most useful feature for students is the ability to add mathematical equations. Just use the Math Input Panel in Windows 7 (which accepts pen-input on tablet PCs, by the way), insert and you’re good to go. You can also access the equation controls from the Office Ribbon.
The collaboration features are quite a lot and though I haven’t had the pleasure of collaborating via OneNote, I will in the future, in this semester!
Taking screenshots is very, very easy with OneNote as a notification area button. (i.e. with OneNote started). All you need to do is press the Windows-Key + S and a transparent overlay will appear over the screen you are on. Just select the amount of screen-space you want and release the mouse-key. OneNote will popup a small screen-clipping collection manager which can simplify everything else for you.
As a passive program, OneNote is a completely new experience (called link mode).
Double-click this and a completely blank and slightly yellow page will open (reminding you of sticky notes). Copy-paste anything from the web, a slideshow or your computer, and it will appear as it was with a small link telling you where it was taken from. Linking between notes is the same as linking between pages in a wiki. Just add [[Page Name]] and it will get linked automatically! Very simple and brilliant!
This is one of those absolutely fantastic applications that Microsoft manages to produce once in a while that keeps the market firmly in their hands. Kudos! More updates will be available as I use OneNote in the future.