Microsoft OneNote is one of the best kept secrets of the Office productivity suite. Think of it as a digital version of your old-fashioned notebook. This application allows you to capture notes on a range of digital devices and keep them organised.

It also allows you to collate images, diagrams, audio, video and more besides. It integrates well with other programs in the Office suite such as the ability to add emails to OneNote pages simply by right-clicking the email and selecting the OneNote option.

So, whether you’re a newcomer or are already using this program, please consider the follow 5 top tips. We’re pretty sure you’ll see something here to boost your productivity and get yourself more organised in 2019.

Create Your To-Do Lists in a Jiffy

Many people start their day by making a list in their organiser or diary. You can start your daily to-do list in a new Note page. Select the Home ribbon. Click on To Do Tag in the tags box or use the shortcut key of CTRL+1.

Type your first task.  Hit Enter and then CTRL+1 to add succeeding items. As you complete your to-dos, you can check them off one by one.

Use Templates and Get off the Starting Blocks

When you begin using OneNote, it’s useful to understand the difference between Notebooks and Pages. Then once you’ve started organising your notes, you’ll find the various templates that can be applied to various pages very useful for increasing productivity.

Go to Insert and under Pages, expand Page Templates, then click on Page Templates…This will open a sidebar from which you can choose templates from various categories.

You can choose a template and set it as the default template for all pages, or customise a page and set it as a one-off template.

For the Visual – Doodle or Sketch Your Ideas

You’re probably used to doodling in your real world diary, so why should One Note be any different? As a digital equivalent, OneNote provides the Draw tab on the ribbon with many drawing tools to help you represent your ideas graphically. Just sketch out your notes, colour them and create a masterpiece.

Feel Like Writing on Paper?

Does a white sheet of paper make you feel more creative? Or maybe, it’s the soothing yellow of a legal pad? OneNote isn’t really about paper at all, but these simple choices can help you duplicate the feel of writing on the pad of your choice. Check out the View tab on the ribbon. Combining Page Colour and Rule Lines, you can create your own writing “environment”. You can even set the colour of the ruled lines.

Carry Your Notes with You

Note-taking is often a spur of the moment thing, so you’ll need to be ready to make notes at the drop of a hat. Using Android or iPhone apps, you can synchronise the notes you make on your phone to your desktop computer – text notes with pictures, business receipts, bulleted lists, checkboxes and much more.

Guard Your Privacy

OneNote uses the 3DES encryption standard to password protect the sections you wish to keep private. This feature is highly recommended if you are keeping any personal information like credit card info, passwords, legal documents etc. To set a password for a section, right-click the section tab and select Password Protect this Section.

Your section will be secured until you click and enter a password to unlock it. It will also be locked automatically after a period of time if you leave the section or leave your computer unattended.