How to Use OneNote for Project Management
I recently outlined some key features of Microsoft’s digital note-taking application, OneNote.
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at using OneNote for project management.
You’ll see how to combine OneNote and Outlook, organize content with Tags, work in Microsoft Teams, and use Power Automate workflows to save time.
1. Work with Outlook and OneNote
Integrate OneNote with Outlook to organize tasks, meeting notes, and content in one place.
This ensures your team can access important information, for example, stakeholder feedback, at any time.
To get started, you’ll need to connect OneNote and Outlook.
Open Outlook, select ‘File’, and ‘Options’. Navigate to ‘Add-ins’ and select ‘COM Add-ins’ under Manage. Click ‘Go’.
Select ‘OneNote Notes about Outlook Items’ from the menu and finish by clicking ‘OK’. OneNote is now available within Outlook.
There are a few ways to use OneNote and Outlook to manage project meetings and tasks.
OneNote and Outlook: Store emails
Surface key information and keep everyone in the loop by adding emails to relevant project notebooks.
Open the relevant email and click the OneNote icon. Pick the relevant notebook and section.
The email is stored as a new page.
Likewise, you can share a page via email from OneNote.
Go to the required page and select ‘Home’ on the main ribbon. Choose ‘Email Page’ and compose your email as needed.
Using OneNote for Windows 10? You’ll need to save the email as a page by following these instructions
OneNote and Outlook: Create Tasks
Creating tasks in OneNote using Outlook is quite straightforward.
Firstly, create and save the task in Outlook. Open the task and add to OneNote by selecting the OneNote icon at the top of the Tasks Page.
Next, add the task to the relevant notebook section or page.
In this instance, I will add the new task ‘Project Charter Update’ to the ‘Weekly Tasks’ page of my notebook:
The task is now available in the project notebook.
I can add extra details, such as documents, tags, and links to the task to reference when completing the work.
Once finished, mark the task as complete to remove the item from your Outlook calendar.
OneNote and Outlook: Manage Meetings
Using OneNote to document project meetings is particularly helpful for remote team members who cannot attend a session due to time zone differences.
Firstly, schedule the meeting in Outlook.
Select ‘OneNote Meetings’ in the ribbon.
Next, click ‘Take Your Own Notes’ and choose the relevant page in OneNote.
The agenda, along with any additional information, is added to OneNote.
Track notes during the meeting and share with attendees using the ‘Email page’ option.
2. Create a To-do List
I regularly use the To-Do list feature in OneNote to track small items or ideas when I’m working on a project.
There are two ways to create a list.
Type a list of items and select ‘To do’ in the Tags tab on the Home ribbon.
This will add a checkbox to the selected item. Update tasks as needed.
Select ‘To do’ in the Tags tab on the Home ribbon to start a new list anywhere on your page.
3. Use Tags to Organize Content
Tags are a simple way to organize pages in OneNote allowing users to annotate their notes.
Tags, made up of a symbol and a text label, break a page into easy-to-consume sections.
OneNote for Windows 10 offers fewer tags.
Tagging content also helps when searching for tasks or notes.
Just hit ‘Find tags’ to find the tags used in a notebook, section, or page.
Search results are linked to the relevant page.
4. Collaborate in Microsoft Teams
Get more from Microsoft Teams by using OneNote to collaborate with remote team members.
You don’t even need to create a new Notebook – it’s automatically generated every time a new team is created in Microsoft Teams.
Add the Notebook as a tab to the relevant channel to make it easier to find.
Use the OneNote app in Teams to work with all of your Notebooks, categorized as Personal, Team, and Recent.
A few ways to leverage OneNote with Teams include:
- Use OneNote instead of the standard Teams wiki to record notes, training guides, feedback, and so on.
- Collaborate during video meetings with your team.
- Embed audio and video messages to share with remote team members for feedback and input.
- Use OneNote as a whiteboard during calls. The options in the ‘Draw’ tab are ideal for planning and brainstorm sessions.
5. Save time with Power Automate
Power Automate is based on pre-planned templates, including multiple options for OneNote.
Automating simple tasks, like creating a page in a Notebook before a meeting, is an easy way to save time during your day.
There you have it – five easy ways to use OneNote for project management.
When combined with the application’s collaboration capabilities, page templates, and content tools, OneNote becomes a very powerful resource for tracking tasks, documenting ideas, and working across teams.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in December 2016 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.