Links to Individual Notes

Links to individual notes are said to have been by far the number one request for enhancement to OneNote 2003; and as I read the development traffic, I’m expecting to see that present in OneNote 2007. Along with links to external files and websites, the 2003 version permits links to entire notebooks and to sections within those notebooks, but not to pages, subpages, or notes within those notebooks.


Me too. Upon my latecomer’s arrival at the party on November 1, 2006, even without yet having read traffic on OneNote development, my business work is so intensely driven by non-linear links between different pieces of information that I was hardly a dozen notes into my first hour of work with OneNote before I knew of this critical OneNote 2003 shortcoming.


Except that quickly the rest of OneNote 2003 had so quickly emerged as a shot of caffeine straight into my work’s veins that I hardly paused, rather within minutes was moving forward again with one of a thousand workarounds that have long been intrinsic to the kind of pellmell workflow I’ve dealt with. Workarounds that I’ll be expecting OneNote 2007 to turn into straight killer app for me.


One of many illustrations of my workaround that I’ve shifted smoothly to during the mere two weeks I’ve been using OneNote 2003: the pension disclosures project I work on. Currently I maintain and analyze data on the pension plan disclosures made in the financial statements of some 1,100 companies. And if that brief background description doesn’t sound like much, try it yourself: pull the 10-Ks from the SEC website for a few companies and pull together an Excel workbook, a Word document report, a PowerPoint presentation, and assorted background items like task lists and managerial reports and all, and you’ll quickly see why there are only a handful of units like mine in the world who do this project. OK, so all along I know I’ve wanted something like OneNote, so in the ignorance that persisted until two weeks ago built up an elaborate internal system of bookmarks within all of the Word and Excel documents in the project. And since Excel can so easily manage those bookmarks, together with links to external pages like the 10-K websites, press reports, and the like, I already had a system that could easily be sorted and filtered pretty much at will. And although yes, OneNote 2003 is also deficient in its table capabilities, I didn’t need all that much: presto, before the end of my first day with OneNote 2003 on November 1, I had that project’s lists of over 100,000 bookmarks dumped into OneNote, from where I’ve been managing them all in the two weeks since, with a distinct improvement in the flow of the project. And so yes, although I’ll look forward more than most to being able to have links coming the other direction, back into a specific OneNote note or page or subpage, I can do OK during the next two weeks as is, without even holding any note or new material until then or worrying about wasting anything: as before, I continue to put my new notes and data into the existing Office 2003 products I’d been using, bookmark them as I’d been doing, then bring that bookmark back up into my OneNote pages, and for now at least that works “as if” I’d put that note in OneNote itself with full linking capability.


Same sermon I’ve preached these past two weeks since my late discovery of OneNote: Get OneNote 2007 the very minute it hits the streets. But don’t wait until then to start using the OneNote 2003 you already have now, even if it means you need to go out and get it now.


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