In the second part of Windows Phone 8 Office improvements (part one, here), we’re looking at OneNote Mobile – the best note-taking tool for your Nokia Lumia.
In Windows Phone 7.5, OneNote Mobile was located in the Office Hub. In Windows Phone 8, it’s been removed and given its own prime-location on the Start screen.
How many times have you been somewhere and needed to make a note of something? The name of the song that’s just played on the radio, the street name of the new coffee shop you’ve just found, or the premier date for the newest blockbuster movie you’ve just seen on a billboard. Whatever you want to make a quick note of, OneNote Mobile is your companion.
Tapping the OneNote Live Tile on the Start screen will show you all your OneNote notebooks. If you’ve used OneNote before, you’ll see any existing notes you’ve saved via SkyDrive. You’ll also see any shared notes that you’ve got access to using Windows Phone 8′s new Rooms feature.
Pressing the plus (+) symbol will take you straight into a new note, where you can add anything from simple text, to a to-do checkbox list, along with formatting if you want to add any.
If you want to add richer content to your note, you can insert audio clips by pressing the microphone button, or adding in photos either from your Pictures Hub or by taking a new one, by selecting the photo icon.
Photos can also be added right from the camera function on your phone. Once you’ve taken the photo, press and hold on that image, select share, and choose OneNote.
If you could make this already easy note taking function any easier, how would you do it? Voice Notes, of course.
No matter what you’re doing on your phone, you can press and hold the Start button to activate Speech mode. Then, start by saying “Note”, followed by your note. You’ll see a visual equaliser on the screen as the phone listens to what you’re saying, then opens up OneNote, and transcribes what you’ve just said.
It’s very easy to use OneNote for absolutely everything. This’ll mean that within no time, you’ll end up with quite a pile of virtual post-it notes. The Search function does exactly what you’d expect it to do; it searches using keywords. Alternatively, there’s the Recent pivot where you can see anything you’ve recently been working on.
Another advantage of using OneNote on both your PC and your phone is that the two stay synced, automatically. This works really well if you’re sat at your computer and decide to create a shopping list, with lots of tick boxes. Create it on your PC, and forget about it until you get to the supermarket. When you get to the store, load up OneNote and that same list will already be on your phone, ready for you to shop.
Because they are synced, any changes you make, either on your PC or phone will be reflected on the other device. However, you do have the option to turn off syncing to individual notes.