“I no longer have to carry a pen and paper around, all my notes are in one place, I never have to worry about running out of notepads, and I can conveniently create flow-charts to copy & paste into emails.” – Marketing Boss-man.
If the boss loves it, it must be good! Digital Inking is fast becoming the industry standard for note-taking. If you're sick of using a pen and paper to take notes, or you're over typing out notes and content so you have a digital copy, digital note-taking may be the solution! (Plus you'll be helping to save the trees, which is good karma and great for your conscience.)
What makes digital note-taking so special?
OneNote - part of the Microsoft Office Suite - allows you to easily take notes with either pen or paper. Organise, store and file your notes in one location - digitally!
Here's some reasons why we love using OneNote for note-taking, and how OneNote can allow you to be more organised at work, school or everyday life.
Hand-write your notes without the need to type them up later
Nobody likes a noisy type-r in lecture halls, meeting rooms or on Skype conference calls. OneNote allows you to take 'handwritten' notes instead of typing notes and allows you to convert them into typed text later. “Minor issues like a slow typing speed or illegible handwriting can cause major frustration,” says PEPworldwide Client Services and Marketing Manager (and OneNote enthusiast) Inna Kersman.
“Noisy typing during meetings can also be inappropriate or irritating for others – and if you bring your laptop to a meeting, you can inadvertently appear rude as people think you’re replying to emails rather than taking notes. We’ve found that this feature is a great solution.”
Different notebooks for different topics
Create different notebooks for subjects, meetings, and ideas. You can easily rename notebooks in OneNote to help you stay organised and easily pick up from where you left off. It’s like having a folder with file tabs, except you don’t need to lug around a manila folder or fiddle with that annoying silver claw clasp that always ends up broken.
Copy text from a picture easily
Retyping text from scanned images or information is tedious and not to mention time-consuming. OneNote allows you to copy text from a picture into your Clipboard and then paste it as typed text. Yay efficiency! Super handy for sending emails, taking lecture notes or copying down Grandma's chocolate-chip biscuit recipe.
Be a neat-freak and get organised!
Want to be a bit more organised with your note-taking? OneNote allows you to consolidate different pages from different notebooks without duplicating your notes. You can link pages, sections and notebooks together when needed. Want to be super-organised with your note-taking? You can create a table of contents for all of your documents. Follow Microsoft’s instructions here to try it out for yourself. You'll be making notes for EVERYTHING in no time!
Multi-platform? Minimal issues!
While other platforms and software may have a hard time transferring, syncing or converting files from a Microsoft device to an Apple one - OneNote makes it a breeze! If you live a multi-platform life - a Surface laptop at work, a Google Pixel Smartphone at home, and an iPad Pro in your backpack, for example - Microsoft OneNote makes it easy to access notes across different devices (as long as you have an active Office 365 subscription).
What are the best devices for taking notes digitally?
Any device that supports a stylus and has a touch-screen can be used for taking digital notes or digital inking. If you're after a portable, pocket-sized, notepad-like digital note-taking device, we recommend the Samsung Galaxy Note range of smartphones.
If you'd rather a tablet, consider the Apple iPad or Microsoft Surface Pro. Both have their own styluses (sold separately) and are actively used by working professionals and artists around the world.
If you're not quite sold on digital note-taking yet, or prefer to take hand-written notes, then consider a Wacom Bamboo tablet. These devices allow you to take hand-written notes on any paper and then digitally transfer these notes to the Cloud.
Remember to invest in a good stylus
If your smart device doesn't come with a stylus for digital note-taking, it might be a good idea to get one. Sure, they may add some more dollars to your total purchase, but styluses often come with handy features and customisable buttons to make digital note-taking even easier. Depending on what device you use you may need a specific stylus - so make sure you haven't bought an Apple Pencil to use with your Microsoft Surface device or vice-versa.
What about digital note-taking for projects or group work?
Evernote is another excellent software you can use on your computer, tablet or smartphone for digital note-taking online or as a business. Over 20,000 companies rely on Evernote - which is a lot! Evernote uses almost all of the same features that OneNote does, but here are some of our favourite features from the software:
Work smarter with more ways to take notes!
Enhance your notes with links, checklists, tables, attachments, and audio recordings. Even handwritten notes are searchable on Evernote. No matter what way you like to take notes, everything will be collated and organised in one easy location.
Bring everything together and collaborate with others
Evernote can also act as a central team hub for note-taking and sharing ideas. Great for team meetings and group projects, Evernote makes productivity within organised teams bliss. From initial brainstorm to the finished product, Evernote allows multiple people to collaborate and take notes in one easy place. You can also create a centralised hub on the Cloud to back up and share your notes.
Sticky Notes - for infrequent digital note-taking
Remember the little note widgets you could have 'stuck' on the desktop of your computer or laptop? Get nostalgic while still keeping it 21st century. With touch-screen Microsoft devices you can now hand-write your little sticky-notes too!
Don't just take notes - you can do other stuff too!
Note-taking isn't the only great benefit of using a stylus on touch-screen devices. You can also use a stylus in the place of a mouse to scroll through pages and documents, edit things quickly, click on links, and more. You can also create gorgeous illustrations (or stick figures) through digital inking, if you're the creative type, or unwind after a long day with various colouring-in apps.