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OneNote 2010: Share your Notebook and Collaborate with Confidence

February 28, 2012

As I’m preparing to share my love of OneNote 2010 in a webinar in the near future, I’m anticipating the what-if questions that might come up when I suggest using shared notebooks as a collaborative working environment.

What if someone changes something I’ve done?

What if someone accidently deletes a page?

What if someone adds something that is wrong?

These are common and legitimate concerns when you share work with others and let them make changes. If something goes missing there are built-in safeguards with OneNote 2010 if you know where to find them. From the Share tab, you have easy access to quickly review changes, pull up Recent Edits, Pages Versions, peruse a Recycle Bin of deleted pages and even find edits by a particular author.

Navigating Changes

When changes are made, notebooks, sections, and page titles are bolded. Within pages, changes are highlighted, marked by a vertical bar and the author’s initials. Unless you’ve selected the option to hide authors, you will see who has edited your notebook every time you view a page with a line to the right and the editor’s initials. It looks very similar to what we see with documents that include track changes.

To quickly navigate through changes, click the Share tab and look for the Unread group. To move through the changes, click the Next Unread button. To toggle on and off showing changes, click the Mark as Read button and select the Show unread changes in this notebook item.

Keeping Up with Changes

Let’s put a new spin on viewing changes to your notebook. After all, change can be a good thing and viewing edits by pages will give you a perspective of the work being accomplished over a period of time.

Imagine, if you will, that you have a shared notebook dedicated to tracking the progress of your Office 2010 rollout. You are using your notebook to track changes to the new desktop image and you have a created page dedicated to each application or feature. You’ve asked the assigned engineer to keep progress notes and record settings on certain pages. It’s time for a project team meeting and you need to quickly see what work has been made since the last meeting. From the Shared Notebook group, click the Recent Edits button. A menu displays to help you narrow the date range of edits that you want to view. Once you select an item, a new task pane opens to the right listing the edited pages in the date range you selected. The Search Task pane has options for sorting the list and changing the scope of the notebooks being searched.

When you need a high-level view of who has been editing the notebook, use the Find by Author feature. From the Shared Notebook group, click the Find by Author button. The Search Results tasks pane opens to the right of the OneNote window and the search list is grouped by authors. Click any author’s name to see a list of pages they have edited.

Recovering Lost Changes

Unless you’ve disabled Page Versions and the Recycle Bin for your notebook, you can recover content from previous versions of a page and see what’s been deleted. To see page versions, first make sure you are looking at the page and then from the History group, click the Page Versions button. Each previous version appears in the Page bar below the current page and includes the date of the older page. There are several things you can do with page versions, but we’ll save that for a different blog post. Or better yet, you can explore those options and let me know what you figure out by coming back and adding comments to this post.

Every notebook that you create in OneNote 2010 has its own Recycle Bin. If you don’t disable the feature, the Recycle Bin will preserve content for up to 60 days. The content is read-only, but you can restore content by moving or copying it. To peek inside the Recycle Bin, from the History Group, click the Notebook Recycle Bin button and select Notebook Recycle Bin. Deleted pages are listed in the Pages bar. To restore page, right-click and select Move or Copy.

Tip: If you just want to capture a part of the content on a page, you can select and copy it.

Now that you know how easy it is to keep track of your shared OneNote 2010 notebooks, I hope you’ll stop back by this post and let us know how you are using OneNote to collaborate.

Don’t miss the webinar I’ll be hosting with ILTA called “OneNote – Your Digital Binder.”

On March 1st from 12:00-1:00 p.m. EST (11:00 a.m. Central, 10:00 a.m. Mountain, and 9:00 a.m. Pacific) I’ll walk through the basic and advanced functionality of OneNote in the legal environment. We will cover how to create and share notebooks, work with pages, and play with tagging, desktop docking, Outlook integration and much more!

Click to Register!

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