Why paperless journalists need Canvas for OneNote

OneNote is perhaps the most under-rated Microsoft Office application, not in my book. It is an essential tool for a paperless journalist.

I’ve used Microsoft OneNote since I first saw it on one of the old-style Microsoft Windows XP Tablet PCs in the early 2000s.

Microsoft built OneNote as a note-taking tool for the pen-based Tablet PCs. It can handle typed and handwritten notes, drawings, screen clips and snatches of audio.

OneNote is my paperless database

OneNote is a wonderful tool for a paperless journalist. I use it to collect snippets of information used to write news and features. Technically its a free-form database.

From my point of view its best features are the way it integrates with Microsoft Windows and Office. I can quickly search for data and when found moving between Word and OneNote is simple. OneNote also lets me organise data in the ramshackle way that suits me.

Even better with a scanner

Coupled with a scanner, OneNote has helped me get rid of the piles of paper that once cluttered my desk.

One of the great things about paper was the way it could be organized on my desk. Maybe organised is too grand a term, but you get the picture.

Canvas shows the full picture

The Canvas add-on for OneNote from Microsoft Office Labs recreates that creative paper-on-desktop feel. It does wonders for me when I’m sorting through my notes. I might add here, OneNote even better at the job now I have a 24-inch widescreen desktop display. I can quickly marshal my thoughts as I prepare to write more complicated articles.

Canvas has been upgraded since I first looked at it. The new version works with OneNote 2010 and there’s been some tidying up over the way it looks.