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Sponsored: 9 ways Microsoft Lumia lets you do it all

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Sometimes the best things can be sitting right there in front of you and you don’t even realise it. And, when it comes to productivity, staying organised and just, well, helping you get things done then Microsoft’s OneNote software is perhaps the best tool of its kind. OneNote comes as an integral part of Windows 10, and so as a result it’s easily found nestling in the apps area alongside all of the other great Microsoft productivity tools. However, OneNote isn’t just the one trick pony that some people mistakenly think it is. Sure, OneNote is a great organisational tool, but it does so much more than that.

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One of the best things about OneNote is that it works seamlessly across all of your Windows 10 devices. The Microsoft Lumia smartphone range, for example, has it on board, while at the same time you’ll find it neatly loaded into Surface devices, as well as more conventional laptop and desktop computers. In fact, anything with Windows 10 installed will give you instant access to the program and its many features. OneNote is right there, every time you power up, and adding even more convenience, you can access the same documents no matter what you’re using at any given time and from anywhere too. Sign in to OneDrive, create a OneNote notebook document or as many as you need and they’ll be right to hand whenever you need to be productive.

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OneNote comes with a raft of possibilities, and thanks to an amazingly simple but effective interface it is also really easy to use. OneNote lets you conveniently type or write notes directly into your web browser, add images and mark-up pages for reference purposes. Once you’ve had a few minutes to familiarise yourself with the interface OneNote immediately becomes useful and for a whole stack of reasons, and as long as you’re online OneNote saves your thoughts as you go. For example, most of us are so busy these days that managing your calendar across a week or a month can be like coordinating a military operation. That’s magnified even more if you have kids, so you’ll find that OneNote is an ideal software solution for managing their activities, although the tools available in the program are just as useful for keeping tabs on your own hectic schedule too.

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So, for example, OneNote has the ability to clip items from web pages and add them to the program so that you can view then later or for when you’re offline. This isn’t a feature that’s limited to just static content either, because now OneNote can also insert content from locations including YouTube, Vine, Sway and more besides. Simply paste your chosen video link into OneNote and a playable thumbnail version will appear right next to it. Another great bit of functionality that can be added to your Microsoft Lumia device is Office Lens, which is an app available from the Microsoft Store that turns your phone into a pocket scanner. It’s perfect for scanning anything and everything whether you’re at work, at home or out in the field.

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In fact, it’s this ease of collaborating that makes OneNote perfect for people who regularly need to meet with others but aren’t always able to do it face-to-face. Working together in a notebook file lets you brainstorm ideas, carry out research together and then get it all down in a document as it happens. OneNote Online lets you see dynamic updates to the document as they happen, while it’s also easy to keep track of who is doing what by using the ‘Show Authors’ function. It doesn’t matter if your collaborators are on a desktop computer, laptop, tablet or Microsoft Lumia; everyone will see the same information and be able to update the document via the Cloud-based system.

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OneNote is also the ideal solution if you’re planning a holiday, short break or weekend away. It’s perfect for creating itineraries and you can easily assemble maps, ideas, and hotel and flight details and keep them all in one handy location. OneNote is incredibly intuitive so, for example, if you type something that the software sees as a link it will format it as one, which saves you time and effort. And, because you can access OneNote while you’re on the go, it’s possible to dip in and out whenever you want to and quickly and edit or update your plans. With a Microsoft Lumia phone, for example, you can browse and amend schedules and other plans while you’re commuting on the train, or during breaks on a long journey in the car.

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© Microsoft Multiple uses
It’s the ‘always there’ appeal of OneNote that also makes it the first port of call for a lot of people who like to store things such as food recipes and other hobby ideas. You can use it as a virtual scrapbook and also for collaborating on work projects. You can even use the power of OneNote to act as the blank backdrop for a book if you have an inkling to create a literary classic; simply use the tab–based layout as your chapter guides. Failing that, call up OneNote to doodle and save your ideas. Seen something you like on the internet? Use OneNote to mark-up your notes about it and come back to revisit when it’s a more convenient time in your day. Adding pictures, tables and other page elements is a doddle and allows you to format documents just as you want.

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Meanwhile, we’ve all got those important dates in the calendar that we really don’t want to miss, so using OneNote for making Christmas and birthday lists or party itineraries is another great example of just how useful this software can be. If you’ve got a Microsoft Lumia smartphone then you’ll find that the pocket-sized interface found on the mobile version will let you do everything you want and offers the same comprehensive set of tools as the desktop edition. The difference is that you can even add or subtract to the content if you’re in a queue waiting for the next available checkout or at a bus stop waiting for the number 9 bus. Notebook documents can be added to when you need more space and you can also file multiple documents into different sections within the OneNote interface.

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OneNote is also the perfect collaborative software when it comes to sharing information. If you’re on the move and have your Microsoft Lumia to hand then simply send work colleagues or anyone else a link. They can then click the link and read your notes in their web browser. This is a perfect feature if you want to exchange ideas on the fly, or if you have a group of people who all need to add their thoughts or ideas to a working group. The same concept applies if you’re just going on a trip with other people, meaning that everyone is kept in the loop about the latest developments. And, because it is all in the Cloud, you can be sure that everyone is collaborating on the same document.

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One other often overlooked feature that adds another level of usability to proceedings is that OneNote can also be controlled using the voice assistant that is Cortana. In just the same way you can ask it anything you like using other programs, Cortana for Windows 10 is excellent for making voice notes and all you have to do to put something into print is say ‘Cortana take a note’. Of course, that’s really just the tip of the iceberg because OneNote has almost unlimited potential. The excellent new web browser Edge can be used to look up content on the web, you can mark-up pages with doodles about stuff you’re interested in, then add the content to OneNote. You can even write a song using the software and add some lyrics and vocal lines using your Microsoft Lumia, even when you’re on the go. How’s that for endless flexibility?

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