Today, there are many different kinds of technology tools to make a lawyer’s life easier. Smart phones and tablets. Legal Practice Management software. Document Management software. Private Cloud platforms. All of which are useful solutions that help attorneys law firms practice better.
Today, lets take a look at another useful tool for lawyers and law firms. One application in particular that should be a staple within every lawyer’s legal technology toolbox: Microsoft OneNote.
7 Reasons Every Lawyer Needs OneNote
OneNote is a powerful note-taking and record-keeping application made by Microsoft. It’s part of the broader Microsoft Office suite, and comes in both a full-featured desktop version and a “universal” mobile-device-friendly edition (more on the differences shortly).
While OneNote is useful for virtually any profession or person (your’ s truly included), lawyers and law firms especially will benefit from the functionality this handy tool provides.
At its core, OneNote is incredibly simple to use. You create notes: a page where you enter information you like, free-form. You do this by simply typing or copy/pasting, like you would a Word document, or by hand-writing with your favorite laptop, tablet and stylus.
Each note is date and time-stamped and may contain images, attachments, and more. The flexibility and free-form nature of each note is part of what makes OneNote simple but powerful.
Every note that you create can contain written text, copied text, images, hyperlinks, embedded files, images, diagrams or any combination therein.
You organize notes into notebooks and tabs (just like a physical notebook). While not a replacement for proper practice management or document management software, OneNote is a powerful tool that will undoubtedly complement your practice management and document management solution.
(Check the comments at the end to see how some particularly resourceful lawyers build OneNote into the way they manage their cases!)
OneNote was originally released as a traditional desktop application. Like other participants in the Microsoft Office suite (Word, Excel, Outlook) it was simply called OneNote 2013, then OneNote 2016, and so forth. Later, Microsoft released a leaner version of OneNote (then called OneNote Universal), which was optimized for mobile devices (most notably tablets) and designed to look and work the same on any device.
the Universal (mobile) version of OneNote did less than its full desktop counterpart, but was (as the name implied) more universal, and hide a cleaner, sharper look and feel to it. (Notebook tabs, for instance, are on the left side of the interface rather than across the top of the application.) Over the years, Microsoft added more and more functionality to OneNote Universal, working to catch it up to the desktop edition.
Then Microsoft announced it would ultimately stop updating and supporting the “old” desktop version, instead focusing future development on its universal OneNote. This new OneNote is now called, simply… OneNote, and the older, soon-to-be-sunsetted version is called OneNote 16. (Yes, its unnecessarily confusing. Microsoft is no stranger to fluid and befuddling naming conventions.)
This is why you see two OneNote shortcuts in your Windows 10 start menu, in case you’ve ever wondered.