OneNote Tips: Tag Actions

Tags let you quickly find items across all of your notes, sections and notebooks.  You can apply a tag to a word, a line of text or even a full paragraph. If you take a look at the default tags provided with OneNote, there is quite a variety – To Do, Idea, Project A, Project B, Music to Listen To.  Here again is one of the challenges in adopting Microsoft technology – it does so freaking much that it is overwhelming.

So, let’s go back to the first rule: Keep it Stupidly Simple.  With that in mind, our guide for tags will be to use them only for verbs. Thus To Do is a pretty good tag (but we’ll soon make it even better). However, Idea and Project A – not so much.  But you say, “Why not? Won’t more tags make it easier to find things?”  Hold that thought and for now just stick with verbs.

Doing this is pretty straight-forward.  Review a note and determine if there are any actions that need to be taken.  In the demo, our notes show that we need to bring in the RTR documents.  Placing the cursor next to this line item, we go up the ribbon and click To Do. Note that this places a check box next to the action item.  We can do this for each action item that came out of our meeting.

Just to the right of the To Do button in the ribbon, you will also see Find Tags. Clicking that button opens up a panel that lists tags across all of our notes.  This becomes a handy To Do list.

Which brings us to the reason “more tags” does not necessarily make things easier to find.  If you tag every project, every customer, every thought, every thing, two things happen.  First, you spend a lot of time on each note trying to identify everything that might benefit from a tag.  Second, the handy To Do list gets so long that it is no longer useful.

Never fear, though. We will soon cover how to find every thing.

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