OneNote is now (even more) free! Just in time to pay taxes.

Microsoft just announced that it is unlocking all the features of OneNote 2013 and that it is free for everyone to download onto your PC for Windows 7 and Windows 8 at

This is exciting news!  All the features they are removing restrictions on are vital to utilizing OneNote as a work-flow optimization tool for your business.  This is especially useful at tax time.

  • Password protected sections—Add a password to protect sensitive information.  This is a critical component of every company’s operations, particularly for accounting related activities such as preparing for year-end and tax filing.  You can download our “End of Year Checklist” OneNote created pdf page to simplify year-end procedures. If you would like the .one page, please contact me. To password protect any section, right click on the section tab, and select Password Protect  this Section.
    • Tax time examples; password protect sensitive data such as P&L sheet, Balance Sheet and other financial statements that you want to quickly access,  log-in credentials for tax portals, and employee or payroll related data.

password protect

  • Page history—Easily see or go back to prior versions of a page.  This is crucial when there are multiple employees accessing the same file.  Accidents and intentional actions can be tracked and viewed.

Page History

  • Audio and video recording—Take notes while recording, and easily jump to the relevant section later.  This is a great, often under utilized tool, in OneNote.
    • Tax time example: while you are preparing your taxes, create a page called Tax Related Notes and use the Record Audio feature under the Insert tab to quickly take notes relating to what you are working on.

Audio and Video Recording

  • Plus, you can do an Audio search—Search for a word in a voice or video recording using the regular search bar in OneNote.
  • Embedded files—Insert Office documents, pdf or other files directly in your notebook.  One of the reasons I use OneNote for many of my business processes is that it integrates easily with other Microsoft Office tools such as Word, Excel and Outlook and works with pdf files, images, hyperlinks and other daily-utilized tools – all contained in one place – OneNote.
    • Tax time examples; copies of receipts, Excel expense sheets, and tax related articles

Embed file


So, while most of the time nothing is ever free, especially at tax time, there are those rare exceptions. OneNote is now (even more) free!  Just in time to pay taxes.

Using OneNote to make your small business profitable and enjoyable

Using OneNote to make your small business profitable and enjoyable  by tracking regulatory requirements.

Understanding and being compliant with the hundreds of Federal and State regulations used in bookkeeping can be complicated. Using OneNote to track these regulatory requirements helps clearly define what’s needed and can be useful in creating procedures for reimbursable expenses, travel deductions, and other topics related to your business deductions.

Create a OneNote notebook called “REGULATORY” and use it to capture current mileage rates, direct links to IRS publications such as Publication 535 on Business Deductions, or website links for filing your quarterly state taxes.

IRS Standard Mileage Rates

Common Business Deductions

Track IRS PublicationsFor additional OneNote resources, try the free OneNote Training Workbook at

5 little and BIG things you may not know about OneNote

If you, like me, are a dedicated OneNote user and fan, you realize how incredible OneNote is for organizing data, capturing screen-prints, and taking copious notes.  You may also be familiar with some of the more proficient features such as inserting pictures, tables, spreadsheets and clip-art.  Perhaps you’re even comfortable with awesome power of page templates.

I’d like to share, however, 5 little and BIG things you may NOT know about OneNote.


With Microsoft OneNote (Windows Desktop version), you can….

  1. Record audio incredibly quick

  2. Create the Ultimate check boxes

  3. Hide or show authors with just a click

  4. Password protect sections for privacy

  5. Doodle & Draw… just for fun


Want to know the details?

# 1.

To learn how to record audio (or video) quickly click on the play button.


Record Audio QuicklyRecord audio






# 2.

A check box Check boxis an extremely useful little device – especially for those of us who love checklists.   OneNote has the ultimate check box – a To Do tag that creates one “automatically”.

To Do Tag


# 3.

If you collaborate (that means share) your notebooks with others, you can hide and unveil authors by selecting the Hide Authors icon on the History ribbon.  This is very useful for group projects to track individual contributions.

Hide Authors

 # 4.

Security is a major concern for small businesses.  Statistics for identity theft within companies are staggering.  OneNote’s ability to Password Protect entire sections of notebooks, helps you in making the security of your company a little bit easier.

PW Protect Options

PW Protect window Enter PW


Just a warning… do NOT forget your password!  There is no password recovery system for OneNote!    There are additional password settings in Options on the File menu.  Password protection will be covered in greater detail in another post.

# 5.

The last thing you may not know about OneNote is how much fun you can have by going to a blank page, clicking on the Draw ribbon, and starting to doodle. If you need a break,  want a brief distraction from the necessities of life, or just want to recreate the simple joy of coloring (remember as a child), I highly recommend you give it a try…


Introducing.. OneNote for Mac for the Fun and the Serious

There are no words that could top this introduction:


Thank you OneNote Engineering Team for that well-done performance!   Business, like life, should be enjoyed and lighter moments shared.

For the more serious OneNote seekers, here is a video that does an excellent job describing what OneNote does and how easy and functional it is to use.


I’m not a Mac user… yet, so I can’t share my experiences of using OneNote for Mac.   If you are … please share comments on how you like the new OneNote for Mac.



A New Year means Preparing Taxes for the Old One

Happy 2014!

Starting fresh in the new year means preparing your tax returns for the old year.  Let Microsoft OneNote help you organize all those necessary, albeit dreadful, tasks of pulling together receipts, sending out the proper documents, and adding up all those mileage deductions. It’s also a time for brushing up on IRS regulations for what you can and can’t deduct.

Here are some suggestions for OneNote Notebooks to help with tax preparation.

Create a Notebook called “Income Taxes”

I have Sections for each years(2012, 2013, 2014….)

Pages in each year include:

  • Year End Checklist  (insert my free 2013 checklist by clicking on the image to the right – the only thing I ask for is positive feedback if you like it)
  • Create your own checklist for gathering documents, sorting receipts, or making an appointment with your CPA
  • Questions for my accountant  (jot down questions you have all year so they are all in one place when you prepare for your taxes
  • Tax Related Changes to share with Accountant (new job, selling of an asset, etc.)  Add to this page all year long as circumstances change
  • Major Purchases – include links to supporting documents and all relevant information related to fixed assets (date, purchase price, model, serial number, etc.)

Create another Notebook called “Regulatory”

I also have a Regulatory notebook for keeping track of all the complicated IRS and State regulations such as 1099-MISC,  common deduction rules (meals, travel, etc.), current mileage rates, and  so on.   Here are the sections and an example of the pages in my Regulatory notebook:

Regulatory Notebook

Regulatory Notebook

You can add additional regulatory items such as:

  • Copyright and trademark laws and links
  • New Hire Procedures
  • Copies of articles relating to regulatory issues (

Make it your year to get organized and get your taxes done BEFORE the March 15 or April 15 deadline.


OneNote for Bloggers

Blogging is a creative outlet for over 200,000,000 sites.  WordPress alone has 71,784,426 blogs as of this writing.    The numbers are staggering.

A Blogger's Best Tool

A Blogger’s Best Tool

To the millions of people using blogs to express, educate, encourage and entertain, let me describe a phenomenal tool for bloggers; Microsoft OneNote.

My guess is that many bloggers, like myself, have ideas that sometimes fly in every direction. Or perhaps have grand plans for growing a blog into an income producing way-of-life.   Some may truly (also like me) have a heart of writing, or want to shout great jubilation’s to the world just because we can.

OneNote can capture all of your thoughts, help organize them for clarity, schedule editorial content for future growth, and best of all, provides an almost eternal number of blank pages to express your creativity.

Let me outline just a few of the ways OneNote can do all this:

  • Focus your purpose with a blog template.  I have 7 active blogs.  I created a blog template to ensure I don’t lose track of my purpose and to have the categories readily available when writing: 
Blog Title and Purpose Template

Blog Title and Purpose Template

  • Layout an entire year of marketing strategy and content using an Editorial Calendar.  I created a second template to define my editorial categories and subjects.  This helps organize my efforts and eliminates (or reduces) the “what should I write about” conundrum that occasionally hits.
Editorial Calendar

Editorial Calendar

  • Record similar blogs to stay informed on your topic.   You can include links to those blogs and websites so they are always one click away.
Similar Blog Topics

Similar Blog Topics

  • The very best thing OneNote offers bloggers is an extremely BIG notebook to write in!  These notebooks, sections and pages can be customized to adjust page size, select lined or unlined pages, change page colors, choose margins, tag for future use, tag for research, create Table of Contents, and so much more.   Plus, once the writing is complete, it can be copied and pasted into your blog post.

Microsoft OneNote – bloggers gotta love it!

Love OneNote - Created inside OneNote

Love OneNote – Created inside OneNote

How OneNote increases my productivity

ProductivityNext to Microsoft Outlook, OneNote has been my number one (okay, number two) productivity tool.  It saves me time, helps me be more organized and effective, and streamlines my processes for optimal efficiency.

Here is how OneNote has increased my productivity:

  • I know where exactly to look for everything since I keep everything, both personal and business related, in OneNote notebooks
  • Customer’s profiles are consistent and up-to-date – available when I need them
  • Training checklists are easy to mark off completed tasks ensuring everyone’s on track
  • Streamlined year-end procedures that can be sent to clients with one click of a button
  • Reference material is in one place – easier to locate
  • Links to affiliates and log-ins
  • Store all my passwords securely (in addition to RoboForm)
  • Medical records (password protected) are readily available for all family members
  • Distracting ideas can be jotted down quickly – freeing my mind to focus back on work at hand
  • Mission statement and vision board keep me going forward
  • Goals, strategies and tasks are followed through and have tags to help me locate them
  • Meal plans and grocery lists take almost no time to complete
  • All technology related information is stored in one place – from purchases and serial numbers to repairs and new software
  • Work summaries are created at the same time work is being performed – can be sent directly to clients
  • Product data and specs are all together for quick reference
  • Notes from webinars are in one place and can be searched for easy access (no more forgotten resources)
  • Home maintenance lists help ensure everything’s taken care of
  • Instructions are in one place so I don’t have to re-learn every time
  • Notebooks for books, blogs and journals assist in writing quickly as time allows
  • Screen prints of online content quickly gathers information (OneNote has a built in feature giving credit – referring to the site it was copied from)
  • Policies and procedures are dated and distributed as needed
  • Testimonials, certificates, benefits… all in one place to copy from for marketing purposes
  • Training manuals can be viewed, printed, or shared
  • Table of contents and search features makes finding anything in OneNote quick and easy!

The ways in which I use OneNote and how it increases my productivity is limited only to my time and creativity.  It has changed my business and my life – allowing me to go paperless, train more efficiently, and stay focused on completing the work, rather than keeping track of the work.

OneNote is perfect for journaling

Microsoft OneNote is an almost perfect tool for those of you who journal, or perhaps like me… sporadically journal.   Journal

Journaling can be healthy, productive, idea generating and refreshing.  Here are some of the advantages of writing in a journal electronically, rather than recording your thoughts, memoirs and accomplishments in a diary, notebook or paper journal.

  • Journal Organization – you can have one notebook divided into years (section) and days (pages).   You can even create a Table of Contents if you have Gem.  My notebook is called Heart of Writing.
  • Journal Security – you can password protect any section of any notebook within OneNote.   This prevents accidental eyes reading what are sometime very private writings.  There is a freedom that comes from writing when you are not concerned about someone else having the ability to read it.  Word of caution:  you can not recover forgotten passwords.   Also – if you DO want someone to be able to access it when you’re gone… make sure to record the password in another OneNote notebook (like one called “In Case of Death” or “When I Die”).
  • Journal Location – With OneNote, you always know where your journal is.  This is so much easier to keep track of than all those individual hard copy books of various shapes and sizes that are lost somewhere inside your house.
  • Journal Portability – with OneNote being accessible on desktops, laptops, netbooks, tablets and mobile phones, you can write anywhere, anytime – whenever the need or desire arises.
  • Journal Covers – you can even create your own cover (or in this case the first page in the first section).

Heart of Writing Journal

Use your OneNote today and write away……

What is OneNote?

Replace those outdated 3-ring binders

We all have them.   3-ring binders that contain bank statements. Well, most of them anyway – except for the 3 months that are buried in paperwork somewhere on your desk.    Company policy manuals that should have been updated …. 2 years ago.   And of course, procedures that were written, but never used, even when a job was vacated or someone was out sick.


Replace those outdated 3-Ring Binders with OneNote!

It’s very difficult to keep those binders up to date… At least it used to be difficult.

OneNote to the rescue!

A notebook, for any of the above topics, created in Microsoft OneNote can be updated easily, quickly, and consistently.

Like a 3 ring binder, OneNote can have tabs (sections) and multiple pages.

The advantage of OneNote over 3-ring binders include:

  • Portability & Accessability.   OneNote can be shared, sent via e-mail, and accessed through your computer, the web and your mobile devices.
  • Security.  OneNote sections can be password protected so sensitive information is not available to those without clearance.
  • Unlimited Numbers.  With OneNote, you can have an almost limitless number of notebooks (binders), sections (tabs) and pages (sheets).
  • Space Saving.  With OneNote, all your binders are stored electronically, freeing up tons of shelf and file storage space.
OneNote can be a notebook or a 3-ring binder.

OneNote can be a notebook or a 3-ring binder.

Keep those 3-ring binders updated by transforming them into OneNote Notebooks today!

One of my favorite advantages of using OneNote… OneNote notebooks won’t collect dust.