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OneNote has been one of the most popular note taking tools for Windows for some time now but more recently, Microsoft brought OneNote to Mac.

OneNote for Mac is a powerful productivity tool allows you to capture thoughts, discoveries, and ideas in a digital notebook. OneNote is ideal for those that want to improve their productivity, brainstorm ideas, plan a big event or just have a more structured way of collecting masses of clippings you want to save online. OneNote for Mac is fully integrated with all other versions of the software for PC and mobile so not matter what device you use to save clippings, OneNote brings it all together.

For business purposes, OneNote isn’t nearly as powerful as other collaborative project management tools like Wrike, eXo Platform, or even Zoho Docs, but its ease of use makes it a worthwhile addition to your arsenal of Mac productivity tools.

Accepts notes in any shape or form

OneNote is basically an open canvas that allows you to type anywhere and rearrange content on the page in any way. You can format your notes with different fonts or colors, and organize your content with tables. You can add pictures, PowerPoint documents, PDFs, links, articles, diagrams, annotations – just about any kind of content fits into OneNote.

Taking snapshots of articles and web pages on the internet is made even easier in OneNote thanks to a clippings extension or add-on which allows you to save pages instantly to OneNote. It can even extract text from photos and pictures and copy them into your notes although the accuracy depends on the quality of the image.

OneNote can even copy text from pictures into your notebooks.

OneNote can even copy text from pictures into your notebooks.

In place of spreadsheets, OneNote uses simple OneNote tables to make sense of information. Start on a new line of text by typing a word, phrase, or number, and then press the Tab key to create the next column and press Return to create a new row. Alternately, you can click Insert > Table on the ribbon or on the menu bar.

Tag, you’re it!

You can edit your clippings in many different ways. You can create, rename, search, sort, color code, and copy pages, sections and notebooks to organize your content as you’d like. Or you can tag notes to highlight them, compile and track to-do lists, flag questions and more.

The Tags gallery on the Home tab lets you visually prioritize or categorize selected notes. Tagged notes are marked with icons that prompt you to follow up on your important action items, or to check off completed tasks on your to-do lists.

OneNote offers several different tags to helps organize your notes.

OneNote offers several different tag icons to helps organize your notes.

Customization and color coordination is a big part of OneNote. For example, when you first launch OneNote, a default notebook with the Quick Notes section is created for you, but you can easily create additional colorful notebooks for the subjects and projects you want by clicking plus sign (+) in the Notebooks list or by clicking File > New Notebook on the menu bar.

OneNote for Mac gives you a choice of notebook styles when you open a new notebook.

OneNote for Mac gives you a choice of notebook styles when you open a new notebook.

Adding new pages or notes to notebooks is also very easy. To create a new page in the current section of your notebook simply click (+) Add Page over the page tabs, or click File > New Page on the menu bar. To create a new section in the current notebook, click the plus sign (+) next to the section tabs, or click File > New Section on the menu bar.

OneNote automatically saves all of your changes as you work. If you want to see when OneNote last synced your changes, click the name of your current notebook, and then click the arrow next to it in the Notebooks list and it will show the time of the last sync.

When it comes to collaboration, OneNote allows you to edit the same workbook at the same time as another colleague or friend whether they are on PC, mobile or Mac. Notes are automatically synced to OneDrive, OneDrive for Business or Microsoft SharePoint, making it easy to switch between devices. Note, however, that Apple’s iCloud is not supported.

Conclusion

OneNote is a very well organized and clinically executed tool which is one of the main reasons why it has been popular for so long. However, you will find yourself doing a lot of clicking as there are very few keyboard shortcuts and when you’re cutting and pasting a lot, this would certainly help.

It’s also a bit frustrating when you can only open one notebook at a time especially if you need information from another notebook to add to the current one you’re working on.

OneNote is great for jotting down ideas or managing your personal projects, but if you’re using it for business within a team, check out a cloud-based collaboration application or project management solution, as these are much more robust and generally work seamlessly across Mac and all your other devices.

If you’re a lawyer or partner in a small to medium-sized law practice, you’ve probably got enough on your hands without the stress of having to make sure your firm’s finances and customer contacts are managed smoothly. Clio is a powerful web-based law practice management tool designed specifically for the needs of law firms. Clio is suitable for sole traders and small-to-mid-sized law practices and although it’s mainly a web service, it can be accessed more conveniently using the desktop app for Mac.

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Writer Pro is a bit bipolar. On the Mac, the app takes writing to a different level; elevating Markdown and a clean workflow into a smooth running system that is a pleasure to use. But on iOS, it’s a mess with very little reason to appear on your homescreen. And both apps cost $19.95.

And so, I’m conflicted. I like using Writer Pro, but I don’t enjoy using it on both platforms. In addition, new additional information about the developers has appeared, making me feel even worse. So should you spend $20 or $40 on the Writer Pro app system, or is it best to just walk away? Let’s find out. (more…)

At the end of the week, creative people often wonder how much they actually accomplished. They tell their friends they only spent 40–50 hours on the computer working when, in reality, it’s more like 60–70 hours. Staring at a screen most of the day isn’t great for your eyes, so why not lessen the amount of time you spend using a computer? That’s not as easy as it sounds, because you first have to find out how much you are spending on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube each day.

There’s now a different type of time tracker available. It’s called RescueTime. Rather than requiring that you manually clock in and out, it monitors everything you do and sends you a report at an interval you choose. When I first heard about the service, I was cautious about the privacy implications and whether it even did a good job. After using it for nearly two months, I have a bit more to say about it. (more…)

It’s a great idea to keep track of everything you own, one of those things you likely remind yourself of when you’re walking through IKEA trying to find a new bookshelf. Then you go home, pull your hair out trying to setup said bookshelf, and promptly forget to record your purchase anywhere.

There’s a number of tools designed to help you keep track of the stuff you own, from the lauded Delicious Library that we found too memory-hungry and feature-lite for much good to the now-discontinued Bento database app. You could even keep a spreadsheet of stuff you own, but that’s not very fun or simple.

Or, you could use the new Compartments 2, an inventory app that’s perfect for cataloguing everything you own without too much fuss — and with some OS X Mavericks only features, too.

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Two weeks ago at their special fall event, Apple released the much anticipated updates for its iWork suite. It’s been the biggest rework of the apps since the iWork suite was first launched. The apps bear a fresh, brand new UI but leave behind useful features, especially those that were most-loved by at power users. There’s been a lot of controversy about these apps over the past weeks, as is readily apparent from the comments on our Pages and Keynote reviews.

Numbers, Apple’s spreadsheet app that’s now in its 3rd version, is not an exception to the trend seen thus far in the new iWork apps. It’s simplified, looks much like the other new apps in the suite, and gets rid of some features that some of you might consider essential. Here’s my impressions on what I’ve always considered a powerful yet super easy to use combination of a free form spreadsheet processor and data visualizer.

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Among the many apps unveiled at Apple’s Fall special event were long-overdue new versions of the iWork apps for the Mac. We had to wait almost five years to see Keynote version bump from 5.0 (aka iWork ’09) to 6.0, which was almost as long as the wait between between 1.0 and 5.0. But it’s been worth the wait for the most part.

The brand new Keynote 6 brings a completely revamped UI and new features to Apple’s venerable presentation app. Let’s see how far Apple went in re-thinking the app that powers all of the company’s own presentations.

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Microsoft Word has long been the word processor for the masses. Whether people like it or not, they have to use the .doc format to submit things to their superiors. Slowly, however, a new generation of apps is arising. OpenOffice and LibreOffice are leading the way in open source word processors, and there are lots of great Markdown tools out there for the pseudo-coder. For the average user, though, the best way to write an essay or report for work is using Pages.

Unfortunately, Apple’s small app doesn’t get much recognition, since it’s not available outside their ecosystem. It also didn’t appeal to some people because of the cost. Well, that’s all about to change in Pages 5. During the special event this week, Apple unveiled a new version of its word processor, making it more powerful and attractive than ever. Best of all, people who buy new Macs get it for free. So just how good is this essential piece of the new iWork suite? (more…)

Apple’s Notes app is fine if you’re quickly jotting things down, but after a while you may start to want something more powerful. That’s when services like Evernote and Simplenote. The former has had a native Mac app for a while now, but the latter has relied on third-party solutions like the newer Justnotes and Brett Terpstra’s fantastic nvALT.

But now there’s something new on the market. It’s an official app developed by Automattic, the team behind WordPress which now owns Simplenote itself as well. The free Simplenote for Mac promises to bring the whole experience to your computer without a Web browser, and kicks off an entire new wave of Simplenote apps across all their supported platforms. Is the long-awaited client everything we’ve dreamed of? (more…)

We all expected to see iOS 7 at the WWDC keynote. That one was a given. The next version of OS X was also practically a given, but didn’t seem nearly as anticipated. New Macs were a nice extra, that both weren’t surprising to see but none of us would have been that surprised if they hadn’t been included. A new version of iWork and iLife were hoped for, but again, we’d almost given up hope that Apple would have time for anything besides iOS 7.

But practically no one was expecting that Apple would spend a serious amount of time during the keynote talking about web apps. And yet they did. Apple, the company that almost entirely makes software just for its own devices took the time to show us how great their new iWork for iCloud apps worked in Chrome on Windows 8. iWork has always been seen as a distant runner-up to Microsoft Office, the 900lb gorilla in the room whenever you talk about apps for word processing, presentations, and spreadsheets. The very fact that the iPad doesn’t have Office has been used as an advertisement point for Microsoft’s Surface ads. But we all thought the discussion was long-since beyond Office, and we’ve all learned to get along very well without it, thank you very much.

Apple isn’t in the business of leaving well enough alone, though, and they’re taking their own Office competitor directly to Microsoft’s homefront. If you’ve stuck with Office simply because others won’t be able to preview your files if you use iWork — or if you’ve stayed away since you occasionally need to edit from a PC — here’s why iWork for iCloud just might be the best thing to happen to iWork yet. It’s a bold foray into Microsoft’s territory, just as Microsoft launches its own Office apps on the iPhone. (more…)

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