Join Gini von Courter for an in-depth discussion in this video Approaches to notes and minutes, part of Business Apps for SharePoint Monthly.
- [Instructor] I'm going to show you this month how to use a site notebook and customize that notebook to capture some of your team's items that aren't deliverables. But there's more than one approach to this, and I'd like to discuss both approaches, because you might have a reason to make a different choice than I'm making, for your particular team. Before using OneNote, actually before OneNote even existed, we had the ability to customize libraries. And this remains one way to capture documents for a team.
The benefits of a custom library are that if you have existing Word templates that you're using for minutes and notes, document templates, normally in Word, that your organization requires you to use, it's easy enough to align those with content types, or if you only have one for minutes, to make that the default template for your library. Those templates of course then can be branded and highly customized. When you are storing documents in a library, you can require metadata for a document to be stored and checked in.
And your documents that are created using Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, and the other products are formatted to look really good in print. Custom libraries and the documents in them are as easy to use as the templates are to use. If your organization does not have a practice of using OneNote, if OneNote is confusing for your users, or again, if you have a number of required templates that you need to use in your project or in your practice, your business needs might drive a decision to use a custom library to capture your formal minutes, for example.
Site notebooks also allow you to create and assign templates but those templates will be templates that are created for Microsoft OneNote. They can also be branded and customized, the ones that already exist are customized but they're not normally branded. I'll say more about that in a moment. You can't easily require metadata for people who are collaborating in OneNote. That's not how it's set up. You can however encourage the use of tags. And OneNote is tracking who is modifying, not just a document, but a particular section of a document.
So if you have a need to know who has modified parts of a document, if you were using a custom library, then you would need to turn on tracking in your Word documents, for example. You could use versioning at the document level. But OneNote is managing both of those quite well for you. One of the downsides of OneNote is, it doesn't print beautiful documents. Documents that are created in OneNote are really meant to be shared on screen or viewed, not printed, which is one of the reasons that very few organizations that I work with have taken the time to create branded templates for OneNote, even though they have customized their OneNote templates.
And OneNote is actually as easy to use, if not easier to use, than Microsoft Word or Microsoft Excel. It's just that our users don't tend to have a lot of experience with it. This month's app focuses on the modifications that you can make to a site notebook, to capture minutes and notes for your team. And in a future app, we'll revisit the notion of using custom libraries for formalized templates in organizational life.