Working with all your OneNote notebooks in Office 365

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OneNote is one of my favourite Microsoft products. The digital notebook has been my number one application for years now. With such a great cross-device scenario and combining it with a Surface Pro 3 it really does become a masterful tool. I’ve used it for everything from technical research, note taking in meetings and workshops and even hooked up to a projector with the Surface as a mobile whiteboard.

While I was giving a team an overview of OneNote last week a simple question was posed.

“How do you find all your notebooks in Office 365?”

One the desktop/device top

In the Office 2016 version your opened notebooks can be found listed in the Notebooks listing top left. Like the screen shot below.

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This lists the Notebooks I’ve opened and sync’d with the OneNote application.

If you’re using the Windows 10 universal app then you get the same concept from he hamburger menu.

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I personally keep a different set of notebooks sync’d between the applications. Mainly keeping the bulk in the full application and those I use on the go in the Windows App version. In Edge (Microsoft’s latest IE replacement) you can snip the page into OneNote directly. I have one notebook i use for these snippets so that’s one i sync.

So the conclusion in the desktop and device world is that you can find them if you knew of/accessed them before and opened them. There is no true ‘discovery’ that’s super obvious to an employee.

Office 365

So what’s the story in Office 365?

OneNote is listed in the App Launcher and the main Office 365 portal page by default. The Office portal looks like this.

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The App Launcher looks like this (I’ve ordered my tiles differently to default)

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And this is where life become super cool!!!

When you clicked this icon a few months ago you jumped into the OneDrive for Business notebook by default. Well now we get a splash screen with all the notebooks I have access to. VERY COOL Open-mouthed smile

This is how it looks.

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Now there are some interesting things to notice about this.

  • It is listing all my notebooks, from OneDrive for Business and my Office 365 Unified Groups and team sites. Which is giving my entire notebook estate.
  • The url is actually pointing out to the consumer services at this point. In this example it was https://www.onenote.com/notebooks?auth=2# more on that later in the article.

Clicking into a notebook takes you into the WOPI/Office Online version as you are used too. We’re now back inside our tenant by url.

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Things get even better for us…. You’ll see the splash screen now moves the ‘Quality’ notebook up the order as we’ve recently interacted with it.

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One final thing, when you’re in a notebook you can still quickly skip to another by clicking the ‘Notebooks’ link in the left hand panel. This launches the splash screen again.

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OneNote.com

Now it’s interesting to see the consumer services and the Office 365 service getting some crossover, we know it’s coming as the API is already ‘unified’ to interact with both.

When you visit www.onenote.com you can log in with either Microsoft Account or your Work account and the app will work out what to show you.

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Signing in with your Office 365 work account gives us the already familar splash listing.

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If we log in with our Microsoft Account we get our personal notebooks (from OneDrive normally).

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Wrapping it up

So hopefully this has shown some of the new updates to the OneNote experience that can be shared across the organisation. It also reinforces the value of the web application versions of the Office clients.

Introducing AddIn365

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Office 365 presents an opportunity to meet more business objectives than ever before with an ever expanding set of services. However, out-dated attitudes and practices towards implementation of the Office 365 platform make it difficult for many organisations to realise this potential.

AddIn365 offer a fresh partner perspective on how clients can maximise the return on their investment in Office 365 with a context driven approach to add-in development. This new approach takes advantage of the great new services Office 365 provides and focuses on attaining a high level of employee adoption.

Office 365 presents a unique opportunity to move beyond a fragmented digital estate; it is a platform that brings together email, enterprise search, intranet, collaboration, enterprise social network and instant messenger. Furthermore, Office 365 natively provides the tools to link to other systems with ease via features such as the app launcher. Read more about the app launcher here.

Last year Microsoft released 400+ new features to the Office 365 platform. Many of these new features are complex and make light work of providing organisation’s insights that would have cost clients millions to develop in years gone by. Delve is just one example of this high quality engineering that comes as part and parcel of the Office 365 experience; it uses machine learning to understand who you are, who your network is and to suggest content that might be useful to you that you have not engaged directly with.

Organisations have recognised the opportunity that Office 365 presents in moving away from a disjointed collection of systems to a more integrated one. According to Radicati, growth of the Office 365 market share is expected to be 20% year on year for the next four years.

In order to take advantage of the great new services available with Office 365, organisations are turning to the market which tends to offer custom development or products in response to their business requirements, both of which present challenges.

Custom development tends to be:

  • Very Sites (SharePoint) focused.
  • Bends towards developing capabilities rather than configuring what is already available. This means that organisations tend to face more cost and protracted timescales when trying to deploy Office 365 than they need to.
  • Employee adoption is a secondary consideration to development and is often glossed over altogether.

Organisations that go down the product route tend to suffer three challenges:

  • Adoption is still a problem; employees using the platform will never ‘learn’ what is available so only a portion of the product will be used.
  • Products tend to branch from the Office 365 platform; clients that have invested in off the shelf products end up on the vendor roadmap and inevitably fall behind what Office 365 natively has to offer because Office 365 is evolving at a faster pace. This limits the return on investment an organisation can get from Office 365.
  • Products also tend to be based primarily on the Sites (SharePoint) part of the platform and do not take advantage of the great new services – again limiting the return on investment an organisation can get from Office 365.

We have seen these product challenges materialise recently within the intranet space (not too long ago I counted more than 15 products). Microsoft plan to release Infopedia in early 2016 which will provide all the common requirements an organisation has of an intranet, as Chris O’Brien reports here. With a powerhouse of engineers behind it this Office 365 native intranet capability will quickly become superior to any off the shelf product or custom developed intranet in the market.

Organisations are faced with a conundrum; both custom code and many off the shelf products fail to maximise a return on what is already available in Office 365 and inherit the adoption challenge.

So, how should organisations approach rolling out Office 365, in order to take advantage of the platform’s great new services and take employees on the journey with them?

I took the decision recently to co-found AddIn365. AddIn365 is the first Microsoft partner globally to offer a range of mobile and tablet friendly Workforce Enablement add-ins, for Microsoft Office and Microsoft’s Office 365 platform.

The AddIn365 add-in approach is context driven; tailored to individual employee’s daily tasks to ensure a high level of adoption whilst making use of a cross section of Office 365’s new capabilities.

AddIn365 add-ins increase productivity around common daily tasks and in doing so improve the employee experience of work.

Our two launch add-ins are:

  • AddIn Work Hub for Office 365 which provides staff a fully personalised dashboard to facilitate individual and cross-functional coordination, whether that work is operational, customer facing or delivery orientated.
  • AddIn Document Builder which is a Microsoft Office app that enables the workforce to create high quality documents quickly, through the creation and reuse of assets.

AddIn Work Hub brings together Calendar, Outlook, Delve, Groups, SharePoint team sites, Stories and the Video Portal.

AddIn Document Builder makes the process of document creation fast and accurate in Word, Excel and PowerPoint.

My ethos behind the designs of these new products has been:

  1. Make Office 365 intuitive for staff to use by providing context-led technology, so staff want to use the platform to get their work done faster and to a higher standard.
  2. Help organisations to get even more return on their investment in the Office 365 platform by using the new services Microsoft make available to support usage of the whole platform and not just SharePoint.
  3. Keep organisations on the Office 365 roadmap with a configure over customise development approach.

I’m really excited about the AddIn365 project and will be posting further on how I have led our engineering team to produce these add-ins over the next few months.

In the meanwhile, I would encourage you to check out the AddIn365 website and follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn for regular updates.

Installing Office 2016 Preview from your tenant

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Microsoft announced the Office 2016 Preview Public Preview today during the Ignite Keynote.

You can install the Office 2016 Preview from your Office 365 tenant.

Browse to your Office 365 Settings from the context menu on the Suitebar like the screenshot below.

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From your Office 365 settings page choose ‘Software’

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Your software page will load, it lists all the machines you have installed Office on.

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Scroll down to the foot of the page.

If you have your tenant enabled for ‘First Release’ Office 2016 installation will be listed.

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Select your language and then click ‘Install’.

After about 5-10 minutes Office 2016 Preview is installed.

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NOTE: Office 2016 Preview is not being supported, so you are trying this at your own risk.