Friday, May 14, 2010

OneNote 2010 - None of My Feature Requests Made the Cut

OneNote is probably my favourite desktop program of all time.  So I was really looking forward to some upgrades to OneNote in the 2010 edition.  Unfortunately, none of the features I was hoping to find were added in the new release.  Here’s a short list of things I was hoping to see:
  • Smart shapes.  I want to be able to draw a crude looking box and have it magically transform into a rectangle shape.  Same goes for circles, diamonds and other commonly found diagram shapes.
  • Connectors.  I want to be able to connect these shapes using smart connectors.  Yes, I could switch over to Powerpoint, but this is something I’m doing in a classroom, on the fly, and I’m recording notes at the same time, so I want it in OneNote.
  • Mindmaps.  Mindmapping is one of my favourite ways to take notes in a lecture.  My favourite mindmapping software (and believe me, I’ve looked at them all) is Mindjet’s MindManager.  I’d really like it if the basics of MindManager were baked right into OneNote.  That’s probably overly ambitious, but hey, I want what I want.
  • Gestures.  Okay, I know that I’m the only one in the world that still wants pen-based computing to work.  But come on Microsoft, you had the answers at hand.  InkSeine was a great piece of software that offered some OneNote-like functionality with a pen-centric approach to accessing menus, etc.  It was so cool!  If the interface for OneNote worked more like InkSeine, you might have the cool software needed to dominate pen or touch-based computing for the student world.

Office 2010 fixes interface mistakes of 2007

For anyone that became very familiar with Office 2007, the upcoming Office 2010 will not seem very different.  There are “wow” moments in the latest version.  Instead, the new version is mostly focused on undoing the mistakes of Office 2007, and making it easier for the legions of people who never switched to the ribbon interface of ’07 to do so now.  Gone is the big ball that replaced the “file” menu in 2007.  In its place, there is a file tab which has the predictable features one would expect.  Thus 2010 provides a smoother upgrade path from 2003 and earlier versions of Office.  If you’re relatively new to 2007, you should probably get the beta and start learning 2010  now.  It’ll save you a few moments of frustration.