There are many bits of functionality buried in Office applications, and the typical assumption is that most people use a few percent of the functionality (though you can never be sure that it’s the same few percent used by everyone, otherwise everyone would settle for a much simpler and less functional Office suite – see Scott Adams’ The Dilbert Future, from 1997, draws a comparison with the Network Computer idea then being peddled by Scott McNealy – “many people will prefer a low-cost solution, even if it means giving up some functionality and prestige” – the answer? “one word: Yugo”).
OneNote is no exception – even heavy OneNote users will probably find useful functionality if they spend 10 minutes having a snoop around in the menus and trying stuff out. In this case, we’re talking about the more traditional Desktop OneNote app rather than the Store / Modern version. Ya falla?
Tags is a set of features you couldn’t say were hidden – they’re right in the middle of the Home tab on the Ribbon, in their own group called, er, Tags. You’ll see a supposed-to-be-easy-to-use list of common tags, a big shortcut to mark something as “To Do” and a Find Tags command. The idea is that you can select a blob of text or other object on your OneNote page, then click on the appropriate Tag to mark it as such, and recall it more easily in future.
First, let’s look at the list that’s provided by default – it has some probably pretty useful but unspecific things like “Remember for later”, but you can edit or add your own if they’re more particular to your needs.
There are a variety of ways to getting to the customize dialog – the simplest being to right-click in that list of tags and choose Customize Tags … (or just Modify the one you’re right-clicking). You’ll see a variety of things you can change about the Tag in the list, and you can also re-order the tags, and the top 9 will automatically get CTRL+number shortcuts.
Tags start to get really useful when you search for them, particularly if you use them a lot, and when you consider the relatively blunt search capabilities in OneNote (ie. It’s relatively easy to search either within the current page/section/notebook, but it can give you a huge amount of search results if you have lots of old data).
With Tags, you can scope down to a few predefined (though not customizable themselves) filters, and even create a single page referencing all of them.
One final note about Tags is that if you right-click on the list of Tags on the Home page, you’ll get the option of adding the Tag “Gallery” (as we now know the list to be called) to the Quick Access Toolbar, making it easier to select a tag for some piece of content from anywhere inside of OneNote.
Month: June 2017
Tip o’ the Week 384 – Insiders Update 16215
The Windows Insider program has over 10m participants, and after the release of the Creators Update, the heat is being turned up again as the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update starts testing.
If you’re an Insider on the Fast Ring, you can get hold of the newly-released build 16215, which contains a load of new functionality – for some more detail of what to expect, read here or see this.
There are myriad UI changes, many of them quite subtle, and Edge browser gets some interesting new features (and some returning ones) – more details here. Full release notes for the build are here.
As ever, there are a few known issues documented in the release notes. In this build, If you have multiple displays at different scale resolutions, Edge may habitually load pages at the wrong scale – so everything is either really really tiny
To workaround this, just flick to another tab and back again – and save constantly zooming in and out.
Another issue to be aware of is that after installation of 16215, you may find that Outlook won’t connect to your mailbox any more – and any attempts to create a new profile will fail.
Repairing / reinstalling Office won’t help either. Instead of going through the aggro, try a quick fix in disabling HTTP/2 on the machine:
Tip o’ the Week 383 – Windows Maps refresh
Can you remember the time when, if you wanted to know how to get somewhere, you needed to look on a paper map? Before mapping was at all available online, people would either buy paper maps or license software packages – sometimes at great expense – that had road information in a database, so they could plan journeys.
A company called NextBase released an early PC application called “Autoroute” that was bought by fleet transport managers and the likes, who might have saved time and fuel by more efficiently planning the routes that their vehicles would take. This made it worth the £500 or so that the software package cost†.
Microsoft went on to acquire NextBase and released AutoRoute in some markets, and Streets & Trips in others, and went on to sell it for the more modest £99‡.
† this figure is made up, because I can’t for the life of me find any reference to the actual cost, but I do remember it was A LOT. Like, enough to drive a lot of pirate copies…
Now AutoRoute, Streets & Trips and their more professional data analysis counterpart, MapPoint, have all shuffled off to make way for the more popular – and mostly free – online mapping tools that people use today. Microsoft acquired MultiMap along the way, to bring additional expertise and technology to the Bing Maps platform.
So, most people will now use Bing Maps or Google Maps (Street View not available in all places) for finding directions. The latter is particularly good for finding places where you don’t need to know their address; put the name of a restaurant into Google Maps in a browser, or onto the Google Maps app on your phone, and you can get directions straight there without even bothering to look it up first.
Tip: if you search for the name of a place in Bing Maps, it shows you the result in a pop-out pane on the left, but sometimes leaves you trying to zoom & scroll, zoom & scroll to get the detail around your destination… to quickly go there, click once on the title banner (“Microsoft UK” in the example below) to collapse it, and once again to bring it back – at which point, the map view should zoom to the point.
Anyway, Bing Maps is improving its ability to find stuff around any given point – nearby restaurants, attractions, parking, that kind of thing – and this has now percolated through into a nicely updated Maps application for Windows 10 and Windows 10 Mobile.
To see what version of Windows Maps you’re running, click the elipsis in the top right, choose Settings and scroll to the bottom to see the version number – at time of writing, the updated version is Maps 5.1705.1391.0 but insiders will be on a later release.
If you search for a place, or even just right-click somewhere on a map to Drop a Pin, you’ll get the option to see what’s nearby and quickly find more details, plan a route to the destination etc.
As well as integrating place info better, the Maps app also has some nice traffic reporting capabilities – if Cortana knows your home and work locations, Maps will immediately think about your commute when you click on the traffic lights icon near the top right. As well as showing a colour coded traffic map, it shows public traffic cameras and lets you easily access them.
And if you plan a route using the driving directions, you can pin that route to your Start menu if it’s one you use a lot…
Read more about other updates to Windows Maps in the recent weeks.
Tip o’ the Week 382 – F…F…Feeds in Edge
If you use the Edge browser in Windows 10 as your default (presumably by ignoring prompts on any Google property, to install and default to Chrome) then you may be familiar with the default tab behaviour, which helpfully shows you most-visited sites and also displays some “news” content below.
This “My feed” section can be a neat way to get news items of interest without having to do anything but fire up a new browser tab when you were planning to do something else anyway. Maybe distracting, though, unless you’re careful, and as well as the news, there’s plenty of click-bait garbage in there that can do just that. Who couldn’t resist naming these forgotten 1990s movies, or those car badges you don’t see any more? Or wonder what it was that happened next that shocked everyone?
There isn’t a lot of fine-tuning that can be achieved with My feed, however; a fact that’s driving people nuts on feedback forums and on the sometimes preposterously-named “Answers” forum (“please clear your browser cache, reboot, stand on one leg and rub the top of your head – that should fix it”).
Some of the feedback, though, and particularly the responses to it on the Insiders-only Feedback Hub, can be quite amusing….
The main degree of customisation you can do is to tweak the settings for what you prefer – click on the gear icon in the top right (above the Top Sites section), and choose whether you want to switch off the feed and just show Top sites or nothing. Some lanugages (not US English, oddly) allow you to choose what your favourite topics are, though deselecting some (and making the surrounding border disappear from the topic) doesn’t actually remove it from your feed – it just makes it a little less prevalent, and not quite immediately.
If you have US English set as your language, you will get a list of topics across the top of the feed to filter its contents, but in every other language it seems to be pre-sorted.
The gripes being exposed online about the feed tend to be around the nature of the news itself or in the tone and volume of the adverts (like, in the UK, do I really want Microsoft to push dodgy-sounding $30 TV antennae?).
The most annoying ads appear to be served up by Taboola and there doesn’t appear to be a way of blocking them – unless you know differently; then please write up what you did and share the info with me, whereupon kudos will be bestowed in great quantity – so if you don’t want to put up with intrustive click-bait, then your only current option is to basically switch off the feed and go somewhere else for your news (research shows many are using social media as their preferred way of hearing news, though the tide may be turning).
Maybe use a proper news web aggregator site, e.g. Bing news or this little-used one, both of which would let you filter and customise your news sources, or rely on a news app to provide you with even more control or detail (such as MSN News or Feedlab if you’re after getting your news up the RSS).
The challenge with any news feed is filtering out the fake news. Still, there’s still the odd bit of truth out there.
Tip o’ the Week 381 – Send to OneNote
OneNote is a favourite app for many people, especially if you like taking notes using a pen. With the Surface Pro announcement, it’s apparently even better with inking, even if the groovy new pen isn’t bundled with the package and only a third of existing Surface users ever pick their pen up.
There are some updates rolling out to the mobile & web versions of OneNote, that will improve a bunch of navigational and creative features, and will appear in the modern Windows app version (though OneNote 2016 will be unaffected).
As well as being a place to collaborate and store information, OneNote is a great place to dump all sorts of stuff you want to keep – from the business cards or expense receipts you might get from Office Lens, to emails or other documents you may want to associate with notes around a given topic.
If you have OneNote 2016 installed – via Office365 for example – then you’ll have a “Send to OneNote 2016” options visible in the print dialog from any application – but there’s a new Store app called Send to OneNote that does the same thing but for the modern Windows App once installed, you have another fake printer available for any app to drop a printout into OneNote.
Of course, there are other ways of getting content into OneNote – from the Share to method that was covered recently in ToW 378, to the OneNote Clipper browser extension, or even the direct email to OneNote function… all of which may both provide a more useful sharing/clipping experience, but are only usable in certain applications or ways.
The modern OneNote app keeps getting minor updates that both bring it more into line functionally with the traditional desktop OneNote 2016, but also give it a fresher UI in some respects, especially on touch or pen-friendly devices.