Microsoft OneNote Audio linking ideas

This article is for those who already use OneNote and know how to incorporate audio recordings while taking notes. As you know, OneNote Audio linking works automatically while you are capturing notes.  If you want to know what was being spoken at the point where you noted down something, just click the play button which appears next to each item on mouse hover.

OneNote Audio linking

In this article, we will use this feature to get some additional benefits.

To learn how to use Audio recording in OneNote, read this article: Never miss important points during a meeting. Use OneNote audio recording.

OneNote Audio linking to Slides

While other’s present slides, you do not have that slide deck. Nor do you want to take notes about every slide being presented. If you like a particular slide, you should take notes along with audio linking. Assuming audio recording is already on, you just have to take a photo of the slide and insert it into OneNote. If you are using the App version, there is a built in Photo from camera option. Else capture it using some camera app and insert it into OneNote.  Audio will link automatically to the slide. Now you can refer to that slide along with the audio description of the slide exactly as the presenter delivered.

OneNote Audio linking to Parts of the slide

Sometimes slides are complex and show lots of components, architecture, process steps and so on. In such cases, linking audio to the entire slide is not useful because the presenter may spend lot of time on that slide. We need to link audio to individual parts of the slide. However, the slide is a single picture. How to link to subset of the picture or specific areas of interest?

The answer is simple. Draw some shape on top of each area of interest. You could use stylus to circle around the step of the process or interesting component in architecture diagram. If you do not have stylus, just draw an arrow using Draw Tab – Shapes – Choose arrow. Draw the arrow on top of any part of the slide while the presenter is describing it.  This way, audio will link to specific parts of the slide.  Of course, you could double click on that area and type text as well.

OneNote Audio linking to parts of a slide

Just to go one step further – and trust me – you would never have thought of it – what if it is a really complex diagram and the presenter is explaining one component very quickly. Now you cannot keep pace with the drawing of the arrow because it takes a few clicks to go to the shapes area again and again.

Unbelievably, this has also been thought of. Open the Dropdown next to the Shapes list and choose Lock Drawing Mode. Now choose the arrow and draw it. Lock drawing mode keeps the mode alive. That means when you finish drawing an arrow, you can draw another arrow and another and another … till you press Esc (or disable that option). Amazing stuff. Works in all Office products. In most cases, this option is available in Right click menu.

Lock drawing mode option

OneNote Audio linking to Attendee Intros

Often, we are part of a multi-party meeting where most people are unknown to you. At the beginning of the meeting, there will be a round of introductions. The question is, are you going to remember who is who?

I am sure you have tried to quickly note down the intros – and miss some detail in the process. Even if you write notes very fast, you cannot correlate the introduction text to that person’s face. Remember that people often change places as well.

So here is the solution. It is so elegant that you will curse yourself for not doing it earlier. Practice it couple of times and you will perfect it.

At the beginning of the meeting take photos of people around the table. (Take permissions from the if required).  Paste the photos into the OneNote page (or capture it directly using OneNote App).

Start recording the audio and wait for introductions to start. Whenever someone starts introducing himself/ herself, just draw an arrow pointing to that person on the photo. Continue that process for each person. If required you can also scribble some important tag, description, name or designation.

OneNote Audio linking to people attending the meeting

Now, the arrows will be linked to the audio automatically. After the introduction, STOP recording. Of course the meeting has not ended yet. In fact, it has just started. So why Stop recording? Because we want the person related intro to be available DURING the meeting. If you do not stop the audio recording, you do not get the pay button next to each arrow.

Therefore, the correct way is – record the audio for introductions and link them using arrows. Stop recording. Now start recording again for the rest of the meeting notes. Yes, one page in OneNote can have multiple audio or video recordings. All are correctly linked to typed text or drawn shapes.

What next

Understand the core concept of OneNote Audio linking: Any part of any visual can be linked to audio or video by using some annotation as the anchor.

You can apply this concept to many different scenarios and use cases. Think about it. Try it out and post where you applied this concept. Other readers will benefit from this.

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