Sunday, August 31, 2014

OneNote for iOS

Just like I post “linkfests” here for my archival reference and for sharing, I collect URL’s for family and friends as well.

These typically run much less technical; though admittedly more than fairly geeky.

Common subjects are interior design trends, architecture, recipes, Dr. Who fandom bits, short films, science, and faith/life-balance.

Unlike the GSD blog where they get shoved out on stage and dialog/feedback is relatively rare, these more personal links across the web are chosen with discussion and togetherness in mind. They are random encounters discovered that can be shared and reflected. We need to build out new dreams, wishes, and hopes as we re-discover the Lavie and Claus bond that isn’t centered around Alvis any longer.

The iPad makes a great platform to pull out on the couch when I’m sitting with Lavie. It’s a lot more comfortable (and feels more personal/intimate) than using either of our laptops.

Only sharing the sharing bit is a bit clunky.

I’ll send the URL collection out via email, but when we want to view the links together on the iPad, it requires opening the email client, finding the email (which can be quite buried…so it needs to be tagged/flagged), then clicking an embedded link. From there we review, then we need to return to the email client and hit the next one. Repeat.

It works but is a bit clunky.

What I wanted to do for some time is to select the HTML markup body of the email, paste it into a document editing app, then just use that as the launching place.

Probably because I’m still not very familiar with the iOS app landscape this discovery process has been more of a challenge than it should be.

My first hope was that Notability (App Store on iTunes) could handle embedded HTML markup copied and pasted. Nope.

Neither could Byword (App Store on iTunes) or Documents by Readdle (App Store on iTunes). In all cases it would strip out the HTML markup code and leave me with useless plain text.

Why was it hard to find a note-taking or document app that would keep copied HTML markup?

Eventually I found what I was looking for.

Microsoft OneNote for iPad  and Microsoft OneNote for iPhone (App Store on iTunes)

I’m very familiar with OneNote usage on the Windows desktop (I have an Office 2010 version) but didn’t think about using it on my iDevices.

One “gotcha” is that you will need to log in with a valid account to use the application. Having a Microsoft Outlook Live account makes the process very smooth. There were some extra validations and secret code-pasting required but it was easy to follow.

Once I had the application installed and linked, I tested it by copy/pasting a big block of HTML markup from one of my emails to Lavie and Alvis with tons-o-links into a fresh note page.

Hurrah! It looked like it kept the HTML formatting! I selected one of the links and it opened up quickly and perfectly in Safari.  Solution found!

I then installed the app on my iPhone. This time all I had to do was log in, no additional account validation was required second go round.

I must confess, the iPad version looks and works much more like the Windows desktop version than the iPhone version. However, having quick access to the notes is indeed handy.

To add another major boost to handy-access of things, I quickly discovered I could link the additional OneNote notebooks I have on my desktop via the OneNote 2010 application I use to both the iPad and iPhone apps. It leverages Microsoft’s OneDrive storage platform.

I’m still not ready to drink shoving all my electronic life to the “cloud”, but this is a handy start.

So, if you are looking for a way to keep HTML markup notes -- from web or email snippings -- on your iPad or iPhone, then the free OneNote iOS apps are a great option to consider. And doubly so if you have a Windows client version of OneNote 2010 or higher on your desktop.

Don’t have Microsoft OneNote for Windows desktop? Microsoft offers it for free:

Download OneNote 2013

Other platforms supported are Windows Phone, Mac, Android, Amazon, and the Web


--Claus Valca

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