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Microsoft OneNote 2010 : Inserting Documents and Files (part 1) - Inserting a Copy of a File on a Page

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4/22/2014 2:41:53 AM

As I often say, one of my favorite features in OneNote 2010 is the ability to drop virtually any content into my notebook and keep it there, along with everything else that relates to a particular project or subject. I don’t have to worry about file names, file versions, accidentally overwriting newer information with old, or any of the usual housekeeping issues that come with manually managing files and folders on my hard drive. You’ve already seen how easy it is to collect information from text and pictures on websites, but what about information that exists in the files and documents that you use every day?

With its tight integration with Microsoft Office and Windows, OneNote 2010 can intelligently work with all of your computer files in a variety of ways. You can attach documents, spreadsheets, presentations, and other files much in the same way you would attach them to an e-mail message. You can also virtually “print out” your files in such a way that they appear visually in your notes—much like printouts appear on paper—allowing you to annotate their content by typing, writing, or drawing over it.

The combination of OneNote’s sophisticated file import and management features gives you a whole new level of paperless reviewing and editing possibilities that doesn’t quite exist in any of the other Office applications.

Inserting a Copy of a File on a Page

The easiest way to keep existing content from a computer file together with your notes is to insert a copy of the file on a page in your notebook.

To insert a copy of a file on a page, follow these steps:

1.
If necessary, navigate to the page where you want to insert a copy of one of your computer files, such as a Word document, an Excel spreadsheet, a PowerPoint presentation, and so on.

2.
On the ribbon, click the Insert tab.

3.
In the Files group, click Attach File.

4.
In the dialog box that opens, navigate to the folder where the file you want is located and then select one or more files that you want to insert into your notes. To select a single file, click it once. To select multiple files in a list, hold the Ctrl key while single-clicking one file after another.

5.
Click Insert to import the selected file or files.

OneNote can insert any file that Windows understands. When you insert a file from your computer or a file server into OneNote, the original file still exists in its original location. OneNote merely makes a copy of the file and then stores that copy as part of your OneNote notebook.

It’s important to understand that there is no magical link between any file on your computer that you then import into OneNote. Attaching a file in OneNote makes a copy of the original file, leaving you with two independent copies of the same file.

If you update the original file on your computer, the copy that you imported into OneNote is never automatically updated. Likewise, if you open and edit the copy of the file in OneNote, the original version of the file on your computer remains as it was before.


Importing copies of documents to keep them handy for reading and referring to is probably the easiest use for imported files, and one that doesn’t require much thought. However, for any files you’re still actively working on, or files that you actively share and revise together with others, you’ll need to decide which version of the file is considered your master document. For example, you could consider the original file on your hard drive or network server to be the master file and the copy you insert into OneNote as your backup of that file.

When you attach a document or file to a page in your notebook, its icon appears where you placed the copy of the file. These document and file icons work much the same way as they do in Windows. To open an attached file from within OneNote, double-click its icon and the content of the file will be opened in the program with which that file is associated (see Figure 1).

Figure 1. OneNote lets you attach documents and files to your notes so you can keep everything related to a particular project or subject together in one place. To open an attached file from within OneNote, double-click its icon.


For example, if you installed OneNote 2010 on your computer as part of a Microsoft Office 2010 suite, documents and rich text files will typically open in Microsoft Word, spreadsheets and workbooks will open in Microsoft Excel, slide decks and presentations will open in Microsoft PowerPoint, and so on.

Other, non-Office file types will work similarly. For example, Portable Document Format (PDF) files will open in Adobe Acrobat Reader, if you have it installed. In some cases, such as with image files, the result of double-clicking a file icon depends on which program is registered to handle such files on your computer.

For example, on a normal Windows installation, double-clicking a JPEG file will open in Windows Photo Viewer. However, if you have an image-editing program like Adobe Photoshop installed, it will open the file instead. If need be, you can edit these file associations in Windows to select certain programs to handle certain file types. OneNote will use whatever default file associations that Windows has registered.

When you double-click a file icon in OneNote to view the information it contains, you have the option of editing that version of the document or file. For example, if you double-click a text file you’ve inserted and it opens in Windows Notepad, you can modify the text while the file is open by typing new text or changing and deleting existing text. When you click Save, the copy of the file attached to your page in OneNote is modified. Because you work outside of OneNote whenever you do this, you cannot undo such changes.

Until you’re sure you understand how the content of imported files is managed, be sure to keep backups of the original versions of your imported files or be sure to only open and view imported files without changing them.

 
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