Using OneNote during a conference

Updated: November 2022.

It all started out with a tweet by Simon Bisson:


I really liked that idea, but I could not very well imagine how it worked exactly. And as this is another way I can make work easier for my colleagues, who generally do not have the time or the interest to find out these things, I decided to try it and write it all down. The Office 365 and SharePoint Connect conference in Haarlem was a good moment to test it all, using a tablet, but it works the same on a PC.

Any time before the conference (it can be NOW)

Practice with capturing and inserting an image in OneNote from your smartphone. It takes a few steps, and the more familiar you are with the process, the faster you will be at the time of the conference.

I could not find any recent instructions, so I created them myself (iPhone only)

  • Go to iPhone Settings > OneNote > allow camera and microphone (mobile data optional, depending on your experiences with conference wifi). You can also do this when you are in OneNote, you will be prompted.
  • Open OneNote on a practice page
  • Tap on the place on the page where you want to insert the image
  • Click on the camera icon and select “Take Picture”
  • Select the “Document” option and direct your phone’s camera to the screen you want to capture. You will see a white line appear around the edges.
  • Press the picture button and you will see what you have captured within the lines. You can adjust the capture by dragging the lines with your fingers.
  • Click “Confirm” (bottom right) when you are happy with the capture.
  • You will now see the capture itself and some more editing options. Click “Done” (bottom right) when you want to add the capture to the page
  • You will go to the practice page and see that the capture has been inserted.

I have made a (silent and vertical) video of consecutive screenshots 😁

(The day) Before the conference

  • Make sure you have the OneNote app installed on your tablet/PC and smartphone, and that you are logged in on both devices with the same account.
  • Practice again by capturing your PC screen
  • Create a notebook for all conferences
  • Create a section for the next conference. From there you can create a page for each session.
I have created a Section for the Connect conference, and have one page per session.
  • Charge your devices and a power bank if you have one. It may be my iPad but it devoured battery. A charger may be useful as well, to use during breaks.
  • Clean the camera lens on your phone

Before each session

  • Make sure your devices are connected to the conference wifi
  • Create a page for the next session
  • Open tablet/PC and phone on the session’s page

During the session

  • Make notes on your tablet/PC
  • Whenever you want to capture a slide, take a picture with your phone while both phone and tablet/PC are on the session page with the cursor below the current notes. Take the picture when border is shown around the slide. The “Document” picture option appears to give the best results.
  • The picture captured in the lines will be added to the page at the place where your cursor is, on both devices.
I took the picture, focusing on the slide, and this was added to the page. See below for the original photo.

After the conference

  • Process your notes like you are used to.
  • Remove the original pictures from your phone’s photo gallery to free up space. Your slide pictures will still stay in OneNote.
OneNote-original image
This is the original picture which stays on your phone and takes up space.


I really like this option. I love the fact that the cropped image automagically appears in your notes 😊. I also like the fact that you have the slides immediately; of course, you can also wait until the organization makes the decks available, but by that time I generally no longer have the time and patience to cut and paste all this.

Watch. Intranets. Innovate.

This watch just looks smart!
This watch just looks smart!

In the old days, it was customary to receive a gold watch from your employer, after you had worked there for 25 or 40 years or when you retired.

Today, it is more likely you will receive a watch when you START your new job. It will not be gold, it will be smart. 🙂

I really like watches, but I have trouble imagining how a smartwatch could add something to my day. I have already turned most PC and telephone notifications off, because I do not want to be distracted all the time. Do I really need another kind of noise? Is there any essential functionality that would not involve a notification?

Perhaps you have other ideas. Perhaps you already have implemented smartwatch functionalities or other wearable tech on your intranet. Perhaps you have something else which is really innovative on your intranet. If you have, please think about sharing this with the world!

I am proud to be one of the judges for the Intranet Innovation Awards this year, and I am looking forward to interesting innovations on intranets and digital workplaces. I am mostly interested in “things” that improve productivity, but I am open to all good ideas :-).

What is in it for you?

As you probably know, the Awards provide a really good insight into the current state of the intranet/digital workplace. Everyone will benefit from that. But there are also benefits for yourself:

  • Describing what makes your intranet (or part of it) innovative, will make you rethink your intranet’s goals and purpose. When is the last time you did that?
  • By sharing your insights and screenshots you will contribute to the collective knowledge of all intranet folks
  • You have the chance to win a nice crystal trophy and a lot of career-enhancing attention
  • You and your intranet may turn into a good example for your peers for years to come

So come on, make some screenshots, complete and dispatch the entry form before June 6, and feel good about yourself!

How to participate:

There are five categories for the Gold Awards, and organisations can submit for one or more of these categories:

1. Core intranet functionality

2. Social, collaboration and communication

3. Business and frontline

4. Enterprise mobility

5. Intranet rework

You can find much more information, as well as useful tips, on the site.

I am looking forward to all entries!