“I use OneNote for everything,” says Alex Au, Head of Web and Application Services. “For work and for study, all my notes are in OneNote. I don’t carry a notebook around anymore.” OneNote is a note-taking application that lets you type, draw, and import images, PDFs, and more. Your notes are available on your phone, tablet, laptop, and desktop. Plus, they’re searchable, so you’ll never lose track of that important piece of information.  

When you open OneNote, you can create a new Notebook or work within an existing one associated with your account. If you use the Notes tab in any of your Teams, those will appear here as Notebooks so you can work on them outside of Teams, too. Notebooks can be shared for collaboration, or private. 

Within these Notebooks, you can create Pages and organise them into Sections. Alex has set up a shared Notebook with a Section dedicated to each direct staff member. By managing the privacy settings, Alex can see everything and store all his staff meeting notes in one place while each staff member can only see their Section. “I use OneNote for all my one-on-one meetings with my direct staff,” Alex explains. “My staff can see the notes that I take during our meetings, we do it there and then, all in OneNote. The workplans are in a table format, and we can track it all in OneNote.”  

Alex has just finished postgraduate study and found OneNote’s drawing capabilities particularly useful for recording graphs and formulas – things that a keyboard often can’t capture. When combined with a tablet, like Alex’s Surface Pro, OneNote stands out as more powerful than other note-taking apps, combining many features you would expect to find in other apps into one interface. “If the lecturer draws on the whiteboard, I can draw it as well,” Alex says. “I can import a PDF or an image, then I can type on it, draw on it, whatever I may need.” 

Alex enthusiastically calls OneNote a “never ending whiteboard” and urges everyone to give it a try. “Once you set it up, once people can see how they might use it, I think people will just gravitate to it. I can’t share it fast enough.” 

Tips & tricks

OneDrive – Do you know what the OneDrive icons mean? OneDrive communicates a lot to you through these simple icons, so it’s important to understand what they mean as we all switch over from H Drive. Here are three icons that are designed to help you understand what state your files are in. 

screen-shot-2018-10-15-at-5-31-45-pmA blue cloud icon next to your OneDrive files or folders indicates that the file is only available online. Online-only files don’t take up space on your computer.

screen-shot-2018-10-15-at-5-31-36-pmA green tick icon indicates a locally available file or folder. When you open an online-only file, it downloads to your device and becomes a locally available file. You can open a locally available file anytime, even without Internet access.

screen-shot-2018-10-12-at-2-35-34-pm Files that you mark as “Always keep on this device” have the green circle with the white check mark. These always available files download to your device and take up space, but they’re always there for you even when you’re offline.

Immersive Reader

Have you heard about Immersive Reader? This full screen accessibility feature lets you personalise text size, style, and letter spacing for increased readability in apps like Word, OneNote, Outlook, and now Teams as well. Immersive Reader also lets you minimise visual distractions with Line Focus, or follow along with text-to-speech audio. To launch Immersive Reader in apps like Word and OneNote, click on the View tab and select Immersive Reader. In Outlook, select ‘Open in Immersive Reader’ from the drop down menu next to the ‘reply’ button on the email you want to view. In Teams, click on the three dots on the message you want to read, and select Immersive Reader.



Did you know that Teams has a 2500 person capacity per Team? That might seem like a lot, but sometimes you just need to reach more people. That’s why Yammer is still an important communication and collaboration platform. But you won’t have to choose between Teams and Yammer for much longer – Microsoft has announced (at last) that Yammer will be available as a tab within Teams. Learn more about this here.

Want to be featured in the next Success Story? Discovered a cool O365 tip or trick you want to share in an upcoming newsletter? Email David.Herbert@uts.edu.au! 

Want more tips and tricks? Check out the newsletter archive here


Online training – There’s plenty of training material available from Microsoft or Lynda.com on how best to use O365 apps. Why not take this Lynda.com course on OneNote to get started? Sign in with your UTS staff ID and password to access this course. 

Face to face training – Prefer face to face training? You can request a training session on Teams, Planner, OneDrive, or all three by emailing David.Herbert@uts.edu.au. To see if any training sessions are coming up, or to register, check the ServiceCatalogue in ServiceConnect.

What’s New? 

Office 365 is constantly being updated with new features to increase its functionality, making it easier to collaborate between apps and between people. Have you heard about this new feature?


Microsoft has just announced Background Blur for Teams video conferencing. It’s too late for Robert E Kelly, but it’s not too late for you! While background blur can’t promise to prevent all sensitive data (or dancing children) from being visible to other meeting participants, it can promise to limit possible distractions. Once you’re in a meeting, select More options (the three dots), and Blur my background. This feature isn’t yet available to all O365 users, but keep an eye out for it in the near future. Learn more about it here.

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