A more complete OneNote solution for your iPad: PrintCentral and MobileNoter

Aside from Windows 7, my favorite Microsoft product is, by far, OneNote.  OneNote is a terrific note taking and life organizing tool.  Unfortunately, it is currently a Windows only product.  There is a Windows Mobile client, but I no longer use a Windows Mobile device.  I use the Palm Pre and, now, the Apple iPad.  I have been using Evernote in conjunction with OneNote to get data on and off of my Pre.  Since Evernote has the web based sync, this has worked, though it is a bit cumbersome. 

Recently, I wrote about MobileNoter, a quasi OneNote client for the wonderful iPad.  Unfortunately, the current version presents a one way ticket: you can get your OneNote notebooks onto the iPad, but you cannot create them on the iPad.  I also wrote about another iPad called PrintCentral.  These two products let me cute the Evernote cord, for the iPad, at least.

MobileNoter and PrintCentral both require Windows client software in order to work.  The two will also allow and almost complete trip for your OneNote needs.   At least, however, until either Microsoft releases an iPad client and/or MobileNoter is updated to allow two way creation.  Until then, here’s how I am using the two applications, on the iPad, to complete my OneNote needs and, best of all, it works over the internet.  (Microsoft has a web based version of OneNote that is about to be released, though.)

sendtoOneNoteInet First, you will need to purchase and install both applications.  Once you have done that, you need to set up PrintCentral to work with a proxy.  I have a Gmail account that I am using.  Set up your GMAIL account in PrintCentral by selecting a file to print.  When the print dialog pops up, add another printer by tapping ‘Choose’, then the plus sign in the upper right corner.  Tap the ‘print via 3g’ button and fill out the dialog and tap Save.  Once that is done, download and install the Windows client.  Once installed, configure it to monitor the gmail inbox.  Do this by clicking the ‘printing over 3g’ tab, then click Settings, then Printing via proxy.  Fill in the boxes and click save.  Once you have configured both the the Windows and iPad clients, you are ready.

Make sure the OneNote printer driver is also installed, this is how PrintCentral will get your data into OneNote.

PrintCentral has the ability to export to various file formats, including PDF.  It also features a built in browser.  Since most of what I want to put into a OneNote notebook is either a web page or text, PrintCentral can do this quite easily. 

First, lets look at putting plain text into a OneNote Notebook.  Copy some text to the clipboard and start PrintCentral.  At the bottom of the PrintCentral window, you’ll see a line of icons. Tap the next to last icon, it says ‘clipboard’. You will then see an archpage_viewive your last few clipboard clippings. Select the clipping by tapping in the little square next to the clipping.  Now, tap the printer icon.  Select the ‘Send to OneNote’ that has ‘proxy’ under the title.  Now, tap ‘Print’.  Off it will go.

Next, lets send a web page to OneNote.  The process is similar.  This time, though, you will use the built in browser. Navigate to the page you wish to send, tap the printer and select your OneNote proxy.  Tap Print and off it goes.  Simple.

MobileNoter also has the ability to sync over the web.  There is a monthly fee for this ability and if you are on the road a lot and need to stay in sync, this is the way to go.  The cost is reasonable, but I don’t need the ability enough to justify yet another subscription.  The method I outline here is sufficient to get data into my OneNote notebooks for now.  Once the Microsoft solution is live, I’ll re-evaluate. 

I will continue to use these two products, even after the Microsoft site is live.  PrintCentral can send documents to any Windows printer, including the XPS and PDF drivers, OneNote, fax, etc.  The GMail integration is a clever workaround as is the webdav method.  The more I use PrintCentral, the more I find it invaluable while MobileNoter does a great job at presenting my notebooks.  These two apps alone make the iPad a nice productivity enhancing tool.

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