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3Pointer:  Move Away from Notepads, Post-its and Chicken Scratch by Adopting Microsoft OneNote

Winter, 2014-2015

Where did that little piece of paper go? You know the one. It lists three things for the big meeting. And where are the brochure changes? You can see the electric blue sticky note in your mind, but you just can’t find it. Is there a black hole for socks and notes? Where’s the scribble outlining the new process, the inspiring quote, the to-do list for tomorrow? Panic. How are you going to do the to-dos IF YOU CAN’T FIND THEM?

When it comes to random writings, the game changer is called OneNote from Microsoft. Available for Android, Windows and Apple iOS devices, the cloud-based app offers up digital “notebooks” or tabs defined by how you think and what’s important to you. Examples of tabs might be weekly to-dos, meeting notes, the big project, personal stuff, goals, book project, journal, trips, favorite quotes, kids, or shopping list.

Write your note down once (the Microsoft stylus could become your new favorite “pen”) and OneNote updates all your devices instantly. Your notes are searchable, too, which makes the little-pieces-of-paper problem disappear. And, unlike paper, sharing your ideas online is easy. Just email pages to clients and colleagues. Microsoft's OneNote is wholly collaborative. For those writing procedures, company policy, books or any long document, OneNote “automatically highlights changes and lists authors of new material” (eHow).

Now, while you’re tossing out your secret stash of scratch paper (you’re so green, saving all those photocopies gone bad!), prepare for one more shocking bit of news: you may already have OneNote and not even know it ...

A full 35 percent of 3Points’ clients use Microsoft Office 365, yet only 2 to 5 percent embrace OneNote, which comes standard with the software. Why? Like anyone else, small business owners are busy. However, the productivity gain that comes from organizing your notes in one central spot might surprise you.

So, do you or don’t you have OneNote? If you have Microsoft Office 365 with an E3 plan from 3Points, you have the OneNote desktop version. If you are on an E1 plan, you can use OneNote’s web application. (Anybody can get the mobile app for free on the app store. Nice!).

Here are two quick and easy ways to see if you have OneNote. For Windows 7 users, click the start button and type “OneNote.” Look for the purple icon. For Windows 8 users, right-click the Windows icon on the bottom left of your screen and select search “OneNote” at the bar on the right. It should be listed.

OneNote integrates beautifully with other Microsoft Office products, too (eHow). But, it’s not just about shedding pieces of paper. It’s about using technology to do things you couldn’t do before. In regards to OneNote, this means storing different types of information like text, pictures, audio, and video—all in one notebook. If you’re a cross-fit fan, the analogy is perfect to help understand OneNote; just as you would work different muscles, you can use different tools to create PDF, PowerPoint and Word files with notebook contents (TechSoup).

Taking OneNote a step further, let’s say a business owner is traveling internationally without Wi-Fi access. Not a problem. Changes to OneNote are saved and everything synchronizes upon landing.

How are 3Points Clients Using OneNote?

1. A manufacturer of doors and windows traded Evernote for OneNote and loves it! It came free with their Microsoft Office 365 subscription along with OneDrive for Business, a cloud-based storage app with 1TB of space. On the job site, field personnel use iPads to take before and after pictures and notes about that job. All information is stored in a OneNote notebook. Back at the office, the person opens up the desktop computer and all the documentation is there. No need to bring a digital camera or handwrite notes on a notepad.

2. A plumbing company that uses Microsoft Office 365 equips their plumbers with OneNote for taking before and after shots of projects with easy access to them on any computer. They simply log in to the 365 portal and click on files in OneDrive and click on the OneNote database file in the web browser.

3. At 3Points, we take pictures of some pretty ugly networks. OneNote allows us to keep a scrapbook of sorts with pictures, audio and video of projects that tell a story with a happy ending: pictures showing nice, neat cabling! We type notes on our phone during walk-throughs and create lists of PowerShell commands and share this information with others on the team. When we open up our iPads and desktops, everything is there because OneNote synchronizes across all devices: mobile phone, iPad, laptop and desktop.

Technology should simplify our lives. If you put your paper notebooks side by side with OneNote, you’ll see a difference in versatility, share-ability, search-ability, and … possibility.


Andrew Mikael/eHow. What are the Benefits of Using OneNote? Retrieved from

Debbi Landshoff/TechSoup (June 28, 2012). Is Microsoft OneNote the One for You? Retrieved from


Product Focus: Pure Online Back Up

Winter, 2014-2015
By Mike Magnesen, 3Points Tech Team

Remember the price spikes on your phone bill before unlimited texting? For some companies, data backup is similar. There comes a point when “unlimited” costs less than paying as you go. Case in point: 3Points’ Pure Online Backup. The solution is an unlimited cloud-based package that provides image-based backup of your server(s) for one fixed price. Before we talk too much about backing up your data, though, let’s start at ground zero.

Small businesses have three options: image-based backups, file backups or a hybrid of both. An image-based backup is like taking a picture of your server at that moment—every piece of it. The picture is then stored in the cloud. Image-based backups are much faster to restore; typically, it requires just a few hours to get everything back to the way it should look. To restore a file backup, you have to bring in a new server, load applications, and restore files over a span of days. Many of our clients use a two-phase backup approach with image-backup onsite and file backups in the cloud.

Of course, the approach you choose dictates your investment. Image-based backups are more expensive than file backups. So, how do you decide which option is best for you?

Look at the amount of data you backed up over the past few months. If it’s trending up to a terabyte or 1000 GB, then Pure Online Backup is absolutely the way to go. You’ll be able to back up all the data you want for one fixed price. If your business is doing file backups and price is the only obstacle to image-based backups, then Pure Online Backup is a perfect solution. 

The people who see the bills will know. 3Points’ invoices show the amount of space used and overage costs. We typically favor the cloud because as your business grows, your data grows. It never gets smaller.

3Points is here to help you make the right choices that make sense for your business. Pure Online Backup isn’t for everybody, but it is right for most people. Call me or send me an email or ask your technician about the best backup strategy for you.

Mike Magnesen leads the 3Points Tech Team, a group dedicated to research and development of new technology for small business. Connect with him at: or 708.546.4945.


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