OneNote, Wait I can do what with OneNote?

 I often get asked what my favorite Microsoft products are. I happily respond with expected Office 365, Microsoft Azure, and Xbox One. The product that always surprises my customers the most is that I list OneNote near the top of that list. In the last few years more government customers are becoming truly aware to the power of OneNote. However, there are still far too many government customers who know OneNote as that "app I that's part of the Office install." OneNote is the digital note-taking app for your devices. Where you can capture thoughts, ideas, to-dos, and everything else in one place. You can use OneNote anywhere and share your notes with anyone. This blog post isn't going to be focused on "Getting Started with Microsoft OneNote" or "OneNote Tricks to make you an Instant expert" or even how the Cincinnati Country Day School is using OneNote and the Surface Pro 3 to change the dynamic of technology in education.

No, this post is about the extensibility of OneNote. It's also about the ability to incorporate mobility into daily process. In fact some of OneNote's best capabilities are enabled through the ability to leverage so many great integration points built by  customers and partners alike. Like many products in the Office and Office 365 family there is an API to allow for integration points. For Government customers this can be a critical differentiator when evaluating technology. In my many years as both a Government customer and a technologist selling to Government customers I can tell you one incontrovertible fact. The more a piece of technology is capable of doing, the more it can evolve, integrate and grow with a customer, the easier it is to gain buy in to use the technology. One of the most pervasive demonstrations of how extensible the API is for OneNote is the ability to scan directly into OneNote.

The ability to scan is often critical for most Government organizations. While many strive for a paper free office, it is often not always quickly achievable without the ability to find true integration into the technologies used every day. One of the great partners Microsoft has in this space is Brother Technologies. Brother is one of several companies who have developed "Scan To" applications for Microsoft products like OneNote and OneDrive. The ability to quickly turn paper into an electronic file and turn around and be able to leverage that in creative ways starts to make Office modernization a reality. To that end I have asked Steve Feldstein Director of Laser and Scanner Products at Brother International, to add a few thoughts to this post about how Brother has approached finding new ways to extend your investment into Microsoft technologies like OneNote.


 Brother International Corporation recently updated their ADS-1500W and ADS-2500W wireless-enabled scanners to support direct scanning to OneNote, and released their first color laser all-in-ones to support direct scanning to OneNote, the MFC-L8600DW, MFC-L8850CDW, and MFC-L9550CDW. Using these devices to scan directly to OneNote can help virtually everyone in your office convert paper documents into electronic files and make them available for online sharing and collaboration. Once scanned into OneNote, files can be organized in notebooks and conveniently accessed by authorized users through Windows, Windows Phone devices, iOS devices (iPhone and iPad), Android devices, and through a browser with OneNote Online.

 Scanning documents into OneNote is an ideal way to share information between multiple branches of the same office, a mobile sales team or other professionals deployed in the field – even members of a global workforce! OneNote enables genuine collaboration by giving multiple users the ability to modify and edit documents with their notes, thoughts, pictures, tables and more. Used in conjunction with these Brother Scanners and All-in-Ones, OneNote can create an open, collaborative working environment where hardcopy documents are transformed into digital files where ideas are exchanged freely, and not limited by location, time differences, or operating systems.

In addition to direct-to-OneNote scanning, these Brother Scanners and All-in-Ones offer the flexibility of wireless networking, cloud connectivity, and an intuitive color touchscreen display. Both the ADS-1500W and ADS-2500W can also scan directly to OneDrive and SharePoint, making it an ideal compact scanner for businesses that use the Microsoft portfolio.

–Steve Feldstein


As I mentioned Brother is one of the many companies who have developed solutions to integrate into OneNote. What I think is truly pervasive is that companies like Brother have incorporated the shift towards a more mobile world into how they integrate into technologies like OneNote. You saw in the video that devices like the Brother ADS-1500W , and its slightly larger cousin, the ADS-2500W, scanner did not even need to be connected to a PC. The possibilities to leverage the more mobile Government workforce grow exponentially when you can start to cut cables and complex setup. In the future we will offer some addition context around the challenge of moving away from a paper driven workforce in your move to the cloud. Products like OneDrive for Business and SharePoint online offer powerful document management and storage capabilities and we will dive deeper on how Government organizations can take their documents, paper or electronic, and add the retention and compliance capabilities they need in a rapidly available way.

For more information the technologies we have talked about today please visit: OneNote: Official Website or the OneNote Blog and

Comments (3)

  1. Bill Flemiing says:

    Clear and intelligent article, thanks.
    I would appreciate your update of 2014 article in view of OneNote 2016 elimination of scan input.
    We got Office 2016 as part of O365. And have the Brother ADS-1500W.
    Also your insights into scanning into SharePoint libraries including OneDrive for Business?

  2. Greg Sohl says:

    Great idea to use OneNote as a scanned document database. OCR, full text indexing and search all built in. Folder structure and deep hierarchy. Its really got it all, even without a UI specifically dedicated to the task.

  3. Kevin Harrison says:

    Would be brilliant if you could have handwriting on iPads. My whole company would use it then, instead we have to use Evernote.

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