Basically there isn´t anything you really can do wrong using OneNote, except for not using it.But there are some remarkable Don’ts to consider because they will lead you into missing some of coolest features or even get you into some trouble.
Saving your notebooks outside a Microsoft platform
Sync is a feature you don`t want to miss ever after you got used to it. For being able to use this core and unique capability you have to use OneDrive (SkyDrive),OneDrive for Business (SkyDrive Pro) or a SharePoint document library. I think the new name for SkyDrive and it`s similarity to OneNote is not a coincidence. OneNote and OneDrive belong together. Sure you can use other storage locations like a local hard drive or an alternative cloud drive like Dropbox, but these are not optimized for sync over OneNote´s cache file what makes it fast and reliable.
Rely on versioning outside OneNote
Sure, SharePoint has some great document versioning capabilities e. g. comparing two major versions of Word documents, but it`s totally useless with OneNote. When you save a notebook inside a SharePoint document library, then SharePoint doesn`t have access to the OneNote native versioning capability based on sections. So it’s best practice using OneNote’s native versioning functions.
Save Office documents within a notebook
OneNote is definately not meant to use it for document management. It´s meant for informal, but business appropriate notes. Notes on a page and Office documents are not the same. That´s why they should not be mixed. Sure, you can park a truck on parking lot for motorbikes, but you shouldn’t. If you still try and insert documents into your page without at least printing it’s data to a OneNote page you can not even use OneNote search. Furthermore those attachments make the relatively compact notebook files grow extraordinarily.
Use custom tags inside a shared notebook for collaboration
Tagging in OneNote is really cool and powerful to find data you’re looking for even within a huge amount of pages. But stick to the tags that are available by default. Your set of custom tags is always stored on your local computer. So when you create and use a custom tag and use it within a shared notebook, other contributers will not have this tag in their local set of tags. You can add them separately by right-clicking as a workaround but that’s not quite easy to use. So be smart and don’t customize your set of tags for collaboration issues.
Store all your information in a single notebook
Would you put all your paper documents into a single binder? Off course not. So why put all your notes into a single notebook no matter what’s in it or how to deal with particular information? Separating into several notebooks gives you a lot of advantages like slim notebook files, good synchronization performance and presice sharing of notebooks that are meant to be shared.
Written by Karsten Ulferts