Microsoft Word’s Notebook View: A new way students note take in the classroom

Posted on: March 4, 2013 | By: Casey Brown | Filed under: Tech Tips

Historically, Microsoft Word has been the most popular word-processing program among computer users. Screen Shot 2013-03-04 at 3.56.08 PMUsers for this program range from business professionals writing important documents to undergraduate students writing a term paper to writers working on their next big story. Almost anyone can find a way to use Microsoft Word. However, for Mac computer users, Microsoft Word provides another feature that can be useful for students: the Notebook View.

The Notebook View

The Notebook View in Word visually looks like a notebook, with tabs on the side to split up notes in one document file. The feature, as advertised on its website, is best for taking notes during meetings and classes as well as making outlines. These features, along with some others, are appealing to the busy college student, and some Elon students have already utilized the feature in their academic lives.

Using Notebook View for written notes

Diane Bui, a junior business major with a minor in early education, acknowledges she is a disorganized person. In the past, she has struggled with keeping her files in order, whether they were physical copies or digital files. That is why Notebook View works for her; it offers her an easier way to organize.

“I found it very convenient to take notes on, as the subjects of the class or even different classes can be easily divided yet all in the same document,” Bui said. “No more searching for random files. It definitely helps me stay organized.”

The specific features of the program and the view’s easy-to-use nature make it Bui’s favorite way to take notes in the classroom.

“I love how easily you can create tabs and sections to continue the document,” Bui said. “This is very convenient, as my notes are in the same document. It’s also fairly easy to convert it back into a word document for easy printing. Not many of my professors have told me specifically to use the Notebook Layout, but I feel like it is the easiest way to take notes on a computer.”

Using Notebook for audio notes

Madison Smith, a sophomore English literature major, considers herself a traditionalist when it comes to writing notes. She prefers to do it by hand. However, Notebook View appeals to her because of its audio feature. With the Notebook View, users have the option to record audio notes to accompany their written notes.

“I started using Notebook View because I took a class that was very lecture and discussion-based,” Smith said. “A lot of times it was hard to keep up by hand writing notes, so this allowed me to type notes and record the class so I could go back and listen again.”

The audio notes were extremely beneficial for Smith during her Media Writing course last semester. As a student in a class that heavily relies on students to attend speakers and write articles, Smith liked the audio feature, so she could get accurate quotes and keep up with the information during lengthy speeches.

“Whenever I had to cover an event or interview someone, Notebook View made it 12 times easier,” Smith said. “I could type notes and record the event. One of the great things about Notebook View is that if it recognizes words in your typed notes and matches them up with the words it recognizes in the recordings. So it makes it super easy to find certain parts in a longer recording.”

A few kinks

Both Smith and Bui agree that the Notebook View could improve some of its features.  For Smith, it is the fact that a user cannot personalize the bullet format to fit his or her note-taking style. For Bui, it is trying to record and type notes simultaneously.

“I don’t know if this is a Microsoft issue, but typing and recording at the same time definitely do not work well together,” Bui said.

Overall, the two agree that Microsoft Word’s Notebook View has a variety of benefits for their academic work. While Notebook View is only available for Mac users, PC users can find a similar program via Microsoft OneNote.

Casey Brown

Casey Brown

Casey Brown is the Writing Intern for Technology with Elon University's Teaching and Learning Technologies Department.

More Posts

Follow Me:


One response to “Microsoft Word’s Notebook View: A new way students note take in the classroom”

  1. Antonio Izzo says:

    This is a great resource! I’ve used this before for my personal class notes. The hierarchical bullet list that can be collapsed easily is also very helpful in structuring lectures.