OneNote PowerToys

http://www.brains-N-brawn.com/oneNoteToys 11/21/2005 casey chesnut


my Tablet PC (Fujitsu Sylistic ST4110) is one of the 1st generation; released around March 2003, making it 2.5 years old. i love it, but it sucks compared to the new ones. i could buy one ... but i'm such a software guy that i despise buying hardware. actually, i'm such a software guy, that i pretty much don't buy any physical goods. the Tablet i've got now was actually an award for being a Tablet MVP. instead ... i attempted to win one by submitting 2 entries to the OneNote PowerToy Contest

they both lost :( pretty surprised that the Importer wasn't even a semi finalist. at least the Transcribing one was a semi finalist, so it did earn me a copy of Visual Studio ... like i need that :) not sure its worth my tax money or time to get the acceptance form notorized to even collect? anyway, you can get both PowerToys i created below. spent about 4 hours on each.

Journal Note Importer

this will take a legacy Journal Note file and import it into OneNote. its just a rehash of my MSDN article : Converting Journal Notes to XML, SVG, and OneNote. wasn't sure i could even submit it, because i got paid for it in article form, but i wrote Chris Pratley and he thought it was fine since i'd never released it in binary form.

tried this out on all the Journal Notes i could find and they were all imported as expected. the only expected import differences might be with RTF text that has been heavily decorated with styles.


the screen shot below shows a JournalNote and the same note imported into OneNote

this pic shows that it also works with Note Printer

NOTE this needs the Tablet SDK 1.7 installed and the Journal Reader Supplement. the Recognition Pack might need to be installed as well, if you aren't doing the conversion on a Tablet PC

Transcribe Audio Recordings

this is some functionality that i always wanted in OneNote. the current version of OneNote will let you record audio and take notes at the same time. the cool thing about this is that the audio and notes are time synched. so if you select an ink note, then the audio will start playing at the point where you took that note. the problem is you can only search based on the ink notes, it does not search the actual audio. that is where the PowerToy comes into play. all it does is use SAPI to attempt to transcribe the audio and then inserts the recognized text into OneNote. this gives you a textual transcription of the audio and it also lets you jump around in the audio by selecting the text. the only problem is that SAPI 5.1 transcription isnt that great ... come on Vista! Vista will have SAPI 5.3, which will be much better. personally, i'd rather have bad transcription, than none at all. anyway, you results will get better with 5.1 if you train your speech profile. NOTE it will be trained specifically to your voice. the next version of OneNote does something similar. it still does not transcribe the audio to text, but it does allow you to search the audio based on phoneme matching.

this PowerToy is more like a proof of concept. you have to be real forgiving to the recognized results from SAPI to consider it usable. this might be worth revisiting with SAPI 5.3 of Windows Vista since OneNote 12 won't offer transcribing to text (only phonemes for searching).


this screen shot shows the transcript for a news item I dictated


NOTE this requires the SAPI 5.1 runtime to be installed. Tablet PCs should already have this installed