I really like OneNote as I can dump all my research into different sections and pages, grabbing things from the web. I can share them with colleagues which has been made easier now that OneNote can be used both off and online and there is a Chrome extension called web clipper. You need to have a Microsoft account and download the extension. The icon sits at the top of the browser and when there is something you want to keep for reading later you can choose to have the complete page or sections etc. OneNote has always been good at automatically capturing where the clip comes from with a URL but this method allows you to add to the information.
Office lens is a free app available on an iPhone, Android and Window smartphone that links to One Drive accounts and allows you to take photographs and put them straight into Microsoft Office applications. The really good thing about Office Lens is that when I take a picture of a presentation or whiteboard I can make sure it is exactly the right shape and is straight not set at an angle using the outline on the screen by selecting the document or whiteboard menu item.
Making sure the image is straight for OCR
That is really important if you are taking photos of text that you want to have read aloud later. If they appear out of focus or at an odd angle you will not be able to use Optical Character Recognition (OCR), to have the image converted to text so you can use a text to speech or screen reader application later on. Once you have taken your photo you choose which application you want to send it to and if this is Microsoft Word it will extract the text. The other options are your photos on the phone, OneNote, OneDrive, PowerPoint and Outlook or your phone mail if you want to send it as an email attachment. The app will also save it as a PDF.
Ready for exporting
The best thing I like about Office Lens is how it is linked to OneNote because I can collect all the images, notes and presentations, even photos of handwritten notes straight into my Notes folder and then I can search for them at any time, as I really have trouble remembering what I have heard in lectures etc and this process acts as a back up .
A freely available way of using text to speech in Word, PowerPoint and OneNote and even
Excel is possible thanks to the Microsoft Office ribbon command menu. You can select text and have it read back. This idea does not offer all that specialist programs can provide such as text highlighting, pausing etc. but it is a quick way to hear how a word, phrase or sentence sounds when you want a quick check.
If you go to Quick Access Toolbar in the ribbon you customise it by choosing More Commands – select ‘Quick Access toolbar’ from the menu on the left > Then go to the top of the right hand window and make sure you drop down the command list to ‘All commands’ otherwise you will not see ‘Speak’ in the list – Add it and return to your document.
When you have typed something or have a file to read – highlight the text and select the new speech bubble that appears in your Quick Access toolbar. The text will be read aloud in any voice you have chosen from the Control Panel > Speech recognition > text to speech.