A “Send to OneNote 2007” print driver solution for 64-bit Windows

Okay... to be fair to our Marketing folks, the truth is out there:

The fine print

It’s always been out there. This is what you see printed on the spine label of any Office 2007 retail package that contains OneNote 2007. You can read this label if you happen to hold an actual product box in your hand at your local Office Depot or Staples. But how many of us still buy software in a brick-and-mortar store? What if you buy it online or it came preinstalled on your computer? What if you downloaded the OneNote trial version and then converted it to the full license? Chances are, unless you enjoy hunting down and reading fine print as a hobby, you probably never saw the advisory. And even though this information was also disclosed on our Web site, it’s probably just as unlikely that you saw it there.

Hands down, the “Send to OneNote 2007” print driver feature has become one of OneNote’s most popular features. It works as an extension to the printing system built into Windows. But instead of pressing ink onto paper in a real printer, it lets any application on your computer send (“print”) information directly to the electronic pages of your OneNote notebooks:

The Send to OneNote 2007 print driver

This is magical. In addition to saving a ton of paper, you can do many convenient things with this option, such as printing presentation handouts from PowerPoint directly into OneNote without using a single drop of ink, and then annotating and taking notes on your presentation right there in your notebook. (Never done this? See it in action in this video demo, inspired by former Microsoft business division president Jeff Raikes.) Think of it as a “reverse import,” which gives you more control over how you can send stuff into OneNote. The thing is, once you start to appreciate this feature, you’ll never want to give it up.

Back in 2004, when we began working on Office 2007, true 64-bit operating systems were still only a tiny blip on the collective tech radar and entirely absent from the consumer mainstream. What a difference a few years has made! Most national PC retailers like Amazon, Best Buy, Sony, Gateway, HP, Dell, Alienware, and others now routinely preinstall 64-bit versions of Windows on their computers. The “Ultimate” edition of Windows Vista already contains both the 32-bit and the 64-bit DVDs in the same retail package for those customers that want to eventually upgrade. OneNote users who have been doing just that have been left wondering what the hell happened to the OneNote print driver they’ve grown to love. And no amount of fine print on the box was going to tip them off.

I’m very pleased to announce that my esteemed colleague David Rasmussen, the Principal Group Program Manager here on the OneNote team, has developed a solution to the conundrum. It allows users of 64-bit versions of Windows Vista (all editions) and also of the Windows 7 Beta to use the Send to OneNote 2007 print driver functionality on their systems.

First, make sure you’re running a 64-bit version of Windows by performing a quick and simple verification check on your computer.

To do this, follow these steps:

  1. In Windows Vista (or Windows 7 Beta), click the Start button on the Windows task bar.

  2. On the right side of the Start menu, right-click the word Computer and then click Properties on the shortcut menu that appears.

  3. In the System window that appears, scroll down to the “System” section and note the “System Type” indicated there:

    Identifying your edition of Microsoft Windows

    • If the operating system type shown is 32-bit, you do not need the OneNote print driver fix mentioned in this post.

    • If the operating system type shown is 64-bit, keep reading.

When you’ve made certain that your computer is indeed running a 64-bit version of Windows, head on over to David’s blog to learn how to download and install his solution.

Please note that this is not an official fix, which means that no technical support can be offered for this download. Some of you may still encounter issues, depending on your particular system configuration. For most of you, however, David’s solution should restore one of your favorite OneNote features. Many thanks to David for working diligently towards a solution and making it available for the benefit of OneNote fans everywhere.

If you do happen to run into issues while testing this solution, have general questions, or just want to leave David some well-deserved kudos, please be sure to leave him direct feedback by posting a comment on his blog.

A couple of things in closing:

  • If you’re running a 32-bit version of Windows XP or Windows Vista and the Send to OneNote 2007 print driver feature appears to have stopped working, please see OneNote Program Manager Daniel Escapa’s September 12, 2008 blog post about a separate, unrelated situation that may have been caused by a particular update for Microsoft Office 2007 for a limited number of users.
  • If you want to read a brief history of why a 64-bit version of the OneNote print driver has been challenging to develop, you can read David Rasmussen’s April 21, 2008 blog post for an explanation of what’s involved. (He has since updated this archived post with a link to the new solution he just posted.)

I hope many of you will benefit from David’s solution. Please remember... keep the conversation going! Talk to us on our blogs and let us know how you use OneNote, what you love about it, and what you’d like to see in future versions.