As any creative professional knows those blinding moments of insight and business genius rarely arrive at a designated time. You can devote countless hours of your working day to planning and researching a project yet inspiration still singularly fails to strike. Chances are you will be on the tube or unwinding at home when that really great idea hits you and this can leave you in a quandary; do you start drafting a painstaking official document when its not especially convenient to do so or do you leave the idea for the time being in the hope you can remember it later on?

Microsoft Office OneNote is the answer to these daily problems, essentially being the computing equivalent of a pen and exercise book. Designed for quick input of unpolished ideas OneNote's interface even looks like a ring binder, or, more specifically, three ring binders all colour coded and fully customizable. Each folder has a series of 'dividers' on its interface that can be easily edited, moved and generally manipulated to suit your train of thought.

There is no overarching format to be adhered to in the same way that there is when dealing with official document forms in Microsoft Word. OneNote will not try to rejig or realign your text to suit a standard template, recognising that note taking is a hurried, stream of consciousness activity and everybody has their own methods.

But why not just use a physical pen and paper rather than a virtual one? They are generally more often to hand than a laptop and as long as you can read your own handwriting who cares if you get your thoughts down in a scrawl rather than an attractive font? It's a fair point, but Microsoft OneNote is not just a blank page. Say you have two connected ideas at different times or the initial idea leads on to a subsidiary idea of its own. With a real notebook these linked thoughts could be separated by many pages and thus lose their context and relevance to each other but OneNote gives you the facility to create sub-pages to ensure that interconnected information is always physically linked and put into context.

Another excellent development in the 2007 version of OneNote is its ability to accurately reproduce pasted items with little or no corruption. This is invaluable when collecting data and information from a variety of sources and OneNote is equally reliable dealing with both text and graphics. Links are also provided to the source material making it easy to return to the original web page.

Less formal and professional than its counterparts in the Microsoft Office suite OneNote is actually one of the most invaluable programs of them all. It works the way that people work; immediately and haphazardly and ensures that your incredible revelations are not lost in the middle of a dog-eared notebook or the inner recesses of your memory. To learn about OneNote's advanced settings and abilities it is wise to enrol on a training course as there is much more to this little program than meets the eye.