Best Add-ins and Apps That Expand Microsoft OneNote

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Improve What OneNote Can Do with These Third-party Apps and Services

OneNote Mobile
OneNote Add-ins and Extras. (c) Eva Katalin Kondoros / Getty Images

OneNote, Microsoft's note application, has become a powerful productivity tool on its own, but you can also expand it with third-party tools called add-ins, featured apps, extensions, and services.

Best of all, many of these are free!

Each of the tools in this quick slide show collection work for specific versions of OneNote, with most focused on desktop, but others may also work on mobile and web versions of OneNote.

New to OneNote? Consider checking this out first: How to Get Started in Microsoft OneNote in 10 Easy Steps.

The next slide begins with a quick overview of how to install, remove, or manage add-ins from the user interface.

Or, just skip ahead to slide 3 and start looking at the possibilities.

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How to Add or Get Rid of Add-ins in Microsoft OneNote

Adding or Getting Rid of Add-ins in Microsoft OneNote
Adding or Getting Rid of Add-ins in Microsoft OneNote. (c) Screenshot by Cindy Grigg, Courtesy of Microsoft

First, here's how to download and manage add-ins in Microsoft OneNote. Or, skip ahead to the next slide to begin looking through the list of suggested add-ins.

When I create slide show collections such as this, I typically like showing how to jump right in on downloading resources on each page, since you may not be interested in every suggestion. 

  • In the case of OneNote, managing add-ins can be slightly more complex than it is for other programs in Office, since the note program does not follow the same structure of offering an Insert - Add-in feature in some versions. For that reason, you may need to go to File - Options - Add-ins to add or remove each individual add-in. 
  • Once you are there, look for the COM Add-ins and select Go. In the dialog box that pops up, you should be able to see all existing add-ins for OneNote. You can click on one then Remove it or select Add to bring in another add-in you have downloaded and saved to your computer or device.
  • Note that some downloads require the user to know whether they have a 32-bit or 64-bit version of OneNote. Find that information by opening OneNote then selecting File - Account - About OneNote (on the right of the interface).
  • Then, look at the very top of the page that pops up to see which version you have. Knowing this helps you download the right version of some add-ins.

That should be it! Now that you know how to use add-ins in Microsoft OneNote, please click through the following slides to find recommended ones for your personal, academic, or professional note-taking projects.

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Improve Writing and Reading Skills with the Learning Tools Add-in for OneNote

Free Writing and Reading Learning Tools Add-in for Microsoft OneNote
Free Writing and Reading Learning Tools Add-in for Microsoft OneNote. (c) Screenshot by Cindy Grigg, Courtesy of Microsoft

Students and professionals alike may benefit from this Learning Tools Add-in for OneNote that helps any writer or reader improve, including those dealing with dyslexia or other situations.

Features include enhanced dictation, Focus Mode, immersive reading, font spacing and short lines, parts of speech, syllabification, and Comprehension Mode. For more detail on these and other features and benefits, check out: Learning Tools for OneNote

So in the screenshot shown here, notice the new LEARNING TOOLS tab, and from its tools I've used the Dictate function to capture the notes at the top. Unlike when I use speech recognition or a program like Dragon, I did not have to speak the punctuation, which is nice!

I captured a screenshot of what learners see if they select the Immersive Reader option. In that mode, you can select text spacing, voice settings for having the computer read the text as the learner does, choose whether certain parts of speech should be colored, and more. 

Pretty awesome!

Note that this add-in is in customer preview status at the time of this writing.

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Make OneNote More Like Word or Excel with the Free Onetastic Add-in

Onetastic Add-in Find and Replace for OneNote
Onetastic Add-in Find and Replace for OneNote. (c) Screenshot by Cindy Grigg, Courtesy of Omer Atay

Onetastic is one of my favorite add-ins for OneNote power users. It rounds out some of the features you are used to in Word and therefore might assume are in OneNote as well, only to find out they definitely are not! 

For example, with Onetastic you will be able to:

  • Use tools like Search and Replace (similar to Find and Replace).

  • Create Favorites in the form of menu or desktop shortcuts, meaning you can jump right ahead to specific notes. This add-in also helps you create a Table of Contents more easily within OneNote.

  • Customize more styles in OneNote to create structure in your document as you would in Word.

  • Use some functions or equations as you would in Excel.

Yes, there can be a learning curve on this when it comes to the macros, but developer Omer Atay has a great video on his site to get you started. Note that you will find this on the Home tab unless you go to Settings (on the Home tab) and opt to have this add-in show in its own MACROS menu tab.

Or, you may decide you just want the calendaring feature alone, as shown on the next slide as a separate add-in.

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Expand How You Access Information in OneNote Thanks to OneCalendar

OneCalendar Add-in for OneNote Note Organization
OneCalendar Add-in for OneNote Note Organization. (c) Screenshot by Cindy Grigg, Courtesy of Omer Atay

OneCalendar can be part of the Onetastic add-in described on the previous slide, but it is also available as a stand-alone.

Check out how much you can do with this versatile add-in:

  • Customize the week to start on Sunday or Monday
  • Switch to other months and years without toggling--fantastic!
  • Hover over OneNote page titles to get a preview of the page
  • Choose to view pages by day created or day modified
  • Display only certain notebooks

If you have not tried the full Onetastic download, I suggest beginning with that add-in, then moving to this one if you decide you mainly want the calendaring feature. You would simply uninstall the main add-in and choose this leaner option: OneCalendar by Omer Atay. 

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Create Dynamic Messages Using the Send to Sway App for Microsoft OneNote

Design Tab in Microsoft Sway for Mobile
Design Tab in Microsoft Sway for Mobile. (c) Courtesy of Microsoft

Microsoft Sway is a revolutionary new interface among Microsoft's productivity tools. Sway allows you to present information in fluid, dynamic ways that you can't in a more rigid program such as PowerPoint.

Sway is part of some Office 365 accounts, so if you have not checked it out yet, you may be surprised to learn it could be available in your subscription.

Once you have access to the Sway service, this app can help you integrate your OneNote notes, research, attachments, and other elements into a Sway presentation. 

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Use Zapier and IFTTT Web Services to Expand OneNote

Web Service Connectors Like Zapier and IFTTT
Web Service Connectors Like Zapier and IFTTT. (c) Innocenti / Getty Images

Zapier and IFTTT (If This Then That) are actually web services, not add-ins. These services allow you to create custom relationships between different web programs such as Microsoft OneNote.

It's all about the automation! For example, in IFTTT you could set up the following "recipes":

  • "If I like a photo on Instagram, send it to OneNote."
  • "Add new Alexa shopping list items to OneNote."
  • "Send Watch Later YouTube videos to OneNote." 

Check out the IFTTT page for OneNote to find hundreds of other services available for this kind of customization. 

As an alternative, Zapier users can create similar OneNote Integrations called "zaps", such as:

  • "Copy Evernote notes to OneNote."
  • "Create new note pages for Google Calendar events."
  • "Add notes to OneNote for incomplete Todoist tasks."

Basically, these web services could change productivity as you know it, and OneNote can be part of all that.

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Manage Work Groups or Classrooms with the Teacher Notebook Add-in for OneNote

Science Student and Teacher Using Microsoft Office
Science Student and Teacher Using Microsoft Office. (c) Hero Images / Getty Images

This Class Notebook Add-in for Microsoft OneNote helps teachers and other leaders organize the group experience as a whole.

This is an add-in that brings in an entire additional menu tab packed with new features.

This is something administrators can offer throughout organizations, but individual instructors may also find it interesting and useful. Or, use it to manage other professional or instructional groups as appropriate.

Find out more detail by clicking on the link above.

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Clip to OneNote or OneNote Web Clipper Extensions for Easier Web Research

OneNote Web Clipper for Web Browsing and Research
OneNote Web Clipper for Web Browsing and Research. (C) Screenshot by Cindy Grigg, Courtesy of Microsoft

Web browser extensions such as Clip to OneNote or OneNote Web Clipper (my preference) can help you capture information within digital notebooks quickly.

You may have installed Send to OneNote when you downloaded OneNote for desktop. It may pop up in your taskbar, allowing you to capture items on your desktop computer.

The extensions I'm referring to here are different. These are add-ins or extensions for your internet browser.

Once you have it installed in your favorite browser, you should see the OneNote logo among the browser's icons (in the screenshot here, it shows in the upper right). Click on this, sign into your Microsoft Account, then send information from the internet right to a OneNote notebook, making research that much more seamless. 

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Go Paperless While on the Go with the Office Lens App or Add-in for OneNote

Image of Microsoft Office Lens
Microsoft Office Lens App Turns Photographs Into Searchable Text for OneNote, Word, PowerPoint, and PDF. (c) Screenshot by Cindy Grigg, Courtesy of Micrsoft

Office Lens can be thought of as an app for a feature you already have in some versions of OneNote: the document camera. photograph words and this turns them into searchable text.

How Microsoft Office Lens Makes OneNote More Like Evernote

Why would you want a separate app for something you may already have? Accessibility. If this is something you use all the time, you may find it easier to use as a dedicated app.

Plus, this integrates right back into your OneNote files, so this can be a fun way to capture information at home, in the office, or on the go.

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Consider the Gem Add-in for Microsoft OneNote with 230+ Additional Features

Gem for OneNote Add-in Brings More Than 200 Features
Gem for OneNote Add-in Brings More Than 200 Features. (c) Screenshot by Cindy Grigg, Courtesy of

For those who really want to fine-tune their OneNote experience, check out the OneNote Gem Add-ins. This adds 230+ features across six tabs in the Microsoft OneNote interface.

These tend to accomplish highly specific functions, many relating to other programs in the Office suite or other products such as Evernote. Again, this can make OneNote more like other Office programs you are used to, and then some! You will find reminders, batch tools, table features, search functions, anchor tools, and much more.

Buy these separately or in bulk. This site shows an awesome breakdown of what the new menu bars look like and what is available, as well as links to 30-day free trials: Gem for OneNote.

Ready to jump into something else? You may be interested in: How to Use Microsoft OneNote on Your Apple Watch.