Best Add-Ins and Apps That Expand Microsoft OneNote

Collage of Microsoft OneNote logo

EsaRiutta/Pixabay.com/CC0

 

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

01
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How to Add or Delete Add-Ins

Adding or getting rid of add-ins in Microsoft OneNote

Cindy Grigg

Managing add-ins can be slightly more complex than for other programs in Office because OneNote does not follow the same Insert Add-in process in all versions. For that reason, you may need to go to File > Options > Add-ins to add or remove each add-in. 

  1. From there, select COM Add-ins > Go. In the dialog box that pops up, you should be able to see all existing add-ins for OneNote. Click on one and select ​Remove to uninstall or Add to bring in another add-in you have downloaded and saved to your computer or device.
  2. Note that some downloads require you to know whether you 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).
  3. 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.

Now, you're ready to add some useful functions to OneNote.

02
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Improve Writing and Reading Skills With the Learning Tools Add-In

Free writing and reading learning tools add-in for Microsoft OneNote

Cindy Grigg

The Learning Tools Add-in for OneNote can help any writer or reader improve learning skills. Those dealing with dyslexia or other conditions may find it particularly useful.

Features include enhanced dictation, Focus Mode, immersive reading, font spacing and short lines, parts of speech, syllabification, and Comprehension Mode.

If you use speech recognition or a program like Dragon, you'll especially appreciate not having to speak punctuation.

In the Immersive Reader mode, you can select text spacing, voice settings, parts of speech coloring, and more.

03
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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

Cindy Grigg, Courtesy of Omer Atay

Onetastic brings to OneNote some of the features you are used to in Word. For example, you'll be able to:

  • Use tools like Search and Replace (similar to Find and Replace).
  • Create Favorites in the form of menu or desktop shortcuts, so 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.

Developer Omer Atay offers a 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.

04
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Expand How You Access Information in OneNote, Thanks to OneCalendar

OneCalendar add-in for OneNote Note Organization

Cindy Grigg, Courtesy of Omer Atay

OneCalendar can be part of the Onetastic add-in but 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.
  • Hover over OneNote page titles to preview the page.
  • Choose to view pages by day created or day modified.
  • Display only certain notebooks.

If you want only the calendaring feature of the Onetastic add-in, simply uninstall the main add-in and choose this leaner option: OneCalendar by Omer Atay. 

05
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Create Dynamic Messages Using the Send to Sway App

Design Tab in Microsoft Sway for Mobile

Microsoft

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. 

06
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Use Zapier and IFTTT Web Services to Expand OneNote

Web service connectors like Zapier and IFTTT

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.

IFTTT allows you to automate tasks you do often. For example, 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."
07
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Manage Workgroups and Classrooms With the Teacher Notebook Add-In

Science student and teacher using Microsoft Office

Hero Images / Getty Images

This Class Notebook Add-in for Microsoft OneNote helps teachers and other leaders organize the group experience as a whole. The add-in brings in an entire additional menu tab packed with new features.

Administrators can offer these throughout organizations, but individual instructors may also find the features interesting and useful. Or, use the add-in to manage other professional or instructional groups as appropriate.

08
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Clip to OneNote or OneNote Web Clipper Extensions for Easier Web Research

OneNote Web Clipper for web browsing and research

Cindy Grigg

Web browser extensions such as Clip to OneNote or OneNote Web Clipper 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. These extensions are additional, however; they are for use in your internet browser.

Once you have it installed in your favorite browser, you should see the OneNote logo among the browser's icons. 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. 

09
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Go Paperless While on the Go with the Office Lens App or Add-In

Screenshot of Microsoft Office Lens

Cindy Grigg

Think of Office Lens as an app for a feature you already have in some versions of OneNote: the document camera. Photograph words, and this add-in will turn them into searchable text.

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.

10
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Consider the Gem Add-In With 230+ Additional Features

Gem for OneNote add-in

Cindy Grigg

If you really want to fine-tune your 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. You can buy these separately or in bulk.