9 Basic Tips and Tricks for Microsoft OneNote for Beginners

Start capturing text, images, and files quickly at home, work, or on the go

Think of Microsoft OneNote as a digital version of a physical notebook. Use it to capture and organize digital notes. Add images, diagrams, audio, video, and related content. Use OneNote with other programs in the Office suite, on your desktop or mobile devices.

This information applies to OneNote for Windows 10 and OneNote 2016.

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Create a Notebook

New Notebook popup in OneNote

Just like physical notebooks, OneNote notebooks are a collection of note pages. Start by creating a notebook, then build from there.

  1. On any page, select Show Notebooks
  2. At the bottom of the pane, select Add Notebook or + Notebook
  3. Enter a name for the new notebook, then select Create Notebook

OneNote switches to the new notebook. This notebook contains a new section and a new, blank page.

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Add or Move Notebook Pages

Moving a page in OneNote.

Add more pages or move those pages around within your notebook. Your organization is fluid, allowing you to arrange and rearrange each piece of your project.

To add a page, select Add Page at the bottom of the left pane.

To move a page from one section to another, drag the title of the page to the section you want. 

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Type or Write Notes

Written note in OneNote.

Enter notes by typing or handwriting with a digital stylus. Alternatively, use your voice to embed a sound file or snap a photo of text and convert it to editable or digital text.

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Create Sections

Add Section in OneNote.

Create topical sections for better customization and organization of OneNote's user interface. Sections help you arrange ideas by topic or a range of dates, for example.

To create a section, select +Add Section or +Section at the bottom of the sections list on the left side of the window.

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Tag and Prioritize Notes

Tags in OneNote.

Prioritize or organize notes with dozens of searchable tags. For example, including tags for To-Do action items or Shopping items could help you get items from different notes while at the store.

  1. Select any line of text.
  2. Select the To Do tag to add a check box to the line.
  3. Select the arrow next to the To Do icon to choose another tag, such as Important, Question, or Remember for Later.

You can select or clear To Do check boxes.

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Insert tab in OneNote.

Add files to a notebook of several notes or attach files to a single note. You can capture some of these other file types, such as images and audio from within OneNote.

These additional files and resources can be useful for your own reference or to convey ideas more effectively to others when you share and collaborate in OneNote.

Go to the Insert tab to add files and objects.

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Delete or Recover Notes

Delete page menu item in OneNote.

Always be careful when deleting notes, but if you do accidentally remove one, you should be able to recover deleted notes.

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Use the OneNote Mobile App or Free Online App

OneNote Online on Chrome via macOS

Use OneNote on the go with mobile apps made for Android, iOS, and Windows Phone. You can also use Microsoft's free online version, although, this tool requires a free Microsoft Account.

Download for:

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Sync Notes Among Multiple Devices

Sync your notebooks Options in Microsoft OneNote.

OneNote automatically syncs your notes. Alternatively, you can choose to sync notebooks manually.

  1. Select Navigation in the upper-left corner of the window.
  2. Select the arrow next to the name of the current notebook.
  3. Right-click the notebook you want to sync.
  4. Select Sync and choose Sync This Notebook or Sync All Notebooks
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