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OneNote: Get back to basics

by Megan Iemma on August 10, 2016 , No comments

Get back to basics with OneNote

If you have never used OneNote and thought about giving it a go, here is an article to get you back to basics with OneNote. Everyone has a preference for taking notes, whether you are someone who likes to handwrite, to type, to handwrite and type and this is where OneNote is the perfect solution to fit people’s preferences when taking notes. I have been using it with my Surface Pro 4 and developing a digital workflow when taking notes with clients and presenting at conferences.

OneNote – fit for all platforms

The great thing is that OneNote comes in lots of different versions i.e. you can have it for your desktop (Onenote Windows and OneNote for Mac) and Mobile Devices (iOS, Android and Windows), as well as OneNote online. There is a difference between OneNote2016 versus the OneNote App. This is a great article explaining the difference between the two versions.

How do I know where to start?

The first thing to understand with OneNote (regardless of which version you are using) is to think of OneNote just like a three ring binder. Each notebook has tabs across (sections) the top to separate the different sections and your pages are down the right-hand side. (See image below)


You will need to set up your notebooks first (and choose where to save them). Make sure you have set up a OneDrive account so you can access your notebooks regardless of what device you are using.

Add sections and pages

Did you know that your OneNote Notebook can never run out of pages? But it is a good idea, to get some things organised like sections and naming your pages. If colour coding helps you find things easily, simply right click to change the colour tab. (image below). You can also change the name of your tab at any time. Just by right clicking the section tab, opens up different options.New Tabs

When you add a title to a page, it adds that same title to the RH side of your OneNote Notebook.

Let’s get typing!

Often when you are writing notes, you might like to use bullet points or even a numbered list to remember to do certain things (or even a grocery list). 

Click anywhere within the note to start a new text box.

Use an ‘*’ on a new line and then press the spacebar, this adds a bullet point.

To add a numbered list, type 1. And then press the spacebar, to add a numbered list.

Insert bullet points into Onenote

Time to handwrite

If you are a person who likes to handwrite, go up to ‘Draw’ in the ribbon (see image below) and choose your pen colour and thickness. To stop ‘drawing’ tap ‘Type’ and this will revert back to typed text. Also use the ‘panning’ tool to find where you might have hidden handwriting or text.


Save time with ‘Handwriting to Text’

Just like you can convert ‘voice to text’, you can also convert ‘handwriting’ to text. Hint: It doesn’t always convert perfectly, so be patient.

Step 1: Select ‘Draw’ to ‘Type’.

Step 2: Highlight the section of text you would like to convert.

Step 3: Choose ‘Draw’ – Ink to Text.

If this doesn’t work, try this command: Right Click on the text (Treat Selected Ink As > Handwriting).

See image above for Ink to Text option.

Record Audio from Meetings and take notes

Our brains can only take so much information in during meetings, so why not help solve this problem with recording audio (with permission of course) during your next meeting or client session.

Step 1: Insert ‘Record Audio’ from the Home Menu.

Step 2: If you would like to add text, type or handwrite a small amount of text, and then press stop when you have finished.

Step 3: Press playback to hear the recording (and see where you took your notes).


Stay tuned for Part 2 of ‘Get Back to Basics with OneNote’. Megan will be creating some short ‘onebyte’ videos to match this article, so go to Megan Iemma TV on YouTube to learn more. Megan is currently a Microsoft SMB Ambassador and to find out more about Microsoft and SMB, go to https://blogs.business.microsoft.com/en-au/

Megan IemmaOneNote: Get back to basics

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