Introduction to OneNote

Microsoft OneNote is an application that allows you to organize notes, files, articles, pictures and more in a single digital notebook. In this quick tip, we explain the basics of using this powerful software tool.

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How to use OneNote video transcript:

Have you ever made notes in word, excel, outlook, notepad, and categorized them in folders, inside other folders … and then found it difficult to keep track of everything especially when trying to retrieve specific pieces of information?

For note-taking, there is a better way. It’s called OneNote.

With simple organization, searching capabilities, very intuitive text formatting, ability to copy emails, articles, pictures, screen captures, and more. OneNote is arguably one of the most powerful note-taking software tools.

So how does it work?

Let’s start by opening OneNote. If you are using OneNote 2010, you may see this page from the OneNote 2010 Guide. In fact, I’m going to use this graphic to explain that.

OneNote mimics real notebooks in the way it’s organized. It’s broken down like this: You have your notebooks. Inside your notebooks are your sections.; Inside your sections are your Pages.; On your pages are your notes. Also just like real notebooks - there is no save button - everything is saved automatically all the time.

Let’s go through the steps together of creating a notebook, sections, pages, and notes.

First go to File, New. For this example, let’s store it on the local computer. Give it a name and a folder location.

Now that we have our notebook let’s create a few sections.

Double click this New Section 1 tab to rename this section.

And this tab right next to it creates new sections.

Sections will automatically start with a blank page which includes today’s date and time, both of which can be changed. And we title it here. Click this New Page button here to add pages.

Writing notes is easy. Anywhere you place your cursor on the page you can write a note. And if you go to the Home tab you get the familiar formatting options from other Microsoft applications.

When you copy text from the web a web page link is included below your note.

You can also drag and drop any file from your computer onto your OneNote page and create a link to the original file, create a copy of the original which is actually housed in your OneNote section file, or if it’s a printable document you can insert a printed copy.

Other items may respond differently, for example dragging in a folder creates a link to that folder and dragging in picture files or pictures from the internet recreates them.

Now that we know how to create Notebooks, Sections, Pages, and Notes, get started on your own notebook.

And don’t worry about not being able to find a note because this search bar allows you to search any word or phrase within all of your notebooks, so you can easily retrieve information.

And that’s it. Whether you take notes for professional or personal use, now you know the basics of OneNote and should have enough to start using this powerful note-taking tool.