How to use Onenote? Why you should use OneNote?

How to use Onenote? Why you should use OneNote? Microsoft OneNote is a highly effective, free tool for capturing practically anything. You can take digital or handwritten notes; create a quick sketch; and organize everything into notebooks, sections, and pages. That’s not it. You can also add images, diagrams, audio, video, and other content.

OneNote is highly useful for workplace productivity. And so, if you have various items to remember, multiple tasks to complete, and sudden ideas, OneNote is the ideal application to record and organize them. Here are a few ways OneNote can help you be more productive at work.

How to use Onenote?

“Wow, OneNote is a crazy cool app!” said no one ever. (Or at least the people who haven’t read this article.)

To be fair, taking notes isn’t a task most people get excited about. But when you really learn how to use OneNote, you may find yourself saying, “Whoa, I didn’t know it could do that!”

Whether you use the free OneNote for Windows 10 app or the OneNote app that comes with your Microsoft 365 subscriptions, you have some incredible features at your fingertips (literally!).

Not everyone will use OneNote the same way, but no matter your style—super-organized note-taker or stream-of-consciousness brainstormer—OneNote can make your life and your job easier. Here are 12 features that will teach you how to use OneNote like a pro.


Why Choose OneNote for a Paper Notebook Replacement?

I picked OneNote—specifically the OneNote for Windows 10 app, which requires a Microsoft 365 account—for this guide because it’s cross-platform, flexible, supports many input types (such as touch, handwriting, and stylus), and syncs to an excellent cloud storage service (OneDrive). Note that you can download a free version of OneNote that does not require a Microsoft subscription, but that app lacks some features of the for-pay version.

Whether you use an old or different version of OneNote; a different note-taking app, such as Evernote or Bear; or whatever solution your office suite provides, you can apply many of the same organization strategies I discuss below. Parents can follow these same guidelines to organize notes for children too young to do so themselves.

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One feature I don’t cover is OneNote’s Class Notebook tools. These capabilities are certainly education-focused, but they require coordination with the instructor. For more general note-taking advice, check out our tips for managing your notes. After all, other areas of your life can benefit from effective note-taking skills, too.

Settle on a Structure for Your Notes

OneNote’s hierarchical structure is simple. At the top level are notebooks, which break down into sections, and then pages. You can also create dedicated section groups within a section and subpages under a page. Think of a notebook as the largest collective organizational group, and move down one level from there with each step.

For example, you could start by giving a notebook your school’s name or level (such as elementary school, middle school, high school, or college). You can use your year or grade level as a section name and then create section groups for each quarter or semester for that year. Then, create a section for each of your classes and use individual pages for notes. If your classes don’t change each semester or quarter, you don’t need to create section groups.

Alternatively, since there is no practical limit to page sizes in OneNote, you could just endlessly update one page with related information. For example, you could use one page to create checklists for each day’s homework assignment, one for taking notes, and one for brainstorming project ideas.

That setup will get messy quickly, though, so we recommend settling on a strategy that falls somewhere in the middle. Keep the organization structure but add specific ongoing pages for homework assignments and project brainstorms. Just preface the name of these sections with a numeral to make sure it’s always at the top of the list (assuming you are sorting OneNote pages alphabetically). You can also sort pages chronologically, which is likely an easier way to find notes from different points in the school year. If you do can’t find a note, OneNote’s search feature can help you find matching text at any level.

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Here’s an example of what a OneNote hierarchy may look like for a high school student:

  • Notebook: High School Notes
  • Sections: 9th Grade, 10th Grade, 11th Grade, 12th Grade
  • Section Groups (High School Notes > 10th Grade): Fall Semester, Spring Semester
  • Sections (High School Notes > 10th Grade > Fall Semester): Astrophysics, Tax Law, AI Architecture
  • Pages (High School Notes > 10th Grade > Fall Semester > Astrophysics): Homework Assignments, Project Brainstorms, Week 1: Interplanetary Travel
  • Subpages (High School Notes > 10th Grade > Fall Semester > Astrophysics > Project Brainstorms): Possible Routes from Earth to Proxima Centauri b

You can change the color of each Notebook and Section to help you visually distinguish each one. You can also move, delete, or rename notebooks, sections, or pages whenever you want. This makes it easy to adopt a new structure without having to start from scratch, as you would with a physical notebook.

Keep in mind that you may find a to-do list app, such as Todoist, helpful for managing daily assignments. Task management apps, like Asana, or even kanban apps, such as Trello, might be more useful for keeping track of ongoing assignments.


Formatting a OneNote Page for Note-Taking

Pages in OneNote can be intimidating. Unlike Word documents, OneNote pages have few rules of structure. You can just click anywhere and start typing. This makes it easy to jot down notes quickly, but a collage of random notes isn’t helpful when you need to study or find information.

One layout tip I’ve found useful is to enable Rule lines. Click the View Tab > Rule Lines > Narrow Ruled. I recommend using the Narrow Ruled setting since those guidelines match up best with the default font size in OneNote. If you prefer a larger font size, try to match it with one of the other line-spacing options. These rule lines also help you ensure that you are typing in the left-most space on a page. Just click to the left of the red vertical line, and your cursor moves to the left-most position on a rule line automatically. After that, you can just start typing.

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Another practical benefit of enabling the Rule Line view is that the page looks more like a physical piece of lined paper. Depending on your preference, you can even switch the background of each page (light or dark), with a variety of page colors to choose from in each mode. The lines are not a permanent part of your document, so if you copy and paste text or graphics from a page, they won’t show up in the destination.

Why you should use OneNote

While some note-taking apps might be even more feature-rich than OneNote, Microsoft’s app strikes a great balance between ease of use, features and cross-device compatibility.

OneNote is missing some features, but the ones which are there are easy to discover and use. Probably the most important of these are integration with the Outlook email client and OneDrive cloud storage. If you want to take notes during your Teams meeting or create a list based on email, it’s a great choice.

And unlike some note-taking apps, OneNote is available across all your devices. That includes Windows (10 and 11), Mac, Android, iOS and even ChromeOS (via the web).

OneNote is also a great app if you really need to have access to your files and notes everywhere you are. It allows you to synchronise all your notebooks to the cloud, so they are readily available everywhere you go.

This relies on the internet, but you can still use OneNote while offline. Any changes you make will be saved, then uploaded to the cloud when you connect to the internet again.


Above is information about How to use Onenote? Why you should use OneNote? that we have compiled. Hopefully, through the above content, you have a more detailed understanding of Onenote. Thank you for reading our post.

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