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Easy Document Management with Microsoft OneNote

Microsoft OneNote Logo

Microsoft OneNote has been around for a while, and is a wonderful application for storing, organizing, sharing and easily finding documents for both your personal and business life.  If you haven’t been using Microsoft OneNote, learn how easy and versatile it is.  If you’re already a OneNote user, there are probably more features you could be taking advantage of. 

The first item to point out is that Microsoft OneNote 2016 has more functionality that the OneNote “App”, so we recommend using OneNote 2016, which is part of the Office 2016 Suite. 

In its most basic form, think of Microsoft OneNote as a digital version of a spiral notebook with tabbed sections.

Basic features

  • Your notebook can be organized into section groups, sections, pages and sub-pages.
  • You can type anywhere on a OneNote screen and it will automatically create text boxes as you type. These text boxes can be easily moved around the page. 
  • Pictures, graphics and even video can be inserted on a OneNote screen, where they are also automatically be placed in text boxes and easily moved around the screen.
  • Vertical space can be added between text boxes where you don’t want anything else to move out of its placement on the page.
  • Checklists can be created with check-boxes to fill in once completed.
  • A search function allows you to search all contents in all notebooks or just within specific notebooks or sections.
  • Items can be tagged with headings such as “Question”, “Source for article”, “Book to read” or with custom tags.  Tags can then be searched. 
  • Tasks can be assigned to individuals using a custom tag you create with their name.  A search could then be done for any tasks for that individual, which may exist across numerous notebooks.  The tasks will appear in a summary list and are pushed over to Outlook with popups to remind you to complete them. Once completed in Outlook, they are checked off as completed in OneNote. 
  • Spell check is available
  • You can see personal and business OneNote notebooks all from one view

Integration with Office Suite

  • If you create a table within OneNote, you can convert this to an Excel spreadsheet within OneNote, which can be edited.
  • You can insert an existing Excel spreadsheet, either as an attachment or printed out and embedded within OneNote, which can then also be edited.
  • You can choose what is displayed in OneNote from an Excel spreadsheet, meaning you don’t have to display its entire contents.
  • A PowerPoint presentation can be inserted into OneNote, either as an attachment or printed out (slides are displayed as images for easy viewing). You can edit this PowerPoint presentation, perhaps using the “Draw” tool to indicate areas that need to be changed and then send the presentation to someone to update.
  • PowerPoint text can be searched; even text found in images. 


  • OneNote notebooks can be shared with others when they are stored on OneDrive. Permissions can be set to allow viewing only or editing capabilities.
  • Only the notebook owner can share a notebook.  If shared with others, they cannot share it with anyone else.
  • Shared access can be removed at any time by the notebook owner.


  • OneNote keeps track of changes made. If you click on the top “History” button of any page, previous versions of that page will be listed.  Any new items on the page will be highlighted in green.  This is quite helpful when many people have edit access to a page.
  • Older versions of a page can be restored if needed.
  • If new items have been added, the notebook, sections and pages changed will be bolder.
  • When looking through changes, you can click on “Next Unread”, plus you can mark items as “Read”.
  • Another option is to search for “Recent Edits”.  New items will be highlighted in yellow.
  • Changes can also be searched by author.
  • As for deleted items, they go to a OneNote recycle bin for each notebook and can be retrieved from there.

Microsoft OneNote and OneDrive

OneNote notebooks are created on your local PC but can then be synchronized up to your OneDrive or OneDrive for Business account.  Using the free OneDrive app, you can then access your OneNote notebooks from any device, from anywhere you have Internet access.

A good Microsoft training video on how to use OneNote can be found here

OneDrive for Business is part of Microsoft Office 365.  If you have not yet explored all the benefits of Office 365, including hosted Exchange Email, SharePoint and OneDrive for Business, please reach out to us for more information

March 01, 2018 9:38:51 PM


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