How to Use OneNote


focus on the desktop version for this how-to.

Starting Tasks

Download/install OneNote. You may need to create or
log in to your Microsoft account. This allows cloud-access to the files. By
connecting to your account, other MS software can attach to OneNote (like

New Notebooks

Think of notebooks in OneNote as file folders (or notepad
with unlimited paper and folders to tuck away good stuff.)

To create a new notebook, click File and New. Type in
a name and choose where to save the file. I usually put the OneNote file in my
draft folders. That way, I can find the needed docs quickly. Click Create

Opening Previous Notebooks

Click on File and Open. A list of notebooks saved on
OneDrive will appear on the left. In the Center is a list of notebooks on the
hard drive. You can also search for your notebook if you forgot where you saved
it or it’s not listed.

The Notebook

Once the notebook is open, it looks like a giant
blank page. Up at the top is an open book icon that gives access to other
notebooks (i.e. change the file.) Next to it is a tab labeled Section 1. This
is the first file folder in your notebook. Underneath that is a blank space
with today’s date and a
blinking cursor. This is the first page of your notebook. Type the name of the
page above the date to name it. On the far right is a tab with Untitled Page on
it. This is where all page names will be listed.

Adding Sections and Pages

  • To add another section (file folder) to your
    notebook, click the plus sign next to the tabs at the top.
  • To add another page in the section, press the +Add a
    Page button at the top right.

Renaming Tabs

Right-mouse click on any tabs for sections or pages
to be edited. Select Rename and type the new name.

Moving Tabs and Pages

OneNote makes it easy to move data around. Simply
click and hold on any section or page and drag to the new location. You can
even move pages into other sections by dragging the name tab into another

Color Coding

Each section can have its own color by right-clicking on the section tab and
scrolling to the bottom of the pop-up menu. (Why tell you this before you even
start adding data? So you can be super organized right from the start!)

Adding Data

  • Text: OneNote pages are like blank paper—no lines. Click
    anywhere and type anything. Perfect for those non-conformists out there. (And,
    of course, you can line your text up neatly with the left margin too.) Text
    boxes are easy to move around with a click and drag. Increase the box size by
    clicking and dragging the side of the box. Right-click to add more options such
    as font, size, bold, tags, and mark as done. You can also paste text from
    anywhere. If you copy and paste from a website, OneNote adds the URL to the
    text box!
  • Other Inserts: Click on the Insert menu to choose
    from a variety of other items to add to your page—tables, files, spreadsheets,
    drawings, pictures, videos, links, and more. Each of these can be inserted
    anywhere on the blank page. These elements will work just as they do inside a
    Word doc. (We can do an advanced editing post for these features if you all
    need one.)
  • Drawing: Click on the Drawing menu to see the list of
    drawing implements that can be used to create a picture within the page. You
    can also use OneNote like a whiteboard with these tools if you are sharing your
    notebook. Drawings can be converted to both Text and Math.


OneNote files can be exported out of the program. You
can export pages, sections, and the entire notebook. There’s a variety of formats to
export to: .doc, .docx, PDF, or webpage.


If you are
connected to OneDrive, you can save OneNote files and share them with other

It’s a simple start
to a powerful program.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.