This post is about a few of the handy and really cool features of Microsoft One Note which I have explored so far. For a long time, I wasn’t aware of this product from Microsoft (though it’s been installed in my machine :)), until I came to know from one of my colleagues one fine day. Even then I wasn’t much keen on exploring the beauty of One Note but just used for taking screen shots. Later, when I really started using this, I just felt love with that. It may sound exaggerating at first, but you would realise the truth behind when u get your hands dirty in it 🙂 When I explained about the features I explored to my colleagues, even they were awestruck to see such cool stuffs; that triggered me to write this post to share my findings with others.

Some of the features which one would find useful in One Note are listed below:

  1. Screen Clipping
  2. Taking Notes & Planner
  3. Notebooks & Sections
  4. Integration with the Microsoft Outlook
  5. Password Protection for the personal info
  6. Publishing to word/PDF/Blog
  7. Drawing/Handwriting recognition
  8. Search within the Images
  9. Tags for the Notes
  10. Shared Notebooks
  11. Capturing Copy Source

Screen Clipping:

The primary use of One Note which most of us would know/do is to get the Screenshot. Its really easy to get the screen clipping. Pressing Windows Key+S will activate the One Note Screen Clipper, just select the area of the screen by drawing the boundary with the mouse.That’s it, we are done. The screenshot will be saved inside One Note under the Unfiled Sections (will cover in detail about different sections later in this). We have the luxury to select what we want to do with the screenshot taken. The various options are shown in the screen shot below:

Screen Clipping Options
Screen Clipping Options in One Note

Taking Notes & Planner:

Taking notes and planning has become easier and smarter with One Note. This is the main intent of getting this software created. For quick notes taking pressing Windows Key + N will bring up the new One Note Side Note as shown in the figure below. This note can be kept on Top of all the windows by clicking the Pin Icon (second from left) in the toolbar

New Side Note
New Side Note

For a detailed note taking, Open the One Note application and create a New Page inside any of the sections and start taking notes. There are a lot of templates readily available inside One Note which could help in getting directly to the type of note one wants to take. This could save a lot of time formatting and decorating the plain note. The major categories of the Page templates are given below. This is not a comprehensive list of page templates as there are a lot more available online

1. Academic

  • Simple Lecture
  • Detailed Lecture
  • Lecture Notes and Study Questions
  • Math/Science Class Notes
  • History Class Notes

2. Blank

3. Business

  • Project Overview
  • Simple Meeting Notes
  • Informal Meeting Notes
  • Personal Meeting Notes
  • Detailed Meeting Notes
  • Formal Meeting Notes

4. Decorative

5. Planners

  • Simple To Do List
  • Prioritized To Do List
  • Project To Do List
Lecture Notes with Questions
Lecture Notes with Questions

Priority To Do List
Priority To Do List
Project To Do List
Project To Do List

Notebooks & Sections:

Notes can be arranged and organized under various sections. By default, there would be two Notebooks viz., Personal and Work available inside OneNote. Each notebook can have different sections created in them.

Work Notebook
Work Notebook
Personal Notebook
Personal Notebook

One can create the pages inside the appropriate sections and start taking notes /do planning. Any number of sections and pages can be created inside one Notebook and a customized Notebook with customized sections can also be created. The pages and the sections can be reorganized by a simple Drag and Drop

Integration with Microsoft Outlook:

This feature is very handy when you need to follow up on your TO-DO list. Type all the items in the TO-DO tasks in One Note and with a single click, it gets integrated with the Outlook and a new Outlook task will get created. Once done just Mark the Task as Complete to delete the Outlook task!! Pretty easy and cool isn’t it 🙂

Integrated Outlook Task
Integrated Outlook Task

One Note also gives the feature of scheduling appointments in Outlook

To do this – Tools -> Create Outlook Item -> Create Appointment/Contact

Password Protection

This is basically useful for protecting the personal info from being viewed by others. Password protection would be applied on a section as a whole

Password Protection
Password Protection

Right clicking on any section will bring up the Password Protect this Section option; Set your password and protect it.

Publishing to Word/Blog/PDF

With a single click the notes taken can be published to a Word Document/ saved in a PDF format /published in the Blog.

  1. To save to PDF  – File -> Publish as PDF or XPS; this gives the option to save the page/section/whole notebook
  2. To save to a Word Doc/Blog – File ->SendTo->Microsoft Office Word/Blog/Mail recipient

Drawing/ Handwriting recognition

This is primarily for the mobile devices/tablets. Taking notes is easier with input devices in One Note, anything that’s written/drawn inside would be saved as a Note.

Search within Images

The search in One Note performs the search operation in the text inside the images as well. The result (if found) would bring up the screenshot or the image saved inside One Note.


There are a number of tagging icons listed under One Note. It makes the notes taking easier and increases readability

Shared Notebooks

This would be useful and helpful for a team of people who want to make a note of or work on the common things. One can create a Shared Notebook where multiple people can access and edit.

Capturing Copy Source

If any content from any website/doc/PDF has been pasted into the One Note notes, it will automatically capture the source of the copy location and paste that information as well.  There is no need for anyone to really write down the references anywhere. The links can be taken from the copied notes in One Note. This would be helpful to create the references section for the project/presentation. In the screenshot below, see the line ‘Pasted from <…>’

Capture Copy Source
Capture Copy Source

These are only a very few of the features which I have explored and found very useful and thought its worth sharing. There could be much more hidden stuff. As and when I uncover them, I will update here.

Appreciate the reader’s comments/suggestions.