Top 4 OneNote features

In Office 365 by Ryan, Professional ServicesLeave a Comment

Backstory: My name is Ryan and I’m a Technical Apprentice working in Cloudamour’s Professional Services team.  Having been here for 5 months, I really enjoy that I am still discovering new Office features on a daily basis. One of my favourite applications is Microsoft OneNote, a tool that allows me to increase my productivity and efficiency.


Why OneNote?

Do you use a notebook or laptop to take notes in meetings or while you’re working? Imagine if you were to lose that notebook or device; there would be very little hope of recovery and all your meeting notes would instantly be gone. Now imagine using OneNote. By using this tool, all of your notes would be stored in the cloud and linked to your Office 365 account. You would access them with ease by logging into Office Online or from the desktop app and be back up and running again with all the notes you made.

Below are a few of my favourite features in OneNote that make me more efficient and I hope they can help you with your productivity too.

My top 4 OneNote features are:

Dock to Desktop

Ever needed to make some quick notes on a document without resizing all your open windows or ‘window hopping’? The “Dock to Desktop” is a handy feature that can be activated from either the toolbar (seen in the image below) or by using the Ctrl+Alt+D shortcut when OneNote is open. “Dock to Desktop” allows you to dock the OneNote window to the side of the screen and open other windows of OneNote, Office apps or even a web page at the same time. The docked window will not allow other windows to overlap it.

There are a range of use cases for “Dock to Desktop”, I mainly use this OneNote feature for my weekly task list or when I am making notes from project documentation or similar. Handily, when “Dock to Desktop”  is being used to make notes on a document, presentation or other content a link to that document or even a web page will be saved next the notes that you created in OneNote.

Tag Shortcuts

There are sets of predefined “Tag Shortcuts” built into OneNote by default, for example, Ctrl+1 is a tick box. My main day-to-day use for the tick box is for my task list that I dock to the side of my screen. Other tags include “Important” (Ctrl + 2) and “Question” (Ctrl + 3). I use these to tag phone call or document notes for future reference as a reminder to come back to them or to highlight that I need to follow up on the point with my colleagues or the client.

Tag Shortcuts can also be used to create tasks in the Outlook task list; select the word or phrase you would like to use for creating the task from your Notebook and click Outlook Tasks and set a deadline for the task. You can mark the task complete from either in OneNote or Outlook and it will show as complete in both.

This becomes really helpful when you need to quickly mark down what you are working on!

File Printout 

What is file printout? The “File Printout” feature in OneNote allows you to insert a printout of a document into a OneNote page as a digital image. You can “print” any Office file to OneNote from the various Office apps by choosing Microsoft Office OneNote from the printing device options on the print preview page. When you print a file to OneNote it gives you the ability to annotate the document with either typed text or diagrams; this printout and the added annotations can be repositioned anywhere on the screen.

To “print” a file to OneNote, you would go to “Insert” then “File Printout”. When you open the “File Printout” dialog, you will be presented with the option to choose your file from the Windows Explorer window.

Now all your important information on one subject can easily be collated together.

Surface Pen Integration 

OneNote has been built to work with both traditional mouse based and touch based form factors. The Surface pen that you can purchase with the Surface devices integrates with the OneNote application. When you use the Surface pen to make notes in a OneNote page, you can convert the notes to text or you can search your notebook for the notes by typing ‘written text’ into the search bar.

As well as the ability to recognize handwriting, the other benefits of the Surface pen are the buttons on the pen. They were designed with the OneNote app in mind; if you click the button at the top of the Surface Pen, the OneNote app will open to jot down a quick note. This feature is available even if the screen is locked and the screen is off. If this is the case, you would have to unlock the device to access previous notes but the note you make will be saved to the Quick Notes section. Double clicking the top button on the Surface pen will take a screen clipping of the screen and will insert it into a new page in OneNote.


In summary 

There are many great features to OneNote, some that I know, and some that I am excited to explore. For me: dock to desktop, tag shortcuts, file printout and Surface Pen Integration are all great.

We would be interested to hear what yours are, so comment below.

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