Top 12 OneNote Tips and Tricks to Use It Like a Pro

Parth Shah

Microsoft OneNote is one of the well-known years-old legacy software by the company. Over the years, Microsoft has added functions to OneNote to rival it against the likes of Evernote and Google Keep.

One Note Keyboard Shortcuts

There are two reasons for Microsoft OneNote’s striking popularity. First, it’s completely free to use. And second, the software is available everywhere. Be it iOS, Android, Mac, Windows, or Web, you can access the notes on all popular platforms.

The software is usually quick to follow OS guidelines and advancements. For example, OneNote iOS and Mac apps have already implemented dark theme support.

Recently, on consumer demand, the company brought back OneNote’s desktop app. Microsoft has vowed to support it for years to come.

We have already covered OneNote’s comparison to its competitors and in this post, we are going to talk about the top twelve OneNote tips and tricks to improve your productivity.

Whether you are a student, teacher, designer, or a casual note-taker, I’m sure you will find the list below handy. Let’s get started.

1. Enable Dark Mode

Apple started rolling out dark mode with the introduction of the macOS Sierra. With a recent update, Microsoft OneNote also joined the list of apps respecting the system-wide dark theme.

Onenote Dark

To enable it, you can go to System Preferences > General > Appearance and select dark from the option. The change will reflect in the OneNote app. If you are not a fan of it, then you can revert to the light theme from app settings. Tap on the OneNote > Preferences and turn off dark mode from the options.

Onenote Dark Mobile
Onenote Dark 2

For iOS 13, head to Settings > Display and Brightness and select dark mode. Overall, Microsoft did a solid job with dark mode implementation. It’s a pure black theme and not the dark grey one and saves battery on AMOLED displays.

2. Use Keyboard Shortcuts

I always recommend memorizing keyboard shortcuts to fly through the functions of the software. Microsoft OneNote is no exception here. The software supports a bunch of keyboard shortcuts on Mac and Windows.

With the help of keyboard shortcuts, you can quickly highlight words, insert links, insert date and time, search through notes, and more. Read and master OneNote keyboard shortcuts from our previous post.

3. Share a Page as PDF and Invite Others

There are three ways to share notes in OneNote. You can send a note as pdf to others. You can also copy a page link and share it with friends. Tap on the three-dot menu and select copy link to a page.

Onenote Share

One can also share an entire Notebook with others. Select the share menu from the upper right corner and give permission such as view only and editable from the options. Type the email and hit the send button.

4. Insert Tables

Using tables is a neat way to organize the relevant information. OneNote does support the table functionality by default.

Onenote Table

Tap on the Insert > Table and select the number of rows and columns based on your needs. While adding the data, you can always use the ‘Enter’ key to keep adding rows and columns based on requirements.

5. Use Templates

Microsoft is bringing back the Windows desktop app for OneNote. And with that, you can start using the template function as it’s currently missing in the default Mac and Windows app.

Instead of starting a note with black space, you can use the relevant template to manage a to-do list, take meeting notes, or organize the meal details.

One Note Template2

Tap on the Insert > Page Layout > Page Templates, and a sidebar will open the template categories to help you choose a perfect design for the new page. You can always download third-party templates from Web sources such as OneNote Gem.

6. Add Stickers

Did you know one can add stickers to the OneNote page to give it a personal touch? Microsoft has added a bunch of default sticker packs to use them. There is Cat in suits, Monkey, Office drama, and Teamsquatch stickers on the mac version.

Onenote Sticker

Select Insert > Stickers and the tab will show the default ones from the right sidebar. You can also add emojis from the Edit > Emojis and Symbols menu.

7. Make Use of Drawing Capabilities

Microsoft has added a dedicated drawing section in the OneNote app. Tap on the Draw menu, and the section will let you choose from Pen, Marker, and Highlighter. You can also use Eraser function, change the Ink color, and play with the Ink thickness from the menu.

Onenote Draw

If you are using Surface Pro devices or any Windows laptops with Pen support, then you can use the Windows Ink function to write and draw directly on the page.

Note: While we're on the subject of drawing, feel free to check out our articles on Google Drawings.

8. Change Paper Style

OneNote lets you change the page style from the settings menu. By default, it opens up as a blank white page. Visit View from the upper ribbon and change paper color and style from the given menu.

Onenote Page

It looks good and resembles a physical notebook with different colors and rules/grid lines.

9. Password-protect Section

You can password-protect a OneNote section to lock it from unauthorized access. Right-click on a section from any notebook and select a password-protect option. Add a password and from now on, you will need that password to access notes on every platform.

Onenote Password

Remember, if you forget the password, then there is no way to recover the section. I would advise you to invest in a password manager to memorize all such confidential details.

10. Use OneNote Clipper

Microsoft offers a capable OneNote Clipper extension on the major browsers. You can use it to directly bookmark a webpage to OneNote, clip a portion of a page, or save the entire article to OneNote.

Onenote Clipper

11. Use Mobile Widgets and Shortcuts

Microsoft OneNote for iOS and Android offers widget functionality to view recent notes and quickly add new notes. On Android, you can long-tap the app icon and choose from the relevant options to add a new note.

Onenote Shortcut
One Note Widget

Long-tap the displayed options and add them to the home screen to quickly add a note, voice-recording, list, and bullet list.

12. Change Default OneNote Fonts

By default, OneNote sticks to Microsoft's own Calibri fonts at 12 size. However, you can change that. Go to Preference > Edit and View > and change font type and size.

Onenote Default Font

The changes will reflect on the new page only and it won't mess up the already added notes.

Take OneNote Experience to the Next Level

The list above is just the tip of the iceberg. The software also supports math equations, built-in reader, custom tags, and more. And that’s not all. The company recently announced its plans for OneNote, which is expected to come with tight integration with other Microsoft services such as Teams and To-Do.

Next Up: OneNote offers a capable pdf functionality out of the box. Read the post below to find more about OneNote pdf function in detail.

Read Next
Top 6 OneNote PDF Tips and Tricks to Use It like a Pro
Also See
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Parth Shah

Written By

Parth Shah

A self-described geek with a knack for writing and a passion for all technology