How to Adopt OneNote Templates for Project Management

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As a tool for project management, Microsoft OneNote has many useful features. One of those features is the availability of templates. From a project overview to meeting notes to to-do lists, OneNote definitely has you covered.

If you’re unsure of exactly how templates can be useful in your project or what you can do with them, here are several tips and tricks.

Accessing Built-In Templates

OneNote has handy templates for managing projects built right in. Depending on your version of OneNote, you will access these templates in different ways.

In OneNote 2016, select Insert from the top navigation and then click Page Templates. You will then see a list of recently-used templates and an option to open all of them by selecting Page Templates in the drop-down.


For older versions of OneNote you can navigate to the templates beginning with adding a new tab to your notebook. You will then see New Page on the right side and when you click the arrow, you will see a drop-down where you can select Page Templates.

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In either case, you will be presented with templates that are categorized by Academic, Blank, Business, Decorative, and Planners.

Project Management Templates in OneNote

1. Project Overview Template

For project management, the category Business has a nice Project Overview template. Just select it and it will pop right into your notebook. The template is filled with helpful items to start with and they can, of course, be customized to suit your project needs.

Your basic company and project information is conveniently placed at the top. Then a description, project goals, resources, procedures, schedules, and other pieces are displayed in easy-to-read bulleted lists. To enter your own items, just delete the sample text and replace it with your own.


The Project Overview template is useful for a well-organized overview of all project pieces. Not only can this help you as a project manager to see items at a quick glance, but can be a wonderful document for others. You can share it with project team members, your supervisor, or the executives.

Everyone will have a good idea of what to expect and it can be updated regularly for schedule adjustments and schedule changes.

2. Meeting Notes Templates

Within the Business category, you’ll also find several meeting notes templates that are perfect for taking notes during the meeting, using for a reference afterward, and sharing with others as a follow-up. From the Simple Meeting Notes templates to the Formal Meeting Notes template, each is formatted a bit differently with varying information.

For something extremely basic and useful for quick meetings, there are two Simple Meeting Notes templates to choose from. You simply enter the meeting title and then move down to the agenda, attendees, and action items.


When it is time to bring the executive team up to date on the project, you might prefer the Formal Meeting Notes template for a more official layout and additional items. This one not only includes your agenda and attendees, but approvals, open issues, new business, and an agenda for a follow-up meeting.


Depending on the type of meeting you are organizing or just attending, each of these templates will keep your notes well-organized and make following up easier. If you are the organizer, setting the agenda ahead of time and sharing it with attendees ensures that everyone will be on the same page. Plus, the other attendees can use these to take their own notes.

3. To-Do List Templates

For listing out tasks, OneNote provides three types of to-do lists making prioritizing and organizing items easy. These are contained in the Planners category of page templates. The Simple To Do List template is basic with checkboxes set and ready for you to enter your items.


The Prioritized To Do List template goes a bit further by allowing you to enter and organize tasks based on high, medium, or low priority. This is very convenient and this one also has the checkboxes just awaiting your task entries.


The Project To Do List template is formatted differently, by project. And, this template includes a handy notes section next to each set of project tasks. What is great about this template is that although it is organized by project when you open it, you can always change it so that it is arranged by resource or even date. This gives you the flexibility to organize it to best suit your needs.


A properly organized or prioritized to-do list is important for any project, large or small, and these templates can help you get off to a super start.

External Templates

Try2Stop.Us has a project management notebook that includes three sections. The project overview is similar to the one built into OneNote. The project status meeting page has a few different items than the meeting notes templates contained in OneNote. Finally, the project hours list can be very helpful to outline the hours to be spent on each task.

In the project hours list, you’ll find a basic table where you can enter the project name and then the date, description, and number of hours. This is a convenient template if the project you are working on needs a clean separation of hours.

OneNoteProjectHoursTemplate is another resource for OneNote templates, with a few options to assist with project management. They have a couple of daily work schedule templates and combine notes and to-do list templates. The daily schedule template can be convenient for seeing your day at a quick glance. For meetings and even taking time with your project team, project planning, and other items, this is a handy tool.


Finding templates for OneNote is not as easy as it used to be. Many sites direct you to the Microsoft Office template website, which currently does not offer options for OneNote, unfortunately. However, if you are not satisfied with those built-in templates, these other options are available. Just note that depending on your version of OneNote, compared to the template you download, some features may be unavailable.

Helpful Tips

1. Rearranging Items

A terrific feature available for all options is that you can rearrange items easily. Just put your mouse over the item you want to move and you will see the four-headed arrow. Then, simply drag it to its new location. This works for block pieces used for the layout as well as individual items like to-dos and list items.


2. Resizing Blocks

The blocks that are used to organize the layout can not only be moved, but resized so that you are getting the most out of the templates. Just select the block and in the upper right-hand corner you will see tiny arrows. Just tap and drag right or left to resize.


3. Basic Formatting

To quickly change the font size or color for all of the text, just put your mouse over the main section until you see that four-headed arrow and click to select it. You can then either click Home in the top navigation or right-click to make your adjustments. This is also an easy way to add checkboxes or stars to your items or even change the style.


4. Saving Customized Templates

If you have started with one of these built-in templates, have made many changes to it, and would like to continue using it moving forward, you can save it easily. Maybe you have added your company logo, resized blocks, and reformatted text to get it just the way you want it. Don’t let that hard work go to waste; save it as a template for future use.

To save your new template select View from the top navigation and then Paper Size. This will open the Paper Size pane. At the bottom of that pane, click Save Current Page as a Template. Then give your template a name and select whether or not it should be your default page template in the current section.


When it is time to use your saved template, perform the same steps as above for accessing the built-in templates depending on your OneNote version. You should then see an additional category called My Templates. Select the arrow next to it and choose the one you want to use.


How Do You Use OneNote for Your Projects?

Templates are just one of many undervalued OneNote features.

Which OneNote templates do you find the most useful in helping you as a project manager? What other feature could you not live without? Please share your thoughts and suggestions in the comments below!

Image Credits:Businessman thinks by alphaspirit via Shutterstock

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