The OneNote FAQ: Answers to Your Note-Taking Questions

Lori Kaufman 14-02-2018

Are you new to OneNote? Maybe you have you recently switched from Evernote to OneNote Migrating From Evernote to OneNote? Everything You Need to Know! OneNote is one of the best alternatives to Evernote and it's free. We'll show you how OneNote is different and show you the tools to migrate smoothly. Read More ? Or are you still trying to find the right note-taking app for you Evernote vs. OneNote: Which Note-Taking App Is Right for You? Evernote and OneNote are amazing note-taking apps. It's hard to pick between the two. We compared everything from interface to note organization to help you choose. What works best for you? Read More ?


Whatever the case, you probably have some questions about OneNote. We have answers for you.

What Is Microsoft OneNote?

OneNote is a digital notebook that allows you to create and store notes that can contain anything, like typed text, handwritten text and drawings, images, web links, clipped web pages, audio, video, and more.

Information stored in OneNote syncs across your devices, like your computer (Windows and Mac), your iPhone or Android phone, and your iPad or Android tablet.

OneNote is not a word processor. Content is added to notes, or pages, in a freeform manner. You can click anywhere on a page and start typing. OneNote is not designed for creating documents for publication. It’s meant to organize and store your thoughts, ideas, research, etc.

what is onenote - main screen


What Is OneNote Used For?

You can store just about any kind of information in OneNote. Here are just a few of the many uses for OneNote.

what is onenote used for - recipes

Is OneNote Free?

OneNote is a free alternative to Evernote The Best Evernote Alternative Is OneNote and It's Free The market is drenched in note-taking apps competing with Evernote. But there is only one serious Evernote alternative. Let us explain why that is OneNote. Read More , especially after Evernote hiked up its price and further limited the free version.

There are two free versions OneNote Is Now Truly Free With More Features Than Before Evernote no longer rules the roost of note taking apps. Microsoft recently announced OneNote would be more free than ever before. Let us show you what this means in terms of features and functionality. Read More of OneNote for Windows. If you’re running Windows 10, the OneNote for Windows 10 universal app is already installed. If you find the app is not installed, you can install it from the Microsoft Store.


OneNote also comes with the Office 365 subscription as the OneNote 2016 desktop app. While the Office 365 subscription is not free, OneNote 2016 is a free download. Click the Windows Desktop link on the OneNote download page.

installing onenote - platforms

Which version of OneNote should you use? Read our comparison Which Free OneNote App Should You Use on Windows? Desktop vs. Store App OneNote comes in two different flavors: a desktop app and a Windows Store app. Both are free! Let us show you how they differ, so you can choose the one that's best for you. Read More between the Windows store app and the desktop app. We cover the differences between the two apps and the features you get with the OneNote 2016 desktop app that are not available in OneNote for Windows 10 universal app.

In addition to Windows, OneNote is available for Mac, iOS, Android, and Windows Mobile. There is also a OneNote web app. The Mac version does not have as many features as the Windows version. Check out our OneNote for Mac guide The Essential OneNote for Mac Guide Microsoft OneNote is a free note-taking app for Mac, iPad, and iPhone. Here's everything you need to become more productive. Read More to find out what OneNote can and cannot do on a Mac.


How to Use OneNote

Information in OneNote is organized into notebooks, sections, and pages, like a digital version of a three-ring binder. Just like the pages in the binder, you can write anywhere on a page in a OneNote notebook.

See our guides for using the OneNote 2016 desktop app The Only OneNote Guide You'll Ever Need OneNote is a powerful note-taking app. It's cross-platform and well integrated into Microsoft Office. Read this guide to become a OneNote pro! Read More and OneNote for Mac The Essential OneNote for Mac Guide Microsoft OneNote is a free note-taking app for Mac, iPad, and iPhone. Here's everything you need to become more productive. Read More for more information about each version and how to use them. There are basic text formatting tools and you can create lists and tables. You can also insert images and links and even record audio and video on a page.

There is a big difference between notes in OneNote and documents in a word processor like Word. OneNote simulates taking notes on paper. Thus, it employs a freeform entry method. Consequently, there is no page layout structure on pages in OneNote.

how to use onenote - notebooks, sections, pages


Where Are OneNote Files Stored

By default, OneNote saves notebooks to the Documents folder in your OneDrive account. You can create local notebooks that are saved to your hard drive, but only in the OneNote 2016 Windows desktop app, not in OneNote for Mac or the OneNote for Windows 10 universal app. Local notebooks are saved in your Documents folder, by default.

You can change both the default location for notebooks and the location of individual notebooks. See the next section for more information.

onenote file storage on onedrive

How to Save OneNote Notebooks

OneNote doesn’t have a Save button because OneNote files are automatically saved. But you can change the default save location for local notebooks and the location of individual notebooks in the OneNote 2016 Windows desktop app.

how to save onenote notebooks

See our article about never losing a notebook in OneNote How to Never Lose a Note in Your OneNote Notebooks OneNote is so good, it's hard to lose anything, even if you try. Let us show you how OneNote handles notebooks, how backups are managed, and how you can restore even deleted notes. Read More for more information.

How to Sync OneNote Notebooks

Saving your OneNote notebooks in your OneDrive account allows you to access them across your devices. Notebooks saved to your OneDrive account are automatically saved and synced. Local notebooks are automatically saved but not synced. You cannot access local notebooks in the OneNote for Windows 10 universal app.
You can also sync your notebooks manually in the OneNote 2016 desktop app. Open the notebook you want to sync and use one of the following methods to manually start syncing that notebook.

  • Press Shift + F9.
  • Right-click the name of the open notebook and select Sync This Notebook Now.
  • Go to File > Info, click the Settings button next to the notebook you want to sync, and select Sync.

how to sync onenote notebooks

To check the sync status for any or all notebooks, right-click on the notebook name and select Notebook Sync Status. You can also go to File > Info and click View Sync Status on the right side of the Info screen. On the Shared Notebook Synchronization dialog box, you’ll see a progress bar to the left of the Sync Now button for each notebook that’s in the process of syncing.

Click Sync Now next to an open notebook to manually sync that notebook, or click Sync All to sync all open notebooks.

OneNote defaults to syncing your notebooks automatically. If you’d rather sync your notebooks manually, select Sync manually under How should we sync your notebooks.

how to sync onenote notebooks manually

How to Print From OneNote

Generally, the point of using a note-taking app is to avoid having bits of paper lying around that you could lose. But sometimes the need to print a note may arise.

Notes printed from OneNote may not print the way you like because of the freeform nature of the program. If you’re concerned about the format and layout of a printed note, copy and paste the content into Word or Notepad and fix the formatting and layout to your liking. Then, print from that program.

We’ve covered how to print notes The 13 Best New OneNote Features You Haven't Tried Yet Microsoft has added many new perks to OneNote for Windows 10. Here are the best new OnenNote features in OneNote that you may have missed. Read More in the OneNote for Windows 10 universal app.

If you’re using the OneNote 2016 desktop app, go to File > Print > Print Preview. You’ll see a preview of what your printed note will look like. You can change the Print Settings and then click Print to print your note.

how to print from onenote

How to Delete Notebooks in OneNote

Deleting notebooks in OneNote is not as simple as it might sound. OneNote does not include a delete option for notebooks. But there is a way around this. You can delete the notebook files outside of OneNote.

Manually Delete a Noteook

Before deleting a notebook file, you must close the notebook in OneNote. Right-click on the notebook name and select Close This Notebook. You can also go to File > Info, click Settings next to the notebook name, and select Close.

how to delete onenote notebooks

To delete a notebook stored in OneDrive, log in to your OneDrive account in a browser. Go to Files and click on the Documents folder to open it. All your OneNote notebooks will have the OneNote icon next to the file name. Find the name of your notebook in the list of files, right-click on the name, and select Delete.

To delete a notebook stored locally on your hard drive, open File Explorer and navigate to where your OneNote notebooks are saved. Locally saved notebooks are folders, rather than files. Find the folder with the name of the notebook you want to delete and delete the entire folder.

how to delete onenote notebooks from onedrive

Delete Sections

You can also delete sections and pages from your notebooks, one at a time, by right-clicking on the section or page and clicking Delete. A copy of the deleted section or page is stored in the recycle bin for that notebook for 60 days.

Delete Pages

Deleted pages are stored in a Deleted Pages section in the notebook’s recycle bin. To access deleted sections or pages, open the notebook in question, right-click its name, and select Notebook Recycle Bin.

Restore Deleted Sections and Pages

You can restore a deleted section from a notebook’s recycle bin by right-clicking on the section and selecting Merge Into Another Section. Then, choose a section in the original notebook, or even in a different notebook, and click Merge.

To restore a deleted page, right-click on the page and select Move or Copy. Then, choose a section in an open notebook and click Move.

how to restore deleted onenote notebooks

OneNote in a Nutshell

We’ve covered some of the basics in OneNote here, but this is just the tip of the iceberg. There’s so much you can do with OneNote 10 Unique Ways to Use Microsoft OneNote OneNote is one of Microsoft's most underrated apps. It's available on almost every platform and can do many tricks you wouldn't expect from a note keeping app. Read More , we can’t cover it all in one article. But the tips here should give you a good start.

OneNote is a useful and versatile program for keeping your life organized, and we’d love to help you learn how to make the most of OneNote’s features.

What other tips, tricks, and features do you want to learn about? Is there something about OneNote you don’t understand? Share your questions and comments below.

Related topics: Data Backup, FAQ, Microsoft OneNote, Note-Taking Apps, Printing.

Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the site alive. Read more.

Whatsapp Pinterest

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. Joe
    February 15, 2018 at 3:10 pm

    Sorting! Printing is lousy, but sorting is nonexistent and a dealbreaker for me. I can’t switch over from Evernote until I have the option to sort notes or pages the way that I want. Created date, modified date, alphabetical – whatever. I know there is a Windows plug-in available, but I use this program on Windows, Mac mobile devices.

  2. joe lavery
    February 14, 2018 at 6:33 pm

    and... Tags