Productivity Programming

Every Programmer Who Uses OneNote Needs This Add-On ASAP

Ben Stegner 28-07-2017

OneNote is a fantastic note-taking app, and it’s totally free unlike 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 . While OneNote works great for simple text notes, it gets way better when you start embedding media and using advanced features 5+ OneNote Note-Taking Tips & Tricks for First Time Users OneNote is an amazing note-taking app and it's free. However, it has a steep learning curve.Our tips and tricks will help you settle in faster. Read More .


But there’s one group of people that OneNote might frustrate: programmers.

Having one place to assemble all your notes on new techniques, optimization, to-do lists, etc. is great, but what if you want to jot down bits of code? Without proper formatting and syntax highlight, it can be quite the mess.

That’s where GitHub user elvirbrk’s NoteHighlight2016 comes in. Available as a free add-on for OneNote, it adds a new tab on the Ribbon that lets you insert formatted code into OneNote pages.

Head to the releases page and look for NoteHighlight2016.msi under Downloads (use the x86 version if you’re on 32-bit Windows). Click it to download, then run the installer once it’s ready. Next time you open OneNote, you’ll see a new NoteHighlight tab at the top Ribbon.

Every Programmer Who Uses OneNote Needs This Add-On ASAP OneNote Highlight Programming Add On


Select this tab and you’ll see several languages like C#, PHP, Java, and Python. Click the box for the language you’re using and paste the source code in. Then click OK and you’ll have a nice, formatted block of text right on your page.

This is far better than pasting a screenshot of code or dumping it in without formatting. Programmers will surely appreciate this, and it makes keeping your OneNote notebooks tidy that much easier.

With this add-on, it’s not hard to see why OneNote is a great note-taking app for programmers.

For more tips like this, check out our complete guide to OneNote 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 .

Is this a better solution for adding code to OneNote than you were using before? What do you think of this tool? Share your thoughts with us in the comments!

Image Credit: Blan-k via Shutterstock

Related topics: Microsoft OneNote, Programming.

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  1. Alex
    March 20, 2020 at 8:27 pm

    I wonder why you need OneNote when there's a Markdown which has code blocks nearly for all languages. All you do is create a block
    and this is done. Details here

    BTW if you read Anthony's comment @January 9, 2020 at 4:18 pm
    > you cannot search for code phrases that you want to find later. Are you aware of an add-on that fixes this search limitation? Without this feature, OneNote is a TERRIBLE tool for programmers.

    Then Markdown is a winner as it is searchable. Any real benefit of using OneNote? May I use it with Git the way I use currently Markdown notes?

  2. Anthony
    January 9, 2020 at 4:18 pm

    That is nice, but the real problem with OneNote is that is does not search for special characters, do you cannot search for code phrases that you want to find later. Are you aware of an add-on that fixes this search limitation? Without this feature, OneNote is a TERRIBLE tool for programmers.

    Please do NOT spam my email account, thanks.

  3. Dhaval
    July 19, 2019 at 10:09 am

    It helped a lot

  4. Nabeel Rajabali
    June 19, 2019 at 9:25 pm

    I can't seem to get it working on the OneNote app for Windows 10. Can someone provide me with some guidance?

  5. Isaac
    June 7, 2018 at 10:51 pm

    Microsoft needs to create a real solution for syntax highlighting (it owns VSCode after all), or at least allow people to customize Styles in OneNote (as has been included in Word for a generation).

    Counting on an open-source repo with very few maintainers isn't going to cut it.

    There's a bug in that code, at least in win7, that can crash the COM surrogate and break the entire MS Office suite. All it took for me was closing a python code window with a missing parenthesis while taking notes.

    Had to reinstall Office. The NoteHighlight2016 is still broken, and still breaks OneNote if it's enabled. Even after repairs and clean reinstalls. Issues section shows that several others have had related issues for a couple months.

    It's certainly laudable that elvirbk and only 5 other contributors have worked so hard to try to maintain this functionality. But they don't have the people-power to maintain production-grade integration with OneNote. And Microsoft shouldn't be leaning on open-source to provide this functionality in a product they charges for.

  6. Matt
    January 30, 2018 at 4:06 am

    This was so clutch. Just started a coding class and use OneNote for my notes. This makes it easy.

  7. Matt
    January 30, 2018 at 4:06 am

    This was so clutch! Great job to the creator.

  8. Ananda Sim
    August 2, 2017 at 12:04 pm

    Anyone care to add a VBA syntax handler please?

  9. Patrick
    July 28, 2017 at 5:17 pm

    Is there a way to edit snippets in the code editor once they have been inserted into a page? The only option seems to be to edit as regular text, which can quickly mess up the formatting and line numbering. Ineffective edit capability seems like the only drawback preventing this from being a very useful utility.

  10. Sean
    July 28, 2017 at 11:12 am

    People on Mac's use OneNote too. MS needs to add more features to the OneNote app on Mac's.

    • Andy
      July 28, 2017 at 1:42 pm

      TOTALLY Agree with Sean. Mac users have a terrible time with functionality in OneNote. No Plugin support is just plain mean...

      Anyway, I do a lot of pasting from PHPStorm / Sublime Text / etc... into OneNote and the best solution that I've found is a handy little Mac app called 'OneHighlighter'. Check it out, it sits as an icon on the top bar. You copy your text in the IDE, click on the OneHighlighter icon and it automatically formats it to be pasted into OneNote. VERY HANDY.
      It's one extra click, but it's the best solution I could find. It's also not 100%... Sometimes the formatting isn't quite right. But 99% of the time it is.

      • Tina Sieber
        August 6, 2017 at 8:16 pm

        Thank you for sharing this Mac app, Andy!

        Here's a link for anyone interested:

        • Alex
          March 2, 2020 at 4:13 pm

          Doesn't Work in Catalina.

      • Mary Max
        November 25, 2018 at 7:34 am

        Thank you so much for this recommendation! It works great. Not 100% but soooo much better than fixing the indentation manually. Yuck!
        I've only recently switched to mac and One Note for Mac is light years behind the windows apps. But they both suck for code. This makes it much better.

    • Brent
      July 28, 2017 at 2:07 pm

      I agree. I love one note and i have for years. , it is a little less useful on my Mac