How to Use Microsoft OneNote for Work

Kayla Matthews 22-11-2017

Microsoft OneNote is a powerful free tool to capture your digital and handwritten notes 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 . However, it can do so much more than that. OneNote is particularly useful for workplace productivity.


Below, we’ll look at five ways you can use OneNote to get more done at work.

1. Use Quick Notes to Save Your Best Ideas

Like many people, you probably get some of your brightest work-related ideas at the most unexpected times. Maybe they pop into your head during a commute or when you’re in the shower. Work is something individuals think about a lot.

Fortunately, OneNote has a built-in feature to collect the thoughts that matter. It’s called Quick Notes. Think of Quick Notes as one of the many capabilities that help you take better notes with OneNote 12 Tips to Take Better Notes with Microsoft OneNote These 12 tips show you how to take better notes in MIcrosoft OneNote. Today, digital note-taking is as much about skill, as it is about the tool. Read More .

When using OneNote on a PC, press the Windows key + N. Doing that opens up a small typepad within OneNote.

onenote for work tips tricks


Just type out your idea and close the window.

When you want to view your Quick Notes later, you can do so by using the notebooks drop down tab at the top of your screen.

OneNote Quick Notes

Are you tired of jotting points down on scraps of paper and then losing them? Quick Notes is a better option. It automatically saves whatever you write, keeping your good ideas all in one place.


2. Integrate With Outlook for Project Management

Most people think of OneNote as a digital notebook, but it also works well as a project management tool.

To use the software in this way, you should first integrate it with Outlook. That program already has a project management feature via the Tasks section. You can open an individual task and write a note about it, but the note-taking abilities within Outlook are quite limited. Luckily, integrating Outlook and OneNote for project management Turn Outlook Into a Project Management Tool With OneNote Integration OneNote can do more than you think. We'll show you how to turn your Outlook to do list into a powerful project management tool using the OneNote plugin for Outlook. Read More only takes a second.

In Outlook, go to the File menu on the top left, then select Options. You’ll then see a corresponding panel. Look on the left side and select the Add-Ins option.

Outlook Options Add-ins


Then, find the Manage section on the bottom of that window that includes a dropdown list. Change the dropdown to choose COM Add-Ins. Click the Go button to the immediate right of the dropdown.

You’ll then get to a screen with lots of checkboxes. They’re all under the Add-Ins Available header, and OneNote should be part of the list. Find the one that says OneNote Notes about Outlook Items and click the box to the left to make a checkmark appear in it.

Use Outlook COM Add-ins to allow OneNote Notes about Outlook items

Finally, click the OK button to the right. You should now have a OneNote button at the top of the Outlook tasks pane.


OneNote in Outlook

Next, open OneNote and create a new notebook for project management tasks. Select to store the notebook on My Computer and give it a descriptive name.

Next, create sections for the different kinds of project management tasks you over see on a day-to-day basis. Just right-click on any existing section tab in the notebook and select New Section. Then, make a name for it.

Doing that puts a tab at the top of OneNote for each section in your notebook. It also makes separate sections in OneNote’s left pane. Now, just start adding tasks to each one as needed.

So, what about using OneNote and Outlook together? Start by creating an Outlook Tasks entry as usual.

Outlook My Tasks OneNote Integration

Click on the task to highlight it, then click the OneNote button at the top of the Outlook interface. OneNote then asks where to place the task. Select one of the sections in your task management notebook. Then, click OK.

onenote for work tips tricks

Just remember that each section represents a project in your task management notebook and that each page is a task.

onenote for work tips tricks

You can now freely make notes in OneNote that have relevance to the Outlook tasks.

3. Use It to Transcribe Audio

Maybe you work in a doctor’s office, law firm, or another place where you record audio notes to transcribe them later. There are many unique ways to use 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 for this. One of them involves using it as your media player.

Begin by finding the desired audio clip in your File Explorer. Open OneNote, then drag and drop the file into the OneNote interface. If necessary, arrange the file so it won’t interfere with typing.

onenote for work tips tricks

Then, click the play button and start typing what you hear directly onto the OneNote notebook page.

onenote for work tips tricks

The audio file becomes part of the OneNote page as you work, allowing for hassle-free transcription.

4. Use OneNote to Create Your Own Cliff Notes

Perhaps you read a lot of critical documentation for work. Or maybe you’re earning continuing education credits for your career. Maybe you’re taking a night class at a community college that relates to your job. When you need to get the most out of work-related books or documents you’re reading, turn to OneNote.

Remember the Cliffs Notes supplements that made high school reading assignments easier? You can compile your own Cliffs Notes in OneNote How to Collect Cliff Notes with OneNote Taking notes on books you're reading? Do it in OneNote and create your own cliff notes collection. We'll show you how! Read More .

Start by creating a notebook to reflect the book’s title or choose another name to help identify it. Then, look for the New Page button on the top right side of the OneNote window. It has a plus sign (+) to the left of it. Make each new page reflect a chapter in the book.

onenote for work tips tricks

Alternatively, create subpages for topics covered in a chapter and depend on the parent/child organizational structure.

Look on the right side of the OneNote screen and click on the chapter page. Find the small arrow next to the New Page button. Click it to create a new page below the current one.

onenote for work tips tricks

Then, right-click on the new page and click Make Subpage.

onenote for work tips tricks

Now you can easily save and organize everything you learn!

5. Use It to Make All Your To-Do Lists

Not surprisingly, OneNote is a fantastic list app 6 Tips for Using OneNote as Your To-Do List Are you making the most of your OneNote to-do list? Apply our tips for better OneNote checklists. Read More . You can even use keyboard shortcuts to make checklists swiftly. These useful lists guide you through your workday, reducing the likelihood of forgetting something.

Get started by typing a line of text that’s the first task on your checklist.

Then, highlight it and press Ctrl + 1 on your keyboard. That shortcut adds a checkbox to the left of what you typed.

onenote for work tips tricks

Want to call attention to an especially important step? Press the Ctrl + 2 at the same time. Those actions add a star instead of a checkbox, though you can keep both the star and the checkbox if you prefer.

onenote for work tips tricks

You also might want to separate tasks into bulleted lists.

That’s a particularly handy method if you feel pulled in all directions and need help focusing. Use Ctrl + . (period) to create a bulleted list.

onenote for work tips tricks

There are many other ways to work with lists in OneNote, but these keyboard shortcuts alone get you off to a strong start.

How Will You Use OneNote at Work This Week?

OneNote is a multifunctional tool that offers abundant potential regardless of your job or workplace.

When you apply the suggestions above, you will be well-equipped to rely on OneNote for improved productivity How to Organize OneNote for a Productive System OneNote has organizational features that allow you to do more with it than just keeping notes. We show you how to use them effectively. Read More .

What will you use OneNote to accomplish at work this week?

Related topics: Microsoft OneNote, Microsoft Outlook, Note-Taking Apps, Project Management, To-Do List.

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

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  1. Jack
    November 22, 2017 at 11:24 pm

    I think the most useful feature of one note is its screen clipping function that works by short key: windows key+s, in windows 7 and short key: windows key + shift + s, in windows 8 and 10.