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12 Tips for Taking Better Notes with Microsoft OneNote

Can the way you take notes change your life? I think so. Microsoft thinks that's the case too.

And young Kyle Madinger proves it for Microsoft's note-taking tool with his Canadian success story. In OneNote Hero:A Student Success Story, he is the hero who goes from being a learner at home to succeeding in the classroom. Every Frodo needs a Sam. Any hero needs a trustworthy companion. In his case, Microsoft OneNote gave him the space to develop his motor skills..

Granted, there may be a bit of hidden marketing narrative between the frameworks, but let's not deny digital note-taking skills. A quick and dirty guide to taking perfect digital notes. A quick and dirty guide to taking perfect digital notes. Learn how to take notes. right way. Here are some of the most effective tips for becoming a digital note-taking pro. Read More Our school system taught us a linear way of taking notes that was neither effective nor digital. If you're still buried in books, an earlier look at OneNote skills for students and teachers How to use OneNote in school:10 tips for students and teachers How to use OneNote in school:10 tips for students and teachers OneNote can transform the classroom modern. Microsoft's note-taking app is designed for both students and teachers. Go ahead, organize, collaborate, and share with these tips for taking better notes. Read More For those not in school, taking notes still follows us through meeting rooms and shopping aisles.

Time to take better notes. If you want to do it with Microsoft OneNote, follow me down the path to note-taking productivity with these 12 tips.

1. Sticky Notes - The centerpiece for better note taking

Have you ever reached for a piece of paper to write something down without thinking too much about it? Quick Notes (previously called Side Notes) is that digital “piece of paper”. But unlike those pieces of paper, you won't lose them because Microsoft OneNote saves them automatically.

There are two ways to launch Sticky Notes.

Note: Sticky Notes appear with a simplified interface and a customizable lavender background. Click on the row of buttons at the top if you want to access the ribbon. Sometimes I like to open the ribbon and just tag the note before shooting and forget about it.

When the OneNote window is not open

press Windows + N on your keyboard. The new Quick Note window appears as an always-on-top popup. Write your note in the small note window.

Format the text by selecting it and then using the commands in the mini toolbar that appears.

Repeat the steps for any additional sticky notes you want to create. (Alternatively, use the hotkey Windows + Alt + N on your keyboard). Sticky Notes are automatically saved to the Sticky Notes section of your laptop.

When the OneNote window is open

You can still use the hotkey. Or go to the Ribbon> View> New Quick Note .

Write your note in the small note window. Click on the three little dots to show the ribbon. Format the text using the commands that appear.

Repeat the steps for any additional sticky notes you want to create.

The great thing about Quick Notes is that you can fire them and forget them. All quick notes are automatically saved to the Unfiled Notes section of your default notebook. Go back later and organize them if you wish.

With that explained, now let's take advantage of Microsoft OneNote's Sticky Notes feature for all our note-taking needs.

2. Put sticky notes on the desktop

Placing Sticky Notes on the desktop helps you keep the small note window on top and insert notes from whatever tool you're working with. For example, an open browser window.

To pin the Quick Note window, click on the three little dots to show the ribbon. Go View> Always on top . Think of it like a “sticky note”.

Drag and drop any selected content. OneNote automatically saves it with the source link.

Some useful Microsoft OneNote shortcuts that you can use for sticky notes include:

  • CTRL + 1 to create quick task lists,
  • ALT + SHIFT + F (to insert the current date and time),
  • CTRL + PERIOD for a quick bulleted list,
  • CTRL + SLASH for a numbered list, or
  • ALT + SHIFT + RIGHT ARROW (or use TAB) to indent and outline your thoughts.

3. Access your OneNote pages with shortcuts

Any note you create in Microsoft OneNote can be directly accessed as a shortcut. Create some desktop note shortcuts and test them out to see if they speed up your note-taking workflow.

In OneNote, right-click the page tab or section tab that you want the shortcut to go to. Choose Copy link to notebook , Copy link to section , or Copy link to page .

Go to your desktop. Right click on the desktop. Choose New> Shortcut . In the location box, press Ctrl-V paste the OneNote hyperlink.

Click Next . Give the shortcut any name to indicate its function. Click Finish .

You can speed this up even more by giving the shortcut its own keyboard shortcut. Right click on the shortcut icon and choose Properties . Select the Hotkey Click on the box and press the key combination you want for the shortcut.

4. Take linked notes

OneNote really comes to the party when you have to work with other Microsoft Office applications. Two features help you use the apps side by side.

Dock to desktop. Work in any other open window by docking OneNote to the side of the screen. Use the shortcut CTRL + ALT + D or go to Ribbon> View> New docked window .

In the screenshot below, you'll notice that I've created a button for it on the quick access toolbar.

Utility of linked notes. By linking OneNote with Internet Explorer, Word, PowerPoint, and even other OneNote pages, you can take notes in OneNote while simultaneously using the other program. Both files automatically link to whatever you're researching. This saves you a lot of copy and paste. Also, you can always refer to the main note or document by clicking the link.

For example:In Microsoft Office 2016 collaboration, you can keep track of discussions and ideas about a document or presentation with Linked Notes.

Open Word, PowerPoint, or OneNote, click Review> Linked Notes .

In the Select location dialog box, select a location for the new notes page and click OK .

When you select a section, a new page is created in it. If you select an existing page, your linked notes will be added to that page. Move the cursor to where you want the notes to start. OneNote stores a thumbnail image of the page, a text excerpt, and a link to the documents or web page you used for your research. By clicking here you can always go back to the source content.

Click Stop taking linked notes When you want to end this association..

We have seen how Linked Notes work How to Link MS Word 2010 with OneNote and use it to write Linked Notes How to Link MS Word 2010 with OneNote and use it to write Linked Notes MS Office 2010 adds another by allowing you to link MS Word 2010, and MS PowerPoint to OneNote 2010. This linkage allows you to refer to the main note or document by clicking ... Read More in Microsoft Word 2010 and OneNote 2010. The same process continues in Microsoft Office 2016.

5. Take quick notes with just your voice

Voice notes have been around since the first dictaphone. With Siri and Google Now, no one thinks we're abnormal anymore.

OneNote is free on all platforms. You can take notes (and voice notes) with the Windows desktop app and apps on Windows Phone, Apple iPad, iPhone, and Android. In the desktop app, you can take synchronized audio notes which are really great for meetings.

Mix and match normal notes and audio notes. OneNote makes it more useful by recording at the specific time of the audio note. When you're reviewing your notes, you can quickly jump to the position of the recording when you took the note.

You can use the search bar to search for words in the recorded audio also. Your search mileage may vary depending on the quality of the recording.

To activate audio search:

Click File> Options> Audio and Video . Under Audio Search, select Enable audio and video recording search for words and click OK .

With the help of mobile apps, you can just tell OneNote what's on your mind and it will file it as a Sticky Note. Cortana in Windows 10 has improved your note-taking experience. How to set up Cortana and remove it in Windows 10 How to set up Cortana and remove it in Windows 10 Cortana is Microsoft's best productivity tool since Office. We'll show you how to get started with the digital assistant in Windows 10 or how to turn off Cortana for better privacy. Learn more, Windows Phone, Siri on iPhones, and Google now on Android.

The Windows Support article shows how to create sticky notes in OneNote using just your voice.

6. Email notes to yourself

The video above shows a quick use of Personal Notes with an Email address. You can use the same email address to send any content from a specific inbox to OneNote. This feature was introduced in Microsoft OneNote 2016 and here's how you can set it up in no time from the OneNote email settings page.

The Microsoft Blog says this is a great way to forward receipts, travel itineraries, or documents you want to keep track of right from your mailbox. As OneNote syncs, your notes will appear on every platform you use them on.

7. Send to OneNote from Chrome

Microsoft OneNote integrates very well with Internet Explorer. But who uses that more? People use say hello to OneNote Clipper. Capture anything on a web page with the extension and send it to a specific location in OneNote. The extension also cleans up clutter in articles.

The new version of Clipper has a redesigned user interface, a location picker, and region clipping for Chrome.

8. Take notes from the edge

The Clipper is for everything you do in Chrome. With Windows 10, we have Microsoft Edge to play with. The new browser has a pen and highlighter to help you annotate and take notes as you browse 10 Reasons You Should Be Using Microsoft Edge Now 10 Reasons You Should Be Using Microsoft Edge Now Microsoft Edge marks a full brand break of Internet Explorer. Killing a 20 year old family tree in the process. Here's why you should use it. Read more . You can then store the annotated pages in OneNote, Favorites, or Reading List in Microsoft Edge.

9. Take screen clips and annotate

Screen Clipper is a quick way to capture visual information with OneNote. Take a screenshot of anywhere on your computer screen and add it as an image to your notes.

To access the screen clipper, go to Ribbon> Insert> Screen Clipper . The screen is dimmed and you can use your mouse or finger to select the capture area.

And more:

  • Using the Sticky Note icon in the OneNote system tray, you can also create a screen clipping, without opening the main OneNote window.
  • Use the Draw Tools to annotate your screen clips..

10. Taking notes with the natural ease of a pencil

Writing notes with a stylus brings you closer to traditional note-taking...with a few added benefits. OneNote for Windows has a full ink ribbon since 2003. The Draw The group on the tape gives you pens, thickness options, and colors to choose from. Even without a pen, you can draw, highlight, and edit with your finger or mouse on any touch device.

OneNote for iPad has been updated with a similar feature set:four classic pens in the Draw tab and 16 colors for writing or drawing, and four colors for highlighting. Enable Palm Rejection on the ribbon and adjust it to the way you hold the pen.

Perhaps the best experience comes from the killer combination of OneNote, Surface Pro 3 (or Surface 3), and the new Surface Pen.

And remember: OneNote also comes with handwriting recognition and OCR that works in 25 languages!

11. The fastest way - Office Lens

What can be faster than taking a photo of a whiteboard or a scribbled sheet? Office Lens is OneNote's very own scanner for taking those quick snapshots when you're too lazy to take notes yourself. Anything scannable is fodder for Office Lens. Office Lens has three modes to clean up your screenshots.

Combine the Office Lens utility with OneNote's OCR features to organize the information from your scans in your notes. Office Lens is available for Windows Phone, Android, and iOS.

12. OneNote and Outlook work together

For a professional user, note taking and inbox are like Siamese twins. One cannot do without the other. If Evernote pays attention to Gmail, Microsoft OneNote must also include Microsoft Outlook in the mix. One basic way is to send your emails to your OneNote notes.

Even better, you can use Outlook Tasks and Reminders for any task in the future. Tasks are displayed in Outlook so you can track and view them, and also set reminders. Consequently, Outlook tasks are linked to the OneNote page.

Ryan showed him how to easily combine Outlook and OneNote. Turn Outlook into a project management tool with OneNote integration. 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 task list into a powerful project management tool with the OneNote for Outlook add-in. Read More You can even manage meeting details and send note pages via Outlook mail. This Microsoft support page walks you through the process.

What note-taking features are you using (or not using)?

Maybe you like the fact that you can embed just about anything in OneNote. Perhaps, it's the habit with napkin math that makes you love the software. Or maybe, unlike Evernote, you can customize the background of the "paper" you're writing in. Microsoft OneNote gives you lots of reasons to love it, and just a few reasons to hate it.

If OneNote is overkill for you, the Sticky Notes app in Windows 10 does a good job How to Get Started with Windows 10 Sticky Notes in Under 5 Minutes How to Get Started with Windows 10 Sticky Notes in Under 5 Minutes Sticky Notes is one of the tools underutilized in Windows 10. Let's see how you can maximize it with the help of Insights. Read more.