Do you have notes scattered all around your desk, in your laptop bag and in your pockets? Well, if this sounds like you, you may want to consider using OneNote: Microsoft’s digital notebook. OneNote makes digital all those paper notes that clutter your work area. It is simple to use without formal training. OneNote is intuitive in its design, making it easy for you to get started and make a good habit of notetaking in a tidier manner.OneNote

During this blog post, we will explain what OneNote is and how to get started using it.

What is Microsoft OneNote?

OneNote is a note-taking tool, designed to hold notes that are either personal or shared. OneNote is divided into various components: notebooks, sections, and pages. It was designed to replicate the binder style of note-taking that we are accustomed to using with paper.

Microsoft promoted the tool in the early 2010s and at that time, made it free for everyone. It continues to maintain its popularity, partially because it is free for personal use and accessible by professionals through their Microsoft 365 subscription.

Multiple versions

Getting started with OneNote, you need to know that there are multiple versions of OneNote, including:

  • OneNote for Windows
    • Desktop app
    • Built-in version
  • OneNote for the web
  • Others: OneNote for Mac, for iPhone, iPad, and Android

For detailed information on differences between these versions, visit Microsoft’s website.

To access the built-in version of OneNote go into your start menu and you will find it under the apps category. You can also search for it quickly in the start menu. This built-in version makes the app available by a lot more people. It was designed recently, so it is very modern in terms of its appearance and navigation.

OneNote for the web provides fewer features but the majority of features that most people use day-to-day are available in the web version. OneNote is accessible on mobile devices, including tablets as long as you have an internet connection.

Where does OneNote live?

You may wonder where OneNote is stored. OneNote notebooks are a structure of folders that lives in the cloud which can sync to any device that you are using. So, if you create a notebook on your phone, you will immediately be able to access that same notebook on the desktop app. You can also access and share OneNote files from within other Microsoft products like OneDrive, Teams and SharePoint. It is also possible to share using network drives if you are still on a network drive-based system. While you can store OneNote files on your computer, it is not recommended as your personal computer tends to be a less secure location.

Organizing notes: Notebooks, sections, and pages

OneNote is broken up into different groupings of information; the primary breakdown is by notebook. Once you create a notebook, you will add sections and pages. The sections are “categories” like the binder tabs, just like the ones we used to have back in high school or university. The coloured tabs that separate the sections of a binder are the same too. This is designed to exactly mimic that structure. You can also colour code your sections.

One tip that not everybody is aware of, is that in the OneNote for Windows version, you can right click on a particular section and password protect a section. Be certain you do not lose that password because there are no official methods for recovering that data.

Stay tuned for more tips on collaboration in Microsoft 365! Wherever your business is in your Microsoft 365 journey, we are here to help!