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The best OneNote 2016 tips: 10 ways anyone can get organised

Lincoln Spector | Dec. 15, 2016
Make the most of this versatile tool by setting up pages, notebooks, and sections.

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Create a new section

To create a new section, click the ‘+’ tab at the end of the section row, then type in a name.

Right-clicking a tab gives you options such as Rename and Delete, as well as the ability to change the tab’s color.

You can rearrange the order of the sections by horizontally dragging and dropping them.

Sections look like the highest category in a OneNote notebook, but they’re not. You can cluster multiple sections into a section group. To create one, right-click any section and select New Section Group.

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Leave a section group

You can then drag sections into section groups. You enter a section group by clicking it. You exit one by clicking the curved-arrow icon to the left of the sections.

Hierarchy 3: Creating and managing notebooks

You can keep everything in OneNote’s default notebook, but creating additional notebooks provides another level of organization.

Creating a notebook is very much like creating a Word document or an Excel spreadsheet: You select File > New and enter the information. But there’s an interesting difference: A OneNote notebook isn’t a file, but a folder containing multiple files.

Free versions of OneNote won’t let you create or use a notebook on a local drive. They must be stored on Microsoft’s OneDrive cloud service. The versions that comes with Office allow you to use notebooks anywhere.

You can have multiple open notebooks at the same time. You’ll find the current notebook’s name in the upper-left corner of the OneNote window, to the left of the sections. Click it for a pull-down menu of all the open notebooks.

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A pull-down menu in the upper-left corner allows you to select or close notebooks.

You can click another notebook to bring it up, or right-click one to Close This Notebook (you’ll find other options on that menu as well).

Searching for your information

No matter how well you organize your data, you will inevitably forget where you left something. That’s when you’re going to use OneNote’s Search feature.

You’ll find OneNote’s Search field in the top right, just above the page pane.

But before you start typing, make sure OneNote knows where it should search. Open the Search pull-down menu for these options. You’ll probably want the default option, All Notebooks, but that wording is misleading. It actually means all open notebooks. OneNote can’t search through closed notebooks.

If you want a narrower search, you can tell OneNote to look only in the current section, section group, or notebook. You can set any of these as the default.


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