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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.

Possible search results appear in a new panel as soon as you start typing. When you’ve identified the page you want, select it.

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Possible search results appear in a new panel as soon as you start typing.

If you open the page and can’t find the search text, press CTRL-F. Every repetition of that string will be highlighted. A flag next to the search field will tell you how many times the search sting appears on the page.

Tags, checkmarks, numbers, and bullets

OneNote offers checkboxes that let you turn a page into a shopping or to-do list. But OneNote doesn’t call them checkboxes; it calls them To Do Tags.

To create a to-do list, go to the Home ribbon and select To Do. A checkbox bullet will appear at the beginning of the current paragraph. After you type something and press Enter, the checkbox will appear at the beginning of the new paragraph.

You can also, of course, select a group of existing paragraphs and click To Do to add checkboxes to all of them.

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ToDo Tags let you check off what you’ve done

Click or tap any one of the checkboxes and a checkmark will appear in it. Hit it again, and the checkmark disappears.

Other tags are available in the Home ribbon’s Tags section to help draw your eye to something. For instance, you can use the light bulb to suggest an idea.

Also on the Home ribbon: the bullets and numbers offerings you’re probably familiar with in Word.

Quick notes on the fly

Ever need to jot something down quickly—a phone number or an idea—and suddenly you don’t know if you should go for your word processor, your email client, or a pencil and paper?

If you have OneNote on your PC, press WIN-N to pop up a little window where you can type anything. You don’t even have to be running OneNote when you do this.

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And when you’re done, just close the little window. You don’t have to save it or name it. You can always retrieve it via search as described above.

But you might want to know where the note lives.

Pull down the Notebook menu described in the third tip, and you’ll find an option called Quick Notes at the bottom of the menu. Select that and you’ll find yourself at the Unfiled Notes section in the Personal (Web) notebook (OneNote’s default notebook). Your most recent quick note will be the section’s last page.


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