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11 Best OneNote Tips and Tricks for Power Users

Microsoft OneNote often makes the list of best note-taking apps no matter which blog you land on, and for good reason. You can create text, voice, video notes and attach just about any file directly into a note. But there are other features hidden under the surface.

Contents1. Keyboard shortcuts2. Enter text from images3. Mark individual parts of notes4. Integration with Outlook Tasks5. Mathematical calculations6. Edit embedded files7. App integrations8. Sticky Notes9. Group sections together10. Onetastic11. OneNote TemplatesA place to note 11 Best OneNote Tips and Tricks for Power Users

Here are some of the coolest and most productive OneNote tips and tricks for power users looking to boost their productivity. Plus, if you're just getting started, these tricks will definitely come in handy too.

Let's start.

1. Keyboard shortcuts

Let's start the guide with some handy and quick keyboard shortcuts.

  • Press Windows + Alt + N to open a small note window without opening the whole application
  • Press F7 to check spelling and Shift+F7 to open the thesaurus for a selected word
  • Press Shift+F10 to open the context menu
  • Press Ctrl+Shift+H to highlight selected text
  • Press Ctrl+/ to apply/remove list of numbers
  • Press Ctrl+. (it's a period) to use/remove the bulleted list
  • Press Ctrl+1 to create, delete or mark a to-do list item

Looking for more shortcuts? Fortunately, Microsoft has compiled a long list of OneNote shortcuts. Bookmark the page for future reference.

2. Enter text from images

OneNote supports OCR (Optical Character Recognition), which means you can now grab text from your pictures straight from the clipboard without typing it.

11 Best OneNote Tips and Tricks for Power Users

Add the image you want to note and right-click on it to select the Copy text from image option. Results aren't very accurate with handwritten notes, but otherwise works great.

3. Mark individual parts of notes

Tags are an amazing way to categorize notes, especially if they're linked but saved in different notebooks or sections. But what many users don't realize is that you can also label individual parts of notes.

11 Best OneNote Tips and Tricks for Power Users

You can start writing anywhere in a OneNote note. Simply right-click on the header of the part you want to tag and choose one from the drop-down menu. This will give you a lot of freedom to work between sections and notebooks. You can also create custom tags if you want.

4. Integration with Outlook Tasks

Do you use Outlook? If so, you will find this feature useful. You can create to-do lists in OneNote and then mark them to link to Outlook. The same to-do list will also appear in the Microsoft To-Do app, if you're using one.

11 Best OneNote Tips and Tricks for Power Users

Right-click the to-do list item and use one of the flags to mark it. The one that says Outlook Tasks when you hover over it. You can also assign a date and time to it. On the other hand, it only works on desktop, and there are rumors that it will retire by 2025. So enjoy it while it lasts.

5. Math calculations

I love this feature. You can perform relatively complex mathematical calculations directly in OneNote. Simply type the formula followed by the symbol =and the Space key to get the answer. Again, this works anywhere and even with handwritten formulas.

11 Best OneNote Tips and Tricks for Power Users

Microsoft recently updated OneNote with a new feature where it will read math solutions aloud. As far as I know, no other note-taking app has this feature.

6. Edit embedded files

You can attach any file to OneNote, including all formats supported by Office 365 such as Word, Excel, and PDF files. After attaching the file, you can open and edit it directly in OneNote. There is no need to open the folder location where the file is saved, then open it, edit it, then attach it again. It's so 90s.

11 Best OneNote Tips and Tricks for Power Users

Just double click on the embedded file and start editing. When done, press Ctrl+S to save changes and close the file.

7. App integrations

Microsoft has developed one of the best scanner apps in the form of Microsoft Office Lens. It is super easy to use and works perfectly. You can use it to scan documents and turn them into images, Word, PowerPoint and PDF files. When done, save it directly to OneNote.

11 Best OneNote Tips and Tricks for Power Users

Another notable app integration is IFTTT and Zapier. For the uninitiated, these two apps will automate just about every aspect of your note-taking experience with OneNote. These two automation apps connect with hundreds of other apps to provide interoperability between apps.

8. Sticky Notes

I know I know. It's so old school but isn't it? Did you know Sticky Notes now syncs between multiple devices, including your desktop? Open OneNote on your smartphone, and there's a dedicated tab for Sticky Notes.

11 Best OneNote Tips and Tricks for Power Users

Any note you create here will be instantly synced to your desktop. Useful when you want to take quick notes or when you want to copy text or a link from one device to another.

9. Group sections together

The OneNote works in a simple way. It works like a journal where you create notes. OneNote stores these notes in sections which are then stacked into notebooks. You can group sections from different notebooks together, making your notebooks more meaningful.

11 Best OneNote Tips and Tricks for Power Users

Right-click the section header to select New Section Group. You can create as many as you want. After creating a new section, drag and drop the section into the section group that appears next to the section tabs.

11 Best OneNote Tips and Tricks for Power Users

10. Onetastic

Onetastic is a fantastic addition to your arsenal of OneNote tools. It brings so many features to OneNote that even Microsoft recommends it. Once you add it, new features such as OneCalendar, bookmarks, macros, custom styles and the ability to crop images will be visible.

11 Best OneNote Tips and Tricks for Power Users

It is not possible to discuss all the features of Onetastic here, so I suggest you try it. Check out their demo video in the link below.

Visit Onetastic

11. OneNote Templates

OneNote comes with a bunch of templates. If they are not enough for you, you can always look for others. You can always check out our guide to using OneNote templates and learn more on the web.

A place to note

OneNote is an amazing note-taking app, and when you start enjoying all the features it has to offer, it gets really empowering. I hope this guide speeds up your learning process and is useful to you. Share your OneNote tips and tricks in the comments below that you use often.

Then: Confused between Evernote and OneNote? Click the link below to learn more about the differences and similarities between Evernote and OneNote.