OneNote Tricks

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There’s plenty of other OneNote tricks hiding away.

Make tables by typing

Press Tab to start a table.  Each tab key makes a new cell, press Enter to start a new row.


Type a formula then the equals sign and a space, the result is automatically inserted.

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This only works if there’s no spaces in the formula.  Broadly it’s the same format as an Excel formula, but the equals sign at the end.

The usual operators are supported ( + – * x / % ) plus some maths and trig functions.


OneNote loves links.  Not just links to external resources (documents, web pages) but also internal links between OneNote content.  Select some OneNote content (text, container, page etc) and choose ‘Copy Link to ….’.

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Then paste that link into another OneNote page.  The original content will appear plus a link back to the original page.


Outlook and OneNote are tight with each other.   Tasks in OneNote are automatically added to Outlook.   An OneNote page (e.g. a meeting agenda) can be emailed via Outlook to other people.

In Outlook, you can select an email and send it directly to OneNote via Home | Move | OneNote.


There’s a long list of Tags that can be attached to notes.  Unlike Outlook Categories, these tags are intended as reminders or action comments.  Ctrl + <number> shortcuts make tags quick to add as you’re typing.

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You can Customize Tags to make them suit you, see the menu option at the bottom of the list.


A glaring omission from OneNote was quick formatting of text.  Note taking was slower than it should be since obvious formatting options weren’t quickly available.  OneNote 2010 finally fixed this with the addition of styles.  Both the styles and the shortcuts will be familiar to Word users.

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Quick Notes

Press  Windows + N then N (Windows key + N then press N again) to open a Quick Note.

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Quick Notes appear like virtual Post-It notes.  Enter content just like any other OneNote page and close when you’re finished.

Quick Notes have their own notebook that’s down the bottom of the notebook list.

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Of course, you can move Quick Notes to other notebooks.

Password protection

OneNote sections (i.e. notebook tabs) can be password protected.  Use this for particularly private or sensitive notes.

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If you forget the password, you lose the section. Just like other password protected Office documents, there’s no reliable way to recover a lost password.

Page Templates

The blank default page isn’t your only starting point.  At Home | Page Templates there are more to choose from such as a To Do list or Project Template

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Just like Word templates, there are more available at or you can make your own.

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