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Quick Notes in OneNote

OneNote offers an electronic equivalent to the ‘sticky note’ or side-note. Most OneNote demos show off the full-size pages with a full range of feature but Quick Notes is the smaller and faster part of OneNote for Windows. Let’s explore how to make a Quick Note, what they can do and where they are saved to find later.

The ability to take quick notes on the go is essential. Whether you need to jot down ideas, reminders, or important snippets of information. That’s where Quick Notes in OneNote come in.

How to create Quick Notes

There are a couple of ways to do this a ribbon button or keyboard shortcut.


Go to the View Tab | Window | New Quick Note

Keyboard Shortcuts

Simply press the Ctrl + Shift + M in OneNote to bring up a small window where you can immediately start typing your notes.

Windows shortcut for Quick Note

You don’t even have to have One Note open to do this, another keyboard shortcut is to press the Windows + Alt + N and it’ll open a Quick Note. Note, you can press this multiple times to bring up more Quick Notes.

Taskbar button to open OneNote or Quick Note

How is this possible?  When OneNote for Windows is installed, it’s also setup as a background task, You can see it in the taskbar overflow menu, right-click to see all the options including a shortcut to open full OneNote.

New Quick Note           Windows + Alt + N

Open OneNote             Windows + Shift + N

Save your Quick Note

By default, Quick Notes in OneNote are saved in a section cunningly called “Quick Notes” <g>

You’ll find it under the Notebook List section.

Once you bring up your notebooks click on the Quick Notes tab in the bottom left corner to bring up a list of your quick notes.

Transferring snippets between computers

OneNote will sync your Quick Notes across all your devices, if it’s connected to the internet, you can access the same notes on your computer, tablet, or smartphone.

That’s handy when you need to copy some text or image between computers.  I often need to copy a complex Wifi password around my devices, to save retyping all those letters, numbers and symbols.

Make a Quick Note, paste/type in whatever you want and it’ll sync between your devices.  If necessary, force a sync at File | Info | View Sync Status | Sync Now or Sync All.

Moving Quick Notes to ‘full’ OneNote

There’s nothing really special about Quick Notes except the way they can be made in OneNote for Windows. Quick Notes is just another section in a notebook. The notes in that section aren’t different or special.

You can copy Quick Notes to other sections or notebooks or copy pages TO the Quick Notes section.

Which notebook has Quick Notes?

New Quick Notes are saved as a “Quick Notes” section in the default notebook.  There’s a quick link to Quick Notes on the notebook list at left, below the ribbon.

What about OneNote for Mac and mobile?

OneNote for Mac does NOT have a Quick Notes feature neither does OneNote apps for Apple or Android. It’s a Windows only feature in terms of the small note pane we’ve described above.

The Quick Notes notebook is visible and synced with any OneNote app and you can add notes to that section.  It’s just the special note pane and shortcut that’s unique to the Windows version of OneNote.

Why?  Presumably Microsoft wants something extra in the Windows version. It’s a shame because a Quick Notes feature would be very welcome on portable devices like an iPhone or Android smartphones.

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