Basic tasks in OneNote for Windows 10

This article summarizes the basic tasks and commands to help get you started with OneNote for Windows 10. If what you’re looking for isn’t listed here, use the Search box in the upper right corner of this page.

Create a new notebook

OneNote for Windows 10 is pre-installed on Windows 10. When you use it for the first time, a default notebook is created for you. You can use this default notebook and add your own pages to it, or you can create a new, blank notebook at any time.

  1. On any page, click the Show Notebooks button Show Notebooks button .

  2. At the bottom of the pane that appears, click + Notebook.

  3. Enter a name for the new notebook, and then click Create Notebook.

    OneNote switches to the new notebook, which contains a new section and a new, blank page.

Switch notebooks

To switch between multiple notebooks:

  1. On any page, click the Show Notebooks button Show Notebooks button .

  2. In the pane that appears, select the name of the notebook you’d like to switch to.

Note: If you don’t see the notebook you want, select More Notebooks.

Type or write notes

To take typed or handwritten notes, do any of the following:

  • Click or tap the page header at the top of the page (over the date and time stamp) to type a page title.

  • Click or tap anywhere on the current page and start typing.

  • Click or tap anywhere else on the same page to begin a new note and then start typing.

  • Use either the pen or stylus that came with your device to handwrite notes directly on a touchscreen. If you want to use your finger to draw or write, click the Draw tab, and then click or tap the Draw with Mouse or Touch The Draw icon on the Draw menu icon.

Save your notes

There’s no Save button in OneNote for Windows 10. That’s because OneNote automatically saves and syncs everything for you, no matter how small or large your changes are.

If you change your mind about something you’ve recently added or changed, click or tap the Undo The undo button in OneNote. button near the top right of the app window.

Select text with touch

To select text on a page, do the following:

  1. Double-tap the text you want to select.

  2. Adjust your selection by dragging the two selection handles to the beginning and end of the text you want to select.

When a line or paragraph of text is selected, you can cut, copy, format, move, or delete it.

Format text

To change the appearance of text:

  1. Select the text you want to format (with a mouse and keyboard, click and drag; on a touch device, double-tap a word and drag the selection handles).

  2. On the Home tab, select the formatting you’d like to apply (font, font size, bold, italic, underline, color, lists, indents, and so on).

If you change your mind, about any formatting you have applied, click or tap the Undo The undo button in OneNote. button near the top right of the app window.

Highlight your notes with ink

To highlight key information in your notes:

  1. On the Draw tab, click or tap the Draw with Mouse or Touch The Draw icon on the Draw menu icon.

  2. Choose the highlighter icon on the left, and then choose the color and thickness you want to use.

  3. Use the pen or stylus that came with your device or use your finger or mouse to highlight any part of your notes.

Note: When you’re done, click or tap the Draw with Mouse or Touch The Draw icon on the Draw menu once again to turn off drawing mode.

If you want to remove anything you’ve drawn or highlighted, click or tap the Eraser button on the Draw tab. With the eraser selected, tap the highlighter strokes that you want to erase.

Add tags

Tags let you mark and prioritize important notes visually so you can easily follow up on them again later.

  1. To tag a note, click or tap any line of text you’ve typed or written.

  2. On the Home tab, choose one of the following:

    • Click or tap the To Do The To Do check box tag to add a check box in front of the line of text. This is useful for items in a list of tasks that you need to complete.

    • Click or tap the down arrow next to the To Do icon and choose one of the other tags (Important, Question, Critical, Contact, Address, or Phone Number).

Note: The To Do tag is interactive. You can click or tap the tag to check (or uncheck) the box to keep your To Do lists up-to-date.

Add links

You can format text in OneNote for Windows 10 so it becomes a link.

  1. Select the text you want to format (with a mouse and keyboard, click and drag; on a touch device, double-tap a word and drag the selection handles).

  2. Click or tap Insert > Link.

  3. If necessary, change the words shown in the Text to display box.

  4. Type the URL in the Address box, and then click or tap Insert.

Note: Whenever you start typing a URL in your notes (for example, www.onenote.com), OneNote automatically changes that text to a link. Tapping or clicking a formatted link automatically opens its destination in your browser.

Insert a picture

You can insert pictures from your computer’s camera, or from a file on your computer or device.

To insert a picture from your camera, do the following:

  1. On any page, tap where you want to insert a picture.

  2. On the Home tab, click or tap Camera.

  3. If prompted, allow OneNote to use your computer’s camera.

  4. When the live image appears in your camera, tap the screen to take the picture.

  5. Click or tap Insert All to insert the captured picture (or pictures).

Note: If your device has a camera and you don’t see Camera as an available option, OneNote needs permission to use the camera. Press the WINDOWS key and then go to Settings > Privacy > Camera. Make sure the Camera option is set to On, and in the list of apps below, make sure OneNote is set to On.

To insert a picture from a file:

  1. On any page, tap where you want to insert a picture.

  2. On the Home menu, tap Picture.

  3. Navigate to the location of the picture you want to insert, tap the picture to select it, and tap Open.

Note: To edit a picture already in your notes, first tap to select it. After it’s selected, you can resize it, move it around on the page, or tag it. Press and hold the picture to reveal a menu with more options, including Picture. From the Picture menu, you can rotate the image.

Insert documents and files into notes

To insert a document or file into OneNote:

  1. On any page, tap where you want to insert a document or file.

  2. On the Insert tab, click or tap Picture.

  3. Navigate to the location of the file you want to insert, select it, and then click or tap Open.

Insert a table

To add a new table to your notes:

  1. On any page, tap where you want to insert a table.

  2. Tap the Insert menu, and then tap Table.

    OneNote creates a small table with one row and two columns.

  3. Tap in the first cell and start typing.

To move to the next column (or to create a new column), press the Tab key on your keyboard. To create a new row of cells, place the cursor in the last cell on the right, and then press Enter. If you don’t have a keyboard, click the Table tab to change or format the table.

Add more pages

You can add as many notes to a page as you want, but adding more pages to your notebook will help you keep things organized.

To add a new page, do the following:

  1. At the bottom of the page list on the left side of the app window, click or tap + Page.

    If you don’t see this button, first click or tap the Show Notebooks button Show Notebooks button near the top left of the OneNote app window.

  2. When the new page appears, type a page title above the date and time stamp.

Note: You can change the order of pages by dragging their page titles up and down in the list.

Add more sections

You can keep all your pages in a single notebook section, but adding more sections over time as your notebook grows will help you keep things organized.

To create a new section, do the following:

  1. At the bottom of the sections list on the left side of the app window, click or tap + Section.

    If you don’t see this button, first click or tap the Show Notebooks button Show Notebooks button near the top left of the OneNote app window.

  2. When the new section appears, type a new name to describe the notes you’ll keep in the new section, and then press Enter.

The new section contains a single, blank page. You can begin taking notes on this page and add additional pages whenever you need them.

Note: You can change the order of sections by dragging their names up and down in the list.

Print notes

The beauty of OneNote is that you never have to print anything. All your notes are easily searchable and are easy to share online.

Whenever you do need a hard copy of any page in your notebook, do the following:

  1. Open the page you want to print.

  2. In the upper right corner of the app window, click or tap the . . . button, and then select Print.

  3. In the window that appears, select the printer and any options you want, and then click or tap Print.

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