OneNote quick start guide

Applies to

Microsoft Office OneNote 2003 Service Pack 1 or later

New to Microsoft Office OneNote 2003? Use this step-by-step guide, and getting started with OneNote will be as easy as flipping open your old tattered spiral notebook. After you start using OneNote, you just might put that notebook on the shelf for good!

When you're more familiar with OneNote, you will likely have your own way of creating and organizing your notes. Until then, this guide is your resource for getting started. You'll learn about the basic features of OneNote, learn how to organize your notes so you can use and refer to them more easily, and learn how to share your notes with others. You will also learn about some additional OneNote features.

Understanding the basics

In OneNote, you take notes on pages — just as you would on paper. Your notes can include text and graphics — including text or graphics from Web pages — handwriting, audio, video, and more. You can add space on a page for adding more notes, you can add new pages as you take notes, and you can add as many pages as you like.

Create a page

To create a page:

  1. Click the New Page New Page tab tab along the side of the OneNote window. (Click the arrow next to the New Page tab to choose a blank page or to see options for stationery.)

  2. In the Title box at the top of the page, type a title for the page.

Type or write notes on a page

To take notes in OneNote, do one of the following:

  • If you're using a keyboard, click where you want to type your notes, and then type them on the page.

  • If you're using a pen-input device or a Tablet PC, click Pen Button image on the Standard toolbar, and then write your notes on the page. To switch back to typing, click Type/Selection Tool Button image on the Standard toolbar.

Add text or a graphic from a Web page

In a Web browser, do any of the following:

  • To add a graphic, drag it from the browser window to a location on the page in OneNote.

  • To add text, select the text, and then drag it to a location on the page in OneNote.

When you add text or a graphic from a Web page, the address of the Web page automatically appears below it so you can easily refer to the Web page again.

Move text

To move text, do any of the following:

  • To move text within the same page, click the top edge of the note container, and then drag the container to a new location.

  • To copy or move text from one page to another page, right-click the top edge of the note container, click Copy or Cut on the shortcut menu, and then paste the notes to the page you want.

Getting organized

You can organize your notebook into pages, sections, and folders according to subject — much as you would organize the contents of a binder or file cabinet. You organize pages into sections, and you organize sections into folders.

Create a section

To create a section:

  1. On the File menu, click New.

  2. In the New task pane, click Section.

  3. Type a name for the section.

Create a folder for storing sections

You can use folders to organize sections into even broader categories of notes. A folder can contain one or more sections, or other folders, and you can create as many folders as you like.

To create a folder:

  1. On the File menu, click New.

  2. In the New task pane, click Folder.

  3. Type a name for the folder.

Move a page

To move a page, do any of the following:

  • To move a page within a section, drag the tab for the page to the right until a small arrow appears, and then drag the tab up or down to a new location in the section.

  • To move a page to a different section or to a folder, right-click the page tab, point to Move Page To on the shortcut menu, and then choose the section or folder where you want to move the page. Choose Another Section if the section or folder you want does not appear. To view the page after you move it, open the section that you moved the page to, and then click the tab for the page.

Add flags to your notes

By using flags, you can get even more mileage out of the organizational features of OneNote. A flag is a symbol that provides additional information about a note, such as the importance of a note and whether you need to take any action to follow up on a note. OneNote provides several predefined flags, such as To Do and Important, that you can associate with your notes. You can also create custom flags. After you add flags to your notes, you can search your notes for flagged items and you can group flagged items together according to flag name.

Find a note

The information in your notes is helpful only if you can find it again! By using OneNote, you can easily search for and find specific information in your notes — and much more quickly than flipping through pages and pages in a paper notebook.

Sharing notes

Now you know the basics of creating and organizing your notes. If you want to share some of those notes with others, you can do so in a few ways.

Print notes

Maybe you want to share paper copies of notes you've taken in a meeting or a class. Or perhaps you want to take a list you've created to the grocery store. You can print your notes.

Send notes in e-mail

If Microsoft Office Outlook® 2003 is installed on your computer, you can send your notes to someone as an e-mail message. When you do so, the text and graphics in your notes both appear in the body of the e-mail message and are attached to the message as a OneNote (.one) file. Other people who use OneNote can easily add the .one file to their own notebooks.

Shared notebook sessions

Another exciting way to share notes is to join or start a shared note-taking session. A shared note-taking session allows multiple OneNote users to work on the same notebook page or pages in real time.

To join or start a shared notebook session:

  1. On the File menu, click Share with Others.

  2. In the Share with Others task pane, click Join a Session or Start a Session.

Using OneNote with other Microsoft Office programs

Information in OneNote is easily shared with other Microsoft Office programs, making it simpler and quicker for you to create, review, and take notes on documents and also keep track of meetings, tasks, and contacts.

Insert files from other Office programs

Files from other Microsoft Office programs — including Microsoft Office Word, Microsoft Office PowerPoint®, and Microsoft Office Excel — can be inserted into OneNote so that you can view and comment on the files in your notes.

To insert an image of a document into your notes:

  1. On the Insert menu, click Document as Picture.

  2. Click the document that you want to insert, and then click Insert.

Publish information to Word

You can create a new Microsoft Office Word 2003 document directly from OneNote by selecting information in your notes and then publishing it to Word.

To publish information to Word:

  • On the File menu, click Send to Microsoft Office Word.

Share information with Outlook

In OneNote, you can insert meeting details from Microsoft Office Outlook 2003, assign tasks in Outlook, create new contacts from information stored in your notebook, and create Outlook appointments.

To insert details about a meeting:

  1. On the Insert menu, click Outlook Meeting Details.

  2. Click the meeting that you want.

To create Outlook items:

  • On the Tools menu, point to Create Outlook Item, and then click the type of Outlook item that you want.

Using some additional features

Create a side note

You can use OneNote to quickly create a new note — a side note — in a miniature OneNote window.

To create a side note:

  • Click Open New Side Note Open new side note icon in the notification area, at the far right of the Microsoft Windows taskbar, and then type or write your note in the window that appears.

Use OneNote from the Windows taskbar

You can use the OneNote icon in the notification area, at the far right of the Microsoft Windows® taskbar, to access several different OneNote features. Right-click the icon to start OneNote (if the program is not already open), create a side note, begin an audio recording, or create a screen clipping.

Choose stationery for your notes

You can choose a style of paper for a notes page in OneNote — for example, lined, graph, or blank — much as you might choose a style of paper for a paper notebook. These styles are referred to as stationery. OneNote includes predefined stationery from which you can choose, or you can create your own stationery.

To choose stationery for a new page:

  • Click the arrow next to the New Page New Page tab tab, and then click the stationery you want, or click More Stationery Choices and Options on the shortcut menu.

Copy notes from a Pocket PC or a Smartphone

You can copy notes (.pwi files) from a Windows Mobile™–based Pocket PC, or voice recordings from a Pocket PC or Windows Mobile–based Smartphone, into OneNote so that all of your notes are stored in one location. You can set up OneNote to copy notes or recordings from your mobile device automatically, each time you connect it to your computer when OneNote is running, or you can choose to copy them only when you want.

Learn more about copying notes or recordings from a Pocket PC or a Smartphone

Save your notes

You never need to save your notes. OneNote automatically saves them as you are working and whenever you close the program or a section.

Now you're ready to use OneNote on your own!

Thanks to Ben Schorr, Microsoft Outlook and OneNote MVP, for contributing to this guide.

Was this information helpful?

Great! Any other feedback?

How can we improve it?

Thank you for your feedback!