Differences between using a notebook in the browser and in OneNote

Microsoft OneNote for the web lets you take notes and organize note pages in a web browser. For more advanced editing features, use OneNote for the web ‘s Open in OneNote command. When you save the notebook in OneNote, it is saved on the website where you opened it in OneNote for the web.

The notebook you open in OneNote for the web is the same as the notebook you open in the OneNote desktop app, but some features work differently in the two environments.

In this article

File formats supported in OneNote for the web

Features supported for viewing and printing

Features that differ between the browser and the desktop

Opening notebooks

Editing and formatting

Follow-up on notes

Reviewing

Objects

File formats supported in OneNote for the web

OneNote for the web opens OneNote 2010 and later notebooks (.one files).

OneNote for the web can’t open notebooks in other file formats. For example, these formats are not supported: OneNote 2003 or OneNote 2007 notebooks (.one), OneNote Package (.onepkg), and Portable Document Format (PDF).

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Features supported for viewing and printing

When you view notes in OneNote for the web, you can page through a notebook, expand and collapse sections, see who has contributed which notes, and see previous versions of a page.

However, some features work differently in the browser than they do in the OneNote desktop app. To use features that are not available in OneNote for the web, click Open in OneNote (requiresOneNote 2010 or later).

This feature

Works like this in OneNote for the web

Print

Print is not available in OneNote for the web. Instead, use your browser’s print feature. Use Print Preview to see if you need to scroll to a part of the notebook, or switch page orientation from Portrait to Landscape.

Audio and video

OneNote for the web does not play audio and video content, but the media is preserved in the notebook, and you can download audio and video files to your computer to play them.

Search

Search is limited to the current section in OneNote for the web.

Zoom

Zoom is not available in OneNote for the web. Instead, use your browser’s zoom feature.

Shapes, equations, ink

In OneDrive, OneNote for the web displays shapes and ink, but equations are displayed as placeholders. In SharePoint, ink is viewable, equations are displayed as placeholders, and shapes are hidden.

Rule lines and page color

OneNote for the web cannot display these, but they are preserved in the notebook.

Line breaks

Line breaks are displayed as placeholders.

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Features that differ between the browser and the desktop

When you edit notes, some features work differently in the browser than they do in the OneNote desktop app. The following tables describe how OneNote for the web supports features that might apply to your notes. To use features beyond what’s available in OneNote for the web, click Open in OneNote (requiresOneNote 2010 or later).

Opening notebooks

This feature

Works like this in OneNote Online

Information Rights Management (IRM)

In SharePoint libraries that are IRM-protected, OneNote for the web opens notebooks for reading, but not for editing. IRM protection can’t be added to notebooks in OneNote for the web.

Editing and formatting

This feature

Works like this in OneNote for the web

Copy and Paste

Copy and paste text, and copy/paste pictures from the web. Text pasted within a notebook keeps its original formatting, but text pasted from outside OneNote for the web loses formatting such as bold and italics.

Font formatting

Apply bold, italics, underline, font, size, and color. Note: the Format Painter command is not available in OneNote for the web.

Text formatting

Align text left, right, or centered; run text right-to-left or left-to-right; increase or decrease indentation; format text as a bulleted or numbered list.

Numbering and bullets

Apply built-in numbering or bullet formats.

Styles

Apply one of a gallery of built-in styles. You can also clear formatting.

Search

Search is limited to the current section in OneNote for the web.

Insert Space

The command for creating empty space on the page is not available in OneNote for the web. Try moving notes around to make room, or start a new page.

Rule lines and page color

Commands for changing the look of the page are not available in OneNote for the web. Rule lines and page color are hidden in OneNote for the web, but they are preserved in the notebook.

Co-authoring

Multiple authors can work simultaneously in OneNote 2010, OneNote for the web, and OneNote Mobile. Show and hide author names.

Follow-up on notes

This feature

Works like this in OneNote for the web

Tags

Tag notes for follow-up, and remove tags when you want. Tags cannot be customized in OneNote for the web, and your custom tags are not available to apply. However, OneNote for the web displays custom tags, and you can remove them.

Find Tags

This feature is not available in OneNote for the web.

Outlook integration

OneNote for the web does not support commands that work with Microsoft Outlook (E-mail Page, Outlook Tasks, or Meeting Details).

Reviewing

This feature

Works like this in OneNote for the web

Proofing tools

Check spelling and set the proofing language, using the built-in dictionary. OneNote for the web does not use a custom dictionary and does not include translation or a thesaurus.

Page versions

View and restore previous versions of a page.

Review notes by unread, recent, and author

Notes cannot be marked as read or unread in OneNote for the web, and reviewing edits by how recent they are or by author is not available.

Objects

This feature

Works like this in OneNote for the web

Hyperlinks

Insert, edit, and follow hyperlinks to the web or to other pages in the same notebook. Links to locations within the notebook work at the page, but not the paragraph, level in OneNote for the web.

Tables

Tables are created the same way in OneNote for the web as they are in the OneNote desktop app.

Pictures, clip art, and screen clippings

Insert pictures stored on your computer, or insert clip art available on Office.com. You can change the size of pictures, and add Alt-text. More sophisticated features for working with pictures, such as rotating or ordering in layers back-to-front, are not available in OneNote for the web. You can’t take screen clippings in OneNote for the web, but screen clippings in your notes display as pictures in OneNote for the web.

Audio and video

These are preserved in the notes, but cannot be recorded in OneNote for the web. You can download audio and video files to your computer to play them.

Shapes, equations, and ink

These can’t be inserted or edited in OneNote for the web. In OneDrive, you can select and delete shapes, ink, and equation placeholders. In SharePoint, you can select and delete placeholders for these objects.

Symbols

These can’t be inserted or edited in OneNote for the web, but OneNote for the web displays them as expected.

Embedded files

Download these to your computer to open them.

Timestamp

The commands for inserting the current date and time are not available in OneNote for the web, but OneNote for the web displays them as expected.

Linked notes

The ability to link note-taking to files is not available in OneNote for the web, and links to files are hidden. However, they are preserved in the notes.

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