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Notetaking Tools: OneNote

What is OneNote?

OneNote is a digital note-taking app that provides a single place for keeping all of your notes, research, plans, and information - everything you need to remember and manage in your life at home, work, or University. With OneNote, you are not just limited to typed or handwritten notes. You can add images, sound, video, scans, photographs, and attachments to any of your notes. This lets you keep all of your lecture notes in one place, organized into different notebooks, sections, and pages.

Tutorials & Guides

- OneNote Blog

- OneNote Help & Learning

- OneNote Starter Guide

Install & Register

Office 365's OneNote is available for free to students, faculty, and staff of Ohio Northern University. You can download it here, through the Information and Technology website, by clicking the "Sign up for free!" button. Here you will set up your Office 365 account using your ONU credentials.

If you have already downloaded Office 365, then OneNote will already be on your computer and linked to your ONU credentials. 

Add Notes on the Go!

The easiest way to keep on top of your notes is to download the MS Onenote app for iOS or Android.  It will help you add or review notes on the go, and help you stay organized and stay on track. 

Download the app:

App Store

Google Play

Web Extension

OneNote offers a Web Clipper extension to to save articles, web pages, and screen captures directly into OneNote. 

To use it,  open any website, and then click the OneNote Web Clipper icon. The OneNote Web Clipper automatically detects the type of website content you want to capture — an article, a recipe, or a product page.

Your first time using the clipper, you will have to sign into your Microsoft account using your ONU credentials. 

Create Notes

Typing Notes

To start taking notes, you can begin typing anywhere on the page to create a content box. Each content box you make can be dragged and dropped where you want it. To resize a note, drag the side of the content box and resize it. 

Handwritten Notes

You can also handwrite notes with a mouse, stylus, or your finger by simply selecting "Draw," selecting pen and begin writing. If you choose to handwrite your text, you will convert handwriting text. To do so, choose "Select Objects or Type Text" or "Lasso Select." Then draw a circle around the text and select Ink to Text. Now you can edit the text the same way you edit your typed text.

Recorded Audio Notes

With OneNote, you can insert audio recordings. To do so, click or tap on the page, and then select "Insert," then "Audio." OneNote will immediately start recording. To end the recording, select "Stop." To listen to the recording, press the "Play" button, or double-click the audio recording. 

How to Organize your Notes 

OneNote is organized by Notebooks, Sections, and Pages similar to a printed, spiral-bound notebook.


Notebooks are the primary organization category. You can create as many Notebooks as you want for school, job hunting, vacation planning, personal journalling, researching, etc. To create a new notebook, go to "File" and select "New." When you create a new notebook, you can title it whatever you'd like. 

When in OneNote, you can easily move between each notebook on the left-side panel. To edit the notebook right-click on the notebook you would like to change and select "properties."

Here you can change the notebook name and color. 


To create a new section, click the plus sign tab at the end of the notebook bar, it will automatically title it "New Section #", and title it whatever you'd like. This can be very useful when creating notebooks for each of your courses. 

Section Groups

Section Groups let you organize notebooks by activities, topics, themes, or categories that are relevant to you. You can combine existing notebooks into one section by right-clicking in the top notebook bar and selecting "New Section Group". You can name the section whatever you'd like. 

Once you create the new section, add notebooks by dragging them to the Group title. You can also right-click on any notebook and select "Move or Copy" and from the menu, select the grouping you want to add it to. 

This is really useful when wanting to group all your semester courses together. 


 You can have as many pages as you want within each section of your Notebook. On the right-hand side of each section, you can add new pages by clicking on the "Add Page" button. This can help keep your notes separated by subject topic or even class date. 

Search for words in audio and video clips

OneNote can recognize spoken words in audio and video recordings if Audio Search is turned on. This option is turned off by default because it slows down searching. To turn on Audio Search, choose "File," then "Options" and select "Audio & Video." Under "Audio Search," select the "Enable searching audio and video recordings for words check box and click OK. 



In OneNote, your cloud-based notebooks remain private unless you choose to invite other people to view or edit information in the current notebook. To begin collaborating with others, select "File" then "Share," and then choose what you want to do.


Tag Important Notes 

The Tags gallery on the Home tab lets you visually prioritize or categorize selected notes. Tagged notes are marked with icons that prompt you to follow up on your important action items or to check off completed tasks on your to-do lists.

Copy text from pictures

OneNote can recognize text in pictures. On any page, insert a picture containing legible text (for example, a cell phone photo of a receipt), right-click the picture, select Copy.


Insert PDFs

OneNote allows you to insert a PDF as a file attachment or directly into the Notebook page. To do so, go to the Insert tab at the top of the page, select "File Printout" and choose the PDF you would like to insert to the page. You can insert any type of file, Word document, JPEG, PNG, etc., and it will be inserted as a print out. 

Reference Appointments

The Taggart Law Library is here to help! Schedule an appointment with a librarian or chat with us using our online chat feature. Open to ONU Law students, faculty, staff, and alumni.