Posted in OneNote

OneNote Tip for Android – Creating Shortcuts

If you’re an Android user (sorry iOS) you can press and hold on the OneNote icon on your phone to pop up a list of the quick actions available for the app.

But that’s not the tip. The tip is that if you press and hold on the double line to the right of the shortcut on the menu you can create a shortcut to that entry. Press, hold, and drag from the menu to a space on the desktop to create the shortcut so it looks like below:

This is a great way to put shortcuts where you need them.

Posted in Tools

OneNote 2016 is back from the dead

Microsoft has finally come to realize the Windows 10 version of OneNote, no matter how much work they put in, is not a suitable replacement for the desktop version. With that in mind, they’re adding dark mode, installing it by default again, and extending support through 2025 for OneNote 2016.

Sometimes running things on the desktop instead of the web is better after all.

Posted in Chromebook, OneNote, Techniques, Tools

Living with OneNote on a Chromebook

I spend most of my non-client working time on a Chromebook. It’s turned out to be my go-to tool for creating content, managing information, and doing research. Since I also live out of OneNote, it’s important to be able to work around some of the limitations of a Chromebook when using a tool that is focused on the Microsoft suite.

Working Offline

Chromebooks thrive with an internet connection. It makes sense since it’s a browser based operating system. Unfortunately you don’t always have a connection available, so what’s there to do if you’re offline but still need to take notes or look something up? This is where I put the Android version of OneNote to use.

By running the Android app on my Chromebook, I can keep a synchronized copy of my notebooks handy and accessible. It doesn’t offer all the capabilities of the other versions, but when it comes to information access some is better than none.

The bonus of this arrangement is since I’m running on a Chromebook Pro, I can use the stylus to take handwritten notes and drawings to sync later on. It’s a great combination without pushing too far into unnecessary functionality.

Working Online

Once I get back online I can use the OneNote Online version as well as the Android application. The combination gives me a great deal of flexibility while also offering speed and interactivity. The Android application will sync it’s contents once the connection is established so any notes taken offline are safe and secure.

Once online I can also use the Chrome extensions Clip to OneNote and Send to OneNote to capture information to my notebooks for easy online, offline, and mobile access.

It’s not perfect

This setup is not perfect by any stretch of the imagination and could be duplicated by a number of other tools. For my purposes though this has turned into a productivity success for me that requires no effort to keep using day in and day out.

Posted in Tools

OneNote on Android improves search

MSPowerUser reports that OneNote on Android will be getting improved search capabilities in the near future. This is great news since finding information on the go is easiest with robust search. More than once I’ve wasted time tapping through section and page trying to find something only to wind up frustrated.

The improvement of search on Android will be a big help for me when I use OneNote. Will it help you? Let me know in the comments below.

Posted in Techniques

Deletion and better ways of managing OneNote notebooks

OneNote has an inherent issue when it comes to keeping organized…notebooks. It’s not that I’m saying notebooks are a bad way to keep things together. Quite the contrary. The problem comes in with what do you with the crabgrass-like growth of the number of notebooks you have as your time with OneNote grows. Here are the five steps I recommend when you’re ready to get rid of a notebook. (Please note these steps require OneNote 2016 to execute completely.)

Step 1 – Transfer old content

Before you delete an old notebook make sure you’ve gone through and transferred any content you need to retain to a new notebook. You could go through and move things item by item but to save time I recommend creating a section for all the pages you plan to move in the notebook, moving the pages to that section, copying the section to the new notebook, then deleting the section. That extra copy may seem counter-intuitive, but it gives you an extra bit of security in the move in case something goes wrong.

Step 2 – Export to PDF

You can export an entire notebook to a PDF file for easy storage. I recommend this over creating a OneNote package since at this time you’ve already decided to delete the notebook so you won’t need to have the content in an editable format. Exporting it as a PDF file gives you the reassurance of having access to the information in the smallest and most portable format possible.

Step 3 – Create an Archive Notebook

Sometimes we need to keep the content in OneNote format but we don’t need the content in separate notebooks. In these cases I’ll use an Archive notebook. I create a section in the Archive Notebook for the content I am archiving from the old notebook and then move that content over. Once I’m done I have an organized Archive notebook, access to the content I need, and one less extraneous notebook file to keep track of.

Step 4 – Create a link index

One of the tricks with OneNote is you can create links to notebooks, sections, pages, and even content on a page. By creating a master index notebook you can create links to all the content you may need access in a rarely used notebook, clicking on the links to access the information, while reducing your sync load and storage needs. I recommend this highly for content you may need access to while on mobile but can live without if you’re offline.

Step 5 – Leave it alone

If you’re using a system such as OneDrive to store your OneNote files, it might be best to not delete notebooks unless you absolutely need to. You can move them to other out-of-the-way folders, but by keeping the files you can leverage the OneDrive search capability without having to open the notebooks every time.

What you need is a plan

Notebooks are one of those things in OneNote that can be extremely powerful…with some planning. Without a plan as to how best to put them to use, be prepared to become your own librarian.


What do you think?  Talk about it over in the TIP Community.