Microsoft OneNote a step by step guide by iveals

Microsoft OneNote – A Step by Step Complete Guide

Today we’re going to be walking through how to use Microsoft OneNote as well as highlighting some of the most helpful tools and features. Microsoft OneNote is a free notetaking app. We like to think of it as a three-ring binder, where you can keep your thoughts, notes, and documents organized and easily share and collaborate with others. So, let’s get started.

There are two different ways you can get OneNote. First, you can head to and use it on the web entirely for free. You can also install the app. You might already have it with Microsoft 365, but if not, you can download it for free.

Check: Microsoft Office 365 Official – Free Download, Activate and Install

You can install it on Windows, Mac as well as your phone. In this article by iveals, we will be using the version that you can install on your PC. In this tutorial, we are opening a new location for Elizabeth’s candy company and we want to set up a notebook to help organize all our work and make it easy for our team to collaborate.

How to use Microsoft OneNote

So, let’s get started with the fun stuff and create a new notebook.

Microsoft OneNote new file how to use iveals

It will first ask you where you want to save your new notebook. You can choose to save it on OneDrive, which will allow you to access your notebook from anywhere with an Internet connection. Or you can save it directly to your PC. We are going to save it to our OneDrive. It will then ask you to create a notebook name. You can change this name at any time, then select Create Notebook.

iveals Microsoft One Note 365

It will then ask you if you want to invite any other people to join your notebook. We’re going to walk through this step later on, so for now we are going to select not now.

You have a few options. When you take notes in OneNote, you could type on your keyboard, and use your stylus or finger to write. Or you could click on the dictate button under the home tab and OneNote will type out anything it hears.

You can also use the transcribe feature if you have multiple people in a meeting and you want to have OneNote isolate and then type what each speaker says.

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If you don’t want to use a blank page to type your notes, you can use one of OneNote’s templates. If we go ahead here to add a page, we can then go up to the insert tab, and select page templates, and they have an assortment of templates that you can use, including ones for notetaking, simple to-do lists, or ones that offer more of an artistic touch.

Templates and Tags in Microsoft OneNote

make documents

You could go ahead and play with these to see what might work best for you. One of the most useful features of notetaking in OneNote is adding tags to your notes. Adding tags allows you to more easily navigate your notebook. Going back to the notes that we posted earlier, we are going to add tags to some of our notes, by going to the home tab and then scrolling to the right into the tags area.

OneNote has pre-populated some of the most helpful tags, including remember for later questions, important, and of course your to-do list. You’ll notice that each tag has a keyboard shortcut, so if you’re using these often, they’re helpful to memorize.

MS OneNote

Let’s go ahead and, highlight things that we need to remember for later things that might be important for us to remember, and questions that we are going to need to follow up on. Select the text and add Tags. Tags can be especially helpful when you’re closing your notebook and coming back at a later time. At any point, you can scroll up to the tags area and select Find Tags.

To Do Lists

Since this store is going to take a lot of work to put together, we are going to want to create multiple to-do lists throughout our OneNote. Luckily, it’s pretty simple to do. If we go to our to-do list page that we created earlier, we can then scroll up to tags and select the to-do tag. This will start our to-do list. You can also use the keyboard shortcut control plus one. You can have as many to-do lists as you want throughout your OneNote.

Also, you can have as many items as you want on each to-do list. As you complete your items, you can then select the box to check them off. Similar to how we searched for tags previously. You can scroll up to find tags. It will then show you the items on your various to-do lists and then it will show you which ones have been checked off and which ones still need your attention.

MS Office

As we look at the different types of tags that you can use within your OneNote, we also want to show you how you can create a custom tag. Let’s go back to our original meeting notes page.

Since there’s a lot of information that we are going to need to send to our team, we want to create a tag for that. Under tag, you can select customize tags and either modify an existing one or create a brand-new one.

MS Word

In our case, we are going to name our tag, send it to the team, and then select a custom symbol. You can also choose a custom font or highlight color. You can then highlight any information you want with your new tag.

add tags in OneNote

Now that we’ve looked at some helpful notetaking features, it’s time for us to move on and create a new section.

Make a list

Drawing Functions

One of the things we need to do to prepare for the opening of our new store is to create an interior design layout and we are going to use some of OneNote’s drawing functions to do that.

making drawings in one note

Now, you can also draw with touch. This allows you to use your mouse or your finger on your screen to draw.

You’ll notice here we are going to begin drawing the interior layout of our store, beginning with a counter, some shelving, and some tables in the middle. You’ll see here that we bring the rough-to-rough sketches, but luckily OneNote can help a bit.

We are going to go ahead and undo what we just did and then select the automatic shapes function. Now, when we draw our counter a little wobbly woozy, OneNote will automatically adjust that for us into a much more good-looking shape.

Also, it will align them pretty closely and at least bring your rough sketches a little bit more artistic flair. For those of you with more artistic talent than we, OneNote provides you with a variety of backgrounds that you can use to help you draw, including rule lines and grid lines.

There’s also a ruler function. OneNote also provides a similar function that we used in the shapes for writing. First, let us go ahead and redo the formatting here. Turn off ruler, and then let’s say we want to write while we draw here. We are going to write that these are shelves. Again. You can see the handwriting with our mouse has something to be desired as well. But if we go ahead and select any writing here on the page, we can then click on ink to text and suddenly our chicken scratches look a lot better. You can then format that and make it look quite lovely.


Ink to Math Function – Microsoft OneNote

Another interesting function is called ink to math, and that can also be found under the draw tab. Let’s say that we want to make a note that we need four shelving units on each side of our wall. So, we are going to go ahead and have OneNote take our chicken scratches and make it into a much more pleasing thing to look at.

math equations in OneNote

Once you have an equation inserted within your OneNote, you then have the equation tab open up. This allows you to select a whole variety of symbols. Also, it allows you to have a whole bunch of pre-populated structures for you to use.

Now let’s go back to my tabs and move on. To get out of the full page, we can go to the view tab and unselect, full page.

But while we are here, let’s take a quick look at another helpful feature called Switch background. If you’re taking notes in a meeting and perhaps you don’t want your screen to be so bright, clicking on switch background will change your background screen to black. Likewise, if you’re drawing like we just were and you want things to pop a bit more and show others, this could be a helpful feature.

Switch Background

We hope that you will like our little tutorial of Microsoft OneNote here. You can also watch full step by step tutorial in the vide given above.

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