You often have to take notes on various topics, ideas or business meetings but, not finding the use of classic pen and paper very comfortable, you are looking for a solution to use on the devices you use every day. You are not looking, however, for a simple app or software to create notes, but you need a solution that can make your notes available on any platform you use. Don’t worry, I think I have the answer to your needs: OneNote .
OneNote is a free software developed by Microsoft, available on both computers and mobile devices, thanks to which you can take notes by creating notes available at any time on all devices connected to your Microsoft account. How do you say? Is it just what you were looking for? Very good! Because in this guide I will explain how to use OneNote step by step using the devices on which the application is available.
Courage: sit comfortably and take a few minutes to read the advice I have prepared for you in this guide of mine. I’m sure that, by the end of reading, you will have adequate knowledge of OneNote, so that you will be able to take notes and have your notes always with you. Are you ready? I just have to wish you a good reading and, above all, a good job!
- How to use OneNote on PC
- Use OneNote on smartphones and tablets
- How to use OneNote on Teams
How to use OneNote on PC
OneNote can be used on a computer both through the web panel , accessible from the browser, and through the application for Windows and macOS . It is a completely free service from Microsoft that does not require the outlay of money, as it happens instead for the products of the Office suite . The only requirement, however, is to have a Microsoft account , which you can create for free by following the tutorial I have just linked to you.
To use the web version of OneNote , reach this link , press the Sign in button and type the login credentials of the Microsoft account you have. To download OneNote on Windows 10 or Windows 11 , instead, reach this link , in order to open the application page on the Microsoft Store . Then click the Get button and wait for the program to automatically download and install.
If you are using an older version of Windows, such as Windows 7 , to download OneNote you need to connect to this web page and click the Download button . Then double-click on the .exe file you just downloaded and, in the window that appears, press the Yes button and then click Close , at the end of the automatic procedure. I remind you that this version of OneNote with executable is included in Microsoft 365 and in the Office suite (starting from 2019) with the additional features of local storage of notes and customization of settings, not present in the other versions of this service.
If you want to know how to use OneNote on Mac instead , access the OneNote page on the Mac App Store , press the Get button and then the Install button to download and install the app. You may be asked to type in your Apple ID password or use Touch ID to complete the task.
You can freely choose the platform on which to use OneNote, because its interface is almost identical on Windows, macOS and from the Web. The different versions differ only in some features, which I will talk about in detail in the next paragraphs.
As I have already indicated, through the web panel you are asked for your Microsoft account login credentials to log in to OneNote. The same thing happens, however, even using the desktop application: on Windows , after starting the application, press the Personal Microsoft account button and select the Microsoft account you see on the screen or, if necessary, add one by pressing on the wording Microsoft account .
On macOS , on the other hand, when OneNote starts, press the Sign in button , follow the on-screen procedure to log in with your Microsoft account and, finally, click the Start using OneNote button . Having made this premise on the installation procedures, let’s now see in detail how to use OneNote to take notes .
In the main OneNote screen, in the left sidebar, there are two columns: the first shows the sections , which group your notes just as if they were folders; in the second column, on the other hand, the pages for each single section are arranged . Each page, then, can contain all the notes you want.
To add a new section, click on the Add section button located at the bottom left. To create a new page, click on the Add page button located at the bottom left. Using the appropriate drop-down menu above the columns, you can instead manage and create new notebooks, which represent a further higher level for organizing notes.
In the version of OneNote with executable or included in Office, to add a new section you have to click on the + button next to the tabs at the top, while to insert a new page, use the appropriate Add page button in the right column. However, the method for creating new notebooks remains the same as in the other desktop versions.
In the central section of the OneNote interface, you can read the notes and edit them through the tools found in the menu bar at the top, which is divided into several tabs. The Home tab contains tools for formatting text: font size , font , bold , italics , bullets , margin indents , styles , text alignment , and markings .
This last feature, that is the markings , allows you to add markers on the text of the notes with easily recognizable labels at a glance. For example, if you have typed a phone number in a note, you can apply the Phone Number tag which will show an icon with a phone handset . You can also decide to create custom markings both in the text and in the icon (this cannot be done from the web panel).
Using the Insert tab , you can add elements to notes, such as tables or an image or an attached file . In addition, you can also record audio with the microphone and add hyperlinks to individual terms or pieces of text.
There are also other tools available that are not found on all platforms: for example, the Emoji menu is only available in the Web panel, the Symbols menu only on Windows or from the Web, while the Equation panel , for writing mathematical formulas, is only available on the desktop version.
If you are wondering how to use OneNote with a graphic tablet , you should know that you can also take your notes freehand. Of course, you will need a graphics tablet or a computer with a touch screen. If you meet these requirements, in the Drawing tab , you can draw or write freehand or add predefined shapes to your notes.
Finally, in the View tab , there are tools to change the way the note is displayed on the screen, open the different panels on the left and change the background of the note. In the version of OneNote with Executable or included with Office, there is also the Review tab , which allows you to check spelling or set a password for accessing a section’s notes.
You do not need to save your notes, as they are automatically synchronized with Microsoft servers, so that they are available at any time on all compatible devices you log in to. Also, you can share notes with other users to allow them to edit or just view them. To do this, click on the Share button , at the top left, and type in the email address of the recipient’s Microsoft account.
Use OneNote on smartphones and tablets
You can also use OneNote on smartphones and tablets, to write notes and have notes written on other devices at your fingertips. To download the OneNote app, go to the Android Play Store (or alternative stores , if you have a device without Google services) or the iOS / iPadOS App Store . On Android , tap the Install button and finally click Open . On iOS / iPadOS , on the other hand, presses the Get button , unlock the download and installation with the Face ID , Touch ID or iCloud password and, finally, tap the Open button.
After launching the app, log in with your Microsoft account to reach the home screen. The OneNote app interface differs slightly between the smartphone version or the tablet version. In fact, OneNote on tablet is very similar to the desktop counterpart, so you can trust what I have already described to you in the previous chapter : for example, if you want to use OneNote on iPad , all the tools are distributed within the Home , Insert , Draw and View , located at the top.
On smartphones, however, the functionalities are reduced: in fact, it is only possible to format the text and add attachments, using the buttons above the virtual keyboard. In addition, on Android it is also possible to practice free hand drawing ( marker icon located at the top), a feature that is not available on iPhone.
If you want to create a new note, on the OneNote main screen, first tap the Notebook item or access one of the blocks already created. Then, create a new section using the appropriate + icon or tap on an existing one. Finally, select a page or press the + icon to create one. The changes are saved automatically.
How to use OneNote on Teams
To learn how to use OneNote for distance learning using Microsoft Teams , all you have to do is add the appropriate app within your team’s tools. To do this, after starting Microsoft Teams , click on the Teams tab on the left and then click on the icon (…) next to the team to which you want to add OneNote.
Now, in the screen on the right, select the App tab , press the More apps button and, using the bar at the top, type the term “onenote” . Then click on the corresponding search result and, in the OneNote tab , press the ▼ icon next to the Add button . So choose whether to add OneNote to the team ( Add to team ) or to a chat ( Add to a chat ).
Whatever choice you make, in the screen that is shown to you, choose the team or chat on which you want to add OneNote and then press the Configure a card button . Now, choose which notebook and section of OneNote to share and hit the Save button . You will then be shown the OneNote interface, the same one I told you about in the previous chapter on how this app works.