Microsoft OneNote: Top Features, Hotkeys

Microsoft OneNote is a note-taking application that has been around for about 15 years. It’s one of the most popular cross-platform applications in this space and it remains very powerful on Windows as well.

What is Microsoft OneNote?

It’s a note taking app which includes many features like formatting text with different fonts, bulleted lists, inserting tables or pictures from your device or camera roll to create a presentation type feel in your notebook pages among others. These can be exported then published as PDF files if desired so you can share them more easily than just sending someone a link through email or OneDrive for example.

Microsoft OneNote supports Android and iOS, too. The mobile version has Sticky note functionality and allows you to save notes offline.

The user interface is easy enough not to take much time or effort to learn, but still has a lot of features that will be useful for organizing all your thoughts in one place like Notebooks and Pages. It also lets you use hashtags (#) for quick searching so if I want access my “Work” section quickly I type #work then after the hashtag it searches through everything with work in the title, body text or tags.

It can open files from other applications like Word (docx) as well which makes it even more flexible because there are many different programs out there that people might need to edit documents on their PC without having OneNote installed.

Reasons to use OneNote:

  1. OneNote is a free, powerful note-taking app that syncs across all of your devices.
  2. It’s easy to use and has lots of features for organizing notes.
  3. You can share notebooks with others to collaborate on projects together.
  4. It integrates with other Microsoft products like Word and Excel so you can easily create documents from within the app.
  5. There are no limits on how many pages or sections you can have in a notebook, which means it’s perfect for long-term projects or research papers where you need to keep track of different ideas as they come up during your work.
  6. You can also insert pictures into your notes, which makes them more engaging and easier to understand when reading back through them later.

The only downside is that its search function is completed. It searches in the whole account instead of one page.

OneNote Hotkeys

Frequently used shortcuts

To do thisPress
Open a new OneNote window.Ctrl+M
Create a Quick Note.Ctrl+Shift+MWindows logo key+Alt+N
Dock the OneNote window.Ctrl+Alt+D
Undo the previous action.Ctrl+Z
Redo the previous action, if possible.Ctrl+Y
Select all items on the current page.Ctrl+ATo expand the selection, press Ctrl+A again.
Cut the selected text or item.Ctrl+X
Copy the selected text or item to the Clipboard.Ctrl+C
Paste the contents of the Clipboard.Ctrl+V
Move to the beginning of the line.Home
Move to the end of the line.End
Move one word to the left.Ctrl+Left arrow key
Move one word to the right.Ctrl+Right arrow key
Delete one character to the left.Backspace
Delete one character to the right.Delete
Delete one word to the left.Ctrl+Backspace
Delete one word to the right.Ctrl+Delete
Insert a line break without starting a new paragraph.Shift+Enter
Check spelling.F7
Open the thesaurus for the currently selected word.Shift+F7
Display the context menu for the currently focused object.Shift+F10
Perform the action suggested on the Information Bar when it appears at the top of a page.Ctrl+Shift+W
Play the selected audio recording.Ctrl+Alt+P
Stop audio recording playback.Ctrl+Alt+S
Skip the current audio recording backward by 10 seconds.Ctrl+Alt+Y
Skip the current audio recording forward by 10 seconds.Ctrl+Alt+U

Format notes

To do thisPress
Highlight the selected text.Ctrl+Alt+H
Insert a hyperlink.Ctrl+K
Copy the formatting of the selected text (Format Painter).Ctrl+Shift+C
Paste the formatting to the selected text (Format Painter).Ctrl+Shift+V
Open a hyperlink.Enter, when on the hyperlink text
Apply or remove bold formatting.Ctrl+B
Apply or remove italics formatting.Ctrl+I
Apply or remove underline formatting.Ctrl+U
Apply or remove strikethrough formatting.Ctrl+Hyphen (-)
Apply or remove superscript formatting.Ctrl+Shift+Equal sign (=)
Apply or remove subscript formatting.Ctrl+Equal sign (=)
Apply or remove bulleted list formatting.Ctrl+Period (.)
Apply or remove numbered list formatting.Ctrl+Slash (/)
Apply a Heading 1 style to the current note.Ctrl+Alt+1
Apply a Heading 2 style to the current note.Ctrl+Alt+2
Apply a Heading 3 style to the current note.Ctrl+Alt+3
Apply a Heading 4 style to the current note.Ctrl+Alt+4
Apply a Heading 5 style to the current note.Ctrl+Alt+5
Apply a Heading 6 style to the current note.Ctrl+Alt+6
Clear all formatting applied to the selected text. (Apply the Normal style.)Ctrl+Shift+N
Increase the paragraph indent.Alt+Shift+Right arrow keyTab key, when at the beginning of a line
Decrease the paragraph indent.Alt+Shift+Left arrow keyShift+Tab, when at the beginning of a line
Align the paragraph to the left.Ctrl+L
Align the paragraph to the right.Ctrl+R
Increase the font size of the selected text.Ctrl+Shift+Right angle bracket (>)
Decrease the font size of the selected text.Ctrl+Shift+Left angle bracket (<)
Show or hide the rule lines on the current page.Ctrl+Shift+R

Insert items on a page

To do thisPress
Insert a document or file on the current page.Alt+N, F
Insert a document or file as a printout on the current page.Alt+N, O
Show or hide document printouts on the current page (when running OneNote in High Contrast mode).Alt+Shift+P
Insert a picture from a file.Alt+N, P
Insert a picture from a scanner or a camera.Alt+N, S
Insert a screen clipping. Note: The OneNote icon must be active in the Windows taskbar notification area.Windows logo key+Shift+SIn OneNote 2007 and 2010, Windows logo key+S
Insert the current date.Alt+Shift+D
Insert the current date and time.Alt+Shift+F
Insert the current time.Alt+Shift+T
Insert a line break.Shift+Enter
Start a math equation or convert selected text to a math equation.Alt+Equal sign (=)

Work with tables

To do thisPress
Create a table.Tab key, after typing a new line of text
Create another column in a table with a single row.Tab key
Create another row when at the end cell of a table.EnterNote: Press Enter again to finish the table.
Insert a row below the current row.Ctrl+Enter, when in a table cell
Create another paragraph in the same cell in a table.Alt+Enter
Create a column to the right of the current column in a table.Ctrl+Alt+R
Create a column to the left of the current column in a table.In OneNote 2010, Ctrl+Alt+E
Create a row above the current one in a table.Enter, when the cursor is at the beginning of any row, except for the first row
Create a new cell.Tab key, when in the last cell of the table
Delete the current empty row in a table.Delete, then Delete again, when the cursor is at the beginning of the row

Select text and objects

To do thisPress
Select all items on the current page.Ctrl+ATo expand the selection, press Ctrl+A again.
Select to the end of the line.Shift+End
Select the whole line.Shift+Down arrow key, when the cursor is at the beginning of the line
Jump to the title of the page and select it.Ctrl+Shift+T
Cancel selecting the outline or page.Esc
Move the selected paragraphs upward.Alt+Shift+Up arrow key
Move the selected paragraphs downward.Alt+Shift+Down arrow key
Increase the paragraph indent.Alt+Shift+Left arrow key
Decrease the paragraph indent.Alt+Shift+Right arrow key
Select the current paragraph and its subordinate paragraphs.Ctrl+Shift+Hyphen (-)
Delete the selected note or object.Delete
Move to the beginning of the line.Home
Move to the end of the line.End
Go back to the last page visited.Alt+Left arrow key
Go forward to the next page visited.Alt+Right arrow key

Tag notes

To do thisPress
Apply, mark, or clear the To Do tag.Ctrl+1
Apply or clear the Important tag.Ctrl+2
Apply or clear the Question tag.Ctrl+3
Apply or clear the Remember for later tag.Ctrl+4
Apply or clear the Definition tag.Ctrl+5
Apply or clear a custom tag.Ctrl+6
Apply or clear a custom tag.Ctrl+7
Apply or clear a custom tag.Ctrl+8
Apply or clear a custom tag.Ctrl+9
Remove all note tags from the selected notes.Ctrl+0

Use outlines

To do thisPress
Show through Level 1.Alt+Shift+1
Expand to Level 2.Alt+Shift+2
Expand to Level 3.Alt+Shift+3
Expand to Level 4.Alt+Shift+4
Expand to Level 5.Alt+Shift+5
Expand to Level 6.Alt+Shift+6
Expand to Level 7.Alt+Shift+7
Expand to Level 8.Alt+Shift+8
Expand to Level 9.Alt+Shift+9
Expand all levels.Alt+Shift+0
Expand the selected heading.Alt+Shift+Equal sign (=)
Collapse the selected heading.Alt+Shift+Hyphen (-)
Increase the indent by one level.Tab key
Decrease the indent by one level.Shift+Tab
Expand a collapsed outline.Alt+Shift+Plus sign (+)
Collapse an expanded outline.Alt+Shift+Minus sign (-)

Specify language settings

To do thisPress
Set writing direction left to right.Ctrl+Left shift
Set writing direction right to left.Ctrl+Right shift
Increase indent by one level in right-to-left text.Tab key
Decrease indent by one level in right-to-left text.Shift+Tab

Work with pages

To do thisPress
Enable or disable the full page view.F11
Open a new OneNote window.Ctrl+M
Create a Quick Note.Ctrl+Shift+M
Expand or collapse the tabs of a page group.Ctrl+Shift+Asterisk (*)
Print the current page.Ctrl+P
Add a new page at the end of the selected section.Ctrl+N
Increase the width of the page tabs bar.Ctrl+Shift+Left bracket ([)
Decrease the width of the page tabs bar.Ctrl+Shift+Right bracket (])
Create a new page below the current page tab at the same level.Ctrl+Alt+N
Decrease indent level of the current page tab label.Ctrl+Alt+Left bracket ([)
Increase indent level of the current page tab label.Ctrl+Alt+Right bracket ([)
Create a new subpage below the current page.Ctrl+Shift+Alt+N
Select all items.Ctrl+ATo expand the selection, press Ctrl+A again.
Select the current page.Ctrl+Shift+AIf the selected page is part of a group, press Ctrl+A to select all of the pages in the group.
Move the selected page tab up.Alt+Shift+Up arrow key
Move the selected page tab down.Alt+Shift+Down arrow key
Move to the page title.Ctrl+Shift+T
Go to the first page in the currently visible set of page tabs.Alt+Page Up
Go to the last page in the currently visible set of page tabs.Alt+Page Down
Scroll up in the current page.Page Up
Scroll down in the current page.Page Down
Scroll to the top of the current page.Ctrl+Home
Scroll to the bottom of the current page.Ctrl+End
Go to the next paragraph.Ctrl+Down arrow key
Go to the previous paragraph.Ctrl+Up arrow key
Move the cursor up on the current page, or expand the page up.Ctrl+Alt+Up arrow key
Move the cursor down on the current page, or expand the page down.Ctrl+Alt+Down arrow key
Move the cursor left on the current page, or expand the page to the left.Ctrl+Alt+Left arrow key
Move the cursor right on the current page, or expand the page to the right.Ctrl+Alt+Right arrow key
Go to the next note container.Alt+Down arrow key
Go to the beginning of the line.Home
Go to the end of the line.End
Go to the previous page visited.Alt+Left arrow key
Go to the next page visited, if possible.Alt+Right arrow key
Zoom in.Alt+Ctrl+Plus sign (on the numeric keypad)Alt+Ctrl+Shift+Plus sign (+)
Zoom out.Alt+Ctrl+Minus sign (on the numeric keypad)Alt+Ctrl+Shift+Hyphen (-)
Synchronize the notebook.Note: While OneNote is running, your notes are automatically saved whenever you change them. Manually saving notes isn’t necessary.Ctrl+S

Work with notebooks and sections

To do thisPress
Open OneNote.Windows logo key+Shift+N
Open a notebook.Ctrl+O
Open a section.Ctrl+Alt+Shift+O
Send to OneNote Tool.Windows logo key+N
Create a new section.Ctrl+T
Go to the next section.Ctrl+Tab
Go to the previous section.Ctrl+Shift+Tab
Go to the next page in the section.Ctrl+Page Down
Go to the previous page in the section.Ctrl+Page Up
Go to the first page in the section.Alt+Home
Go to the last page in the section.Alt+End
Go to the first page in the currently visible set of page tabs.Alt+Page Up
Go to the last page of the currently visible set of page tabs.Alt+Page Down
Move or copy the current page.Ctrl+Alt+M
Put focus on the current page tab.Ctrl+Alt+G
Select the current page tab.Ctrl+Shift+A
Put focus on the current section tab.Ctrl+Shift+G
Move the current section.Ctrl+Shift+G, and then Shift+F10, M
Switch to a different notebook on the Navigation bar.Ctrl+G, use the Down or Up arrow key to select a notebook, then press Enter

Search through notes

To do thisPress
Move to the Search box to search all notebooks.Ctrl+E
While searching all notebooks, preview the next result.Down arrow key
While searching all notebooks, go to the selected result and dismiss the search.Enter
Change the search scope.Ctrl+E, Tab key, Spacebar
Open the Search Results pane.Alt+O after searching
Search the current page.Ctrl+F
While searching the current page, move to the next result.EnterF3
While searching the current page, move to the previous result.Shift+F3
Dismiss the search and return to the page.Esc

Share notes

To do thisPress
Send the selected pages in an e-mail message.Ctrl+Shift+E
Create a Today Outlook task from the selected note.Ctrl+Shift+1
Create a Tomorrow Outlook task from the selected note.Ctrl+Shift+2
Create a This Week Outlook task from the selected note.Ctrl+Shift+3
Create a Next Week Outlook task from the selected note.Ctrl+Shift+4
Create a No Date Outlook task from the selected note.Ctrl+Shift+5
Open the selected Outlook task.Ctrl+Shift+K
Mark the selected Outlook task as complete.Ctrl+Shift+9
Delete the selected Outlook task.Ctrl+Shift+0
Synchronize changes in the current shared notebook.Shift+F9
Synchronize changes in all shared notebooks.F9
Mark the current page as Unread.Ctrl+Q

Protect notes

To do thisPress
Lock all password-protected sections.Ctrl+Alt+L

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