Hand-written notes bore to take, the details is fixed, and note pads are pitifully simple to lose or harm. Our guide reveals you how to utilize Microsoft OneNote to format, arrange, and maintain your class notes.
By Ben Moore
Like the majority of people, I matured remembering for school in single-subject, college-ruled note pads. Although those note pads were leagues ahead of their ineffective wide-ruled equivalents, they still had downsides. The note pads were vulnerable to harm and loss, it was challenging to discover particular notes, and I undoubtedly lacked pages about three-quarters of the method through the year. A digital note-taking app resolves those problems, however just if you choose some guidelines in advance. This guide information how to establish OneNote for taking school notes and offers some suggestions on how to handle the app’s often aggravating constraints. Moms and dads can follow these very same standards to arrange notes for kids too young to do so themselves.
This guide concentrates on OneNote (particularly the OneNote for Windows 10 app that needs a Microsoft 365 account). Keep in mind that you can download a complimentary variation of OneNote that does not need a Microsoft membership, too. That variation is more comparable to the other Microsoft Workplace applications in regards to styling and functions. The mobile and macOS OneNote apps more carefully look like the OneNote for Windows 10 app.
I chose OneNote for this guide due to the fact that it’s cross-platform, versatile, supports lots of input types (such as touch, handwriting, and stylus), and synchronizes to an outstanding cloud storage service (OneDrive). One function I don’t cover is OneNote’s Class Note pad tools. These abilities are definitely education-focused, however they need coordination with the trainer.
You can use a lot of the company techniques I go over in this guide to older variations of OneNote and other note-taking apps, such as Evernote or Bear. For more basic note-taking recommendations, take a look at our suggestions for handling your notes story. After all, other locations of your life can take advantage of reliable note-taking abilities, too.
OneNote’s hierarchical structure is basic. On top level are note pads, which break down into areas, and after that pages. You can likewise produce devoted area groups within an area and subpages under a page. Think about a note pad as the biggest cumulative organizational group, and move down one level from there with each action.
For instance, you might begin by offering a note pad your school’s name or level (such as primary school, intermediate school, high school, or college). You can utilize your year or grade level as an area name and after that produce area groups for each quarter or term for that year. Then, produce an area for each of your classes and utilize specific pages for notes. If your classes don’t alter each term or quarter, you don’t require to produce area groups.
Additionally, given that there is no useful limitation to page sizes in OneNote, you might simply constantly upgrade one page with associated details. For instance, you might utilize one page to produce lists for each day’s research project, one for remembering, and one for conceptualizing task concepts.
That setup will get untidy rapidly, however, so we advise deciding on a technique that falls someplace in the middle. Keep the company structure, however include particular continuous pages for research tasks and task brainstorms. Simply beginning the name of these areas with a character to ensure it’s constantly at the top of the list (presuming you are arranging OneNote pages alphabetically). You can likewise arrange pages chronologically, which is most likely a simpler method to discover notes from various points in the academic year. If you do can’t discover a note, OneNote’s search function can assist you discover matching text at any level.
Here’s an example of what a OneNote hierarchy might appear like for a high school trainee:
- Note Pad: High School Notes
- Areas: 9th Grade, 10th Grade, 11th Grade, 12th Grade
- Area Groups ( High School Notes > 10th Grade): Fall Term, Spring Term
- Areas ( High School Notes > 10th Grade > Fall Term): Astrophysics, Tax Law, AI Architecture
- Pages ( High School Notes > 10th Grade > Fall Term > Astrophysics): Research Projects, Job Brainstorms, Week 1: Interplanetary Travel
- Subpages ( High School Notes > 10th Grade > Fall Term > Astrophysics > Job Brainstorms): Possible Paths from Earth to Proxima Centauri b
You can alter the color of each Note pad and Area to assist you aesthetically differentiate every one. You can likewise move, erase, or relabel note pads, areas, or pages whenever you desire. This makes it simple to embrace a brand-new structure without needing to go back to square one, as you would with a physical note pad.
Remember that you might discover an order of business app, such as Todoist, valuable for tracking day-to-day tasks. Job management apps, like Asana, and even kanban apps, such as Trello, may be better for tracking continuous tasks.
Pages in OneNote can be daunting. Unlike Word files, OneNote pages have couple of guidelines of structure. You can simply click anywhere and begin typing. This makes it simple to write notes rapidly, however a collage of random notes isn’t valuable when you require to study or discover details.
One design idea I’ve discovered helpful is to allow Guideline lines. Click the View Tab > Guideline Lines > Narrow Ruled. I advise utilizing the Narrow Ruled setting given that those standards compare finest with the default typeface size in OneNote. If you choose a bigger typeface size, attempt to match it with among the other line-spacing alternatives. These guideline lines likewise assist you make sure that you are typing in the left-most area on a page. Simply click to the left of the red vertical line, and your cursor transfers to the left-most position on a guideline line immediately. After that, you can simply begin typing.
Another useful advantage of allowing the Guideline Line view is that the page looks more like a physical notepad. Depending upon your choice, you can even change the background of each page (light or dark), with a range of page colors to select from in each mode. The lines are not a long-term part of your file, so if you copy and paste text or graphics from a page, they won’t appear in the location.
Another issue you may encounter when composing notes is that all your text boxes might not be the very same size. Regrettably, there are no tools for rapidly aligning them or resizing them to the very same width. One workaround is to simply produce one box at the top of the page and constantly type your notes in there for the whole page.
Additionally, if you require to disrupt the text box with a graphic, copy and paste the existing text box into the wanted area. So long as there suffices horizontal area on the page, the resulting text box will be the very same width as the initial. You can then utilize the Guideline Lines to line up the text boxes, given that they snap to incremental horizontal and vertical positions.
You can attempt allowing the Grid Line view for an accurate visual guide, however understand that the edges of a text box do not line up with the edge of the text; text boxes have a little cushioning. If a text box uses up excessive vertical area, you require to erase the additional lines at the bottom of it, given that there is no vertical resize deal with.
If you ever unintentionally drag a things too far to the left of the red line in the Guideline Line view, your page is not permanently destroyed. Simply move the item back over the red line and after that click either the Zoom to 100 or Page Width buttons in the view tab to re-center your view. The scroll bar at the bottom stops at the edge of the red line once again.
Here’s a fast summary of design suggestions:
- Enable Guideline Lines to include structure to the page.
- Keep text box sizes constant by utilizing a single one or copying and pasting the initial.
- Utilize the red line to align your notes.
I won’t enter into every function of OneNote here, however rather emphasize tools that can be useful for composing school notes. For instance, although OneNote’s outstanding illustration tools and input assistance prevail understanding, did you understand that every marking and scribble gets a layer and can be moved or erased after the truth? There’s no requirement to run the risk of highlighters bleeding through a page or obscuring text in OneNote-everything can be reversed.
When it comes to broad company tools, OneNote enables you to produce custom-made tags for categorizing notes. Click the checkbox icon in the House tab to start. You can select from existing tags such as To Do, Crucial, or Suggestion for Later, or you can produce a customized tag. Click anywhere within a text box to include a tag. When you go to look for that tag, you require to include quotes around it for OneNote to acknowledge it as such.
You most likely likewise wish to track when you compose specific notes. OneNote makes that simple. Click into a text box, right-click, and after that pick the last alternative in the context menu, which must reveal your name along with the date and time you initially produced the text box. OneNote then includes this details at your cursor’s position.
OneNote even more take advantage of integrated tools for translation and setting a modifying language. There’s likewise a Smart Lookup tool for specifying terms or checking out subjects. Both of these alternatives open in right-hand panels, so you don’t need to lose your location in your notes.
OneNote has a lots of integrated mathematics tools. Simply begin typing a formula, and OneNote detects the format. The Formula and Mathematics menu alternatives use extra abilities. For instance, you can format complex formulas, produce embeddable charts, and get detailed directions for discovering the worth of a variable.
Not all class permit you to keep a digital gadget out on your desk throughout class, however that shouldn’t stop you from utilizing OneNote. For instance, you might ask your trainer if you can tape-record a lecture, and after that place the audio recording later on. One cool function of OneNote is that you can sync audio recordings to your notes, so that the pertinent parts of a recording play at the specific time you made a note of a note. You might even utilize a transcription service to transform the recording audio into editable text.
You might ask your instructor for a copy of the slides they provided, place those into OneNote, and after that include your in-class notes. You can even scan your handwritten notes utilizing a scanning app, such as Workplace Lens, place those photos into OneNote and copy the text from the photo through the right-click context menu. For those who are finding out from another location, you can utilize this very same ability to rapidly turn a screenshot into editable text.
With lots of trainees now gaining from house due to COVID-19, a great part of your education will be provided digitally anyhow. With that in mind, examine our guide on how and why you must produce a different education-focused account on your PC.
OneNote enables you to password-protect any areas of your note pad, which is valuable if you wish to keep your notes from spying eyes, however you need to not forget the password you set. It’s not recoverable. If you forget your password, there’s no other way to reset gain access to and you will lose all your notes because area. One option would be to save this area password in a password supervisor, which you must be utilizing for school anyhow. However, I don’t advise utilizing this function, due to the fact that the threat simply appears undue. In addition, locked areas can still be completely erased without going into the password.
If you wish to protect access to OneNote, a much better method is to allow two-factor authentication on the Microsoft Account you utilized to check in. That method, you can ensure you are the only one finalizing in to your account.
Although your OneNote note pads are all immediately synced to your Microsoft account’s OneDrive storage, you might still wish to support your notes from time to time. Regrettably, the OneNote for Windows 10 app does not consist of any manual backup alternatives. The complimentary Office-centric variation of the app consists of a regional storage alternative.
Rather, you can sign into OneNote on the internet and head to your Notebooks page. Right-click on the note pad you wish to conserve, and choose Export note pad. Keep these exports in a safe area for emergency situation gain access to. If you wish to include these exports back into OneNote for Windows 10, right-click on the Zip file and choose Extract All. Then, right-click on any drawn out areas, hover over the Open with alternative, andselect OneNote for Windows 10. OneNote might need you to produce a brand-new Quick Notes area prior to importing that area, however you can move areas and pages around as you want. These brand-new areas then get synced back to your account’s cloud storage, like any other areas.
Exporting note pads is likewise valuable for trainees who wish to share notes. Regrettably, OneNote just formally supports sharing at the Note pad level. If you export a note pad and extract specific areas, you can simply send out those files over to a schoolmate for them to import or copy into their own Notebooks.
If you don’t care about re-adding these areas to your note pad, you can print areas to a PDF format, too. To do so, open the area in OneNote online (on a Windows gadget), choose File > Print > Print > Microsoft Print to PDF. Then, simply call the download and pick a conserve area.
Any of the above techniques is even more suggested than attempting to keep a physical note pad in beautiful condition for a whole academic year. To wrap up:
- Don’t lock an area if there’s any opportunity you’ll forget the password.
- Establish two-factor authentication on your Microsoft Account.
- Head to OneNote online to export your note pads.
OneNote for Windows 10 definitely has its peculiarities, however it is an outstanding platform for producing and syncing your notes. OneNote’s versatility can be daunting, too, so it’s up to you to produce a structure that finest fits your requirements. Right-clicking to produce a brand-new note pad might never ever be as interesting as passing through out to a workplace supply shop at the start of an academic year, however it is incredibly hassle-free. Plus, a digital note-taking app provides you even more flexible format and company tools that don’t include physically tearing pages out.