Microsoft OneNote tutorial

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Microsoft’s OneNote is a popular note-taking app. As we generally use MS Word, MS Excel, and MS Powerpoint, we don’t know much about the other Microsoft apps. Microsoft OneNote is another quite useful app, which can help you in being productive. This article “Microsoft OneNote tutorial” will cover all the things you need to know before starting to keep notes in OneNote.

Microsoft OneNote Tutorial: What it is?

As we stated above, Microsoft OneNote is a note-taking app or simply a ‘Digital notebook’. In Microsoft OneNote, you can store and organise your important notes, whether related to studies or work. Here you can have a separate section for different topics or subjects. It is a great way of keeping notes, where you can boost your productivity as well.

In this tutorial, we will learn to use Microsoft OneNote in detail. So, let’s get started.

Getting Microsoft OneNote

Before starting to use it, we need to access it. OneNote is available on both PC and mobile. Also, you can use the desktop app on PCs or its online version as well.

On a PC or laptop

If you are a Windows user, then you already have all the Microsoft apps on your laptop or PC. Click on the Start button> Microsoft Office> Microsoft Office OneNote. For the online version go to Or if you have subscribed to Microsoft 365, then you’ll get OneNote included in the package.

On mobile

You can simply install the app on your Android or iOS. Microsoft OneNote app is available on both Play Store and App Store. Download the app using the links given below.

Login or Signup

We are using its online version on the Desktop. There are a few differences between the online app and the desktop app. As anyone can use the online version and the desktop app is slightly different in the different Windows versions. Therefore, this tutorial is based on the online version of OneNote for desktop and the Microsoft OneNote application for mobile.

The first step is to log in. Login to your Microsoft account, or if you don’t have a Microsoft account, then create one from here. Creating a Microsoft account is just a piece of cake.

Steps to create a Microsoft account

  • Input your email or phone number.
  • Create a strong password up to or more than 8 characters long. Also use upper case, lower case, numbers, etc, to create a strong one.
  • Verify your email.
  • Microsoft will ask you to solve a puzzle to verify you are not a robot.
  • Congrats! you have successfully created your Microsoft account.

What are Notebooks?

The way we keep notebooks in real life, similarly we can maintain notebooks digitally using OneNote. One can create as many notebooks as he/she wants. Here, it is the primary way of storing notes and organising them.

Like in real life, people have separate notebooks for maintaining finances, taking class notes, notebooks for different subjects, and so forth. Likewise, you can have a separate notebook digitally for every other topic, subject, or as per your convenience.

All notebooks are stored on OneDrive and if you are using the desktop application, then you can store it on your computer or OneDrive as well.

OneNote Tutorial: Desktop

As soon as you log in to your account, you’ll see this screen on the online desktop version.

First look on Desktop (online)
  • The dotted icon- This icon will open up with the list of other Microsoft 365 apps. Like, Word, Excel, OneDrive, etc.
  • Free Download- As the name suggests, from here you can download Microsoft OneNote on your desktop for free.
  • Grey Ribbon- From here, you can create a new Notebook, and can manage and delete existing notebooks.
  • My notebooks- In this section, you can access your existing notebooks.
  • Search Bar- If you have a long list of notebooks, then the search bar is very helpful.
  • Change language- This you can find in the bottom-right corner. From here, you can change the language of your preferences.

Let’s learn what we can do on the online version of OneNote.

Create a Notebook

As we above discussed the grey ribbon (First look on Desktop online). From there, select ‘+ new’ to create a notebook.

Give a suitable name to your notebook and click on, ‘Create‘.

Create a notebook

Add sections and pages

As you create your notebook, a new screen will open. There already has a default ‘Quick Notes‘ section. Sections can be the topics of a particular subject, your syllabus for exams, recipes, or other personal notes.

You can create another section by clicking on the ‘Add section‘. And for creating a page in a particular section, click on ‘Add page‘.

You can create as many sections as you want and can create pages inside them. Give a name to your section and page for keeping things clear.


Edit sections

To edit any section, right-click on it. After doing so, a drop-down menu will appear.

  • Rename selection- You can change the name of your selection. Like if you previously named it finances, you can rename it to personal finances or finances 2022, etc.
  • Delete selection- For deleting any selection, select that particular selection> right-click on it> select Delete selection from the drop-down menu.
  • Section colour- You can give colour to your sections. For doing so, select and right-click on the section and then select the section colour.

You can give different colours to different sections from the provided colour options. Like, you can give a red colour to the most urgent or important ones, and can give green to completed ones.

  • New page- You can add a new page by again selecting the section you want to add a page in. Then right-click on it and choose Add page from the drop-down menu.
  • New section- Similarly, from the same drop-down menu, you can add a new section in your notebook.

The Ribbon

Like all the other Microsoft apps, OneNote also has a ribbon. This ribbon comprises all the necessary tabs, which hold all the functions you can perform within the app. The online version of OneNote has a Home Tab, Insert Tab, Draw Tab, View Tab, and a Help Tab.

  • The very first thing on the ribbon ‘file‘ isn’t a tab. From here, you can open the same notebook in the offline desktop app, can print the notebook or page, and can share it as well.
  • ‘Tell me what you want to do’, from here, you can search for a step-by-step guide for doing a particular thing in OneNote.
  • Editing- You can change the status to viewing if you just want to view the notebook. And for editing, again switch to ‘editing’.
  • Sync status- The second small cloud icon from the right will let you check the sync status of your notebook.

What does each tab hold?

In this OneNote tutorial, we’ll discuss each tab in detail. So, let’s dig in.

The Home Tab


The home tab has 8 sections or groups.

  • Undo- The very first icon from the left can let you redo and undo the recent changes you have made.
  • Clipboard- The clipboard icon (second) will let you cut, copy and paste the desired text.
  • The second section- This section has all the essential formatting options. From here you can change the font style, font size, and colour. Also, here you can make text bold, italic, and underlined. You can highlight the text using the highlight option (after underline). You can paste the formatting of the other text by using the format painter (brush icon). Click on the three horizontal dots to open up other formatting options.
  • The third section- Here, you can add bullets and numbers to form a list, increase and decrease indent and can change the text alignment as well.
  • Styles- Give a pre-designed style to your text from here. Such as Heading1, Heading2, Heading3, Heading4, and more aeon.
  • Tags- Give a special tag to your text using this ‘tags’ feature. Like, you can add a checkbox, mark it important, mark it as a question, mark it as a definition, and so forth.
  • Spelling- From here, you can do the following things, can check for the wrong spelling, hide spelling errors, set proofreading language, and can explore some autocorrect options as well.
  • Dictate- The Mic icon will let you dictate text in your chosen language. You can change the language by clicking the small downside arrow.
  • Feed- From the feed option, you can create sticky notes. You can change the format of text and can insert images to your sticky note as well.

The Insert Tab

Within this tab, you can insert images, text boxes, links to your text and a few more things to your notes. Let’s learn about this tab in detail.

insert tab
  • Notebook- Add a new page and a new section from this group.
  • Tables- Adding tables in OneNote is the same as we do in MS Word or MS Powerpoint.
  • Pictures– From here, you can import pictures from your device, click pictures instantly by using the camera and also you can browse images from the internet.
  • Files- You can insert a PDF into your notes and any other attachment as well.
  • Add-ins- For integrating the options the Office Add-ins option is helpful. From here, you can add more features by installing the Add-ins into your OneNote.
  • Links- Also, if you want to add any link to your text then there are two ways: either you select Insert link from here or select the text and right-click. This will open up a drop-down menu, then select the Insert link option. (see the image below)
  • Audio- You can record audio instantly and add it to your notes.
  • Symbol and emoji- Here are different symbols and emojis available. You can open up the list by clicking on the downside arrow.
  • Meeting details– This feature is very helpful. Like, if you are having a meeting you can directly write your meeting detail or the point you are going to cover, here. You can add your work or school account to access it easily.

The Draw Tab

Let’s see the use of each function in this tab.

  • Tools- You can draw shapes or flowcharts and write using a pen. Also here, you can highlight any text by using the highlighter. When you select a pen, the ‘Draw with touch’ feature enables by default.
    • Marquee selection- With this tool, you can make a selection of what you’ve drawn and can move it to somewhere else on the page.
  • Colour- From here. you can change the colour of your pen and highlighter.
  • Style- Change the thickness of the pen or highlighter from here.

View Tab and Help Tab

There is nothing much in these two tabs, just some extra things that are sometimes useful. The view tab consists of the visibility options. whereas, in the help tab, you can ask for help and can give feedback to Microsoft as well.

In the view tab, you can zoom the screen as per your choice, add colour to the page, check the deleted notes, etc.

OneNote Tutorial: Mobile

Now, that we’ve learned every necessary function of OneNote on desktop, let’s start the OneNote tutorial for mobile.

The functions in the mobile app are limited but still is quite helpful to get all your notes quickly on your phone. We’ve used the Android app in this OneNote tutorial.

On the mobile app, after logging in to your Microsoft, you’ll be able to see this screen.

OneNote’s first look (Mobile)
  • +’ sign- From here, you can create a Notebook (Later, we’ll discuss it in detail).
  • The three dots icon- From here, you can change the settings of the app and give feedback. On the first page, settings include many things, such as the account settings, theme, trust center, about, etc. While, inside sections, pages, and sticky notes, there are some other settings as well.
  • Recent pages- This will show you the recent pages you visited.
  • My Notebook- Here, you can open your existing notebooks.
  • More notebooks- By selecting this, you can open the other notebook in a different account. For this, you need to add another account from where you need to access a notebook.
  • Search- You can search any notebook when you aren’t able to find the required one. This will help you when you have a long list of notebooks.
  • Sticky notes- You can create sticky notes, where you can note any important text immediately. Also, you can add an image and can set different colours for different notes.

Create a Notebook and add sections

For creating a notebook, just click on the ‘+’ sign. It will open up a new dialogue box, which will ask you to give a name to your notebook. Give a name to your notebook, then Create.


After creating a notebook, add sections by clicking on the ‘+’sign in the top-right corner. Give a name to your section and then click on Create.


Create more sections in a notebook by doing the same thing again. Name each section to make things clear.

Add a page

For adding a page, go to the section you want to add a page in. Then, click on ‘+’. You can give a title to your page else it will remain untitled by default.

Recent Pages

The name itself suggests we can revisit the recent pages. Not only this, but we can also create, move, delete and rename the existing pages from here.


Just long-press on the name of the page and it will open up some options. Similarly, you can add these pages on your phone’s home screen from the recent pages.

Sticky notes

To write urgent and important notes, you can use sticky notes in OneNote. For creating a note, first, switch to sticky notes and click on the ‘+’ sign.

You can change the format of text in sticky notes. You can add an image to your note. For doing so, just click on the camera icon in the bottom-right corner of the screen and select an image from your phone’s gallery. Also, you can edit the image before attaching it to the note.

More on, if you want to give specific colours to similar types of notes, you can do so by opening the note> settings (three dots icon) > select the desired colour. From the same settings, you can delete, share your note, and can send feedback.

sticky notes

Add or switch account

You can add multiple Microsoft accounts and can access the other notebooks. For adding another account, switch to notebooks window> settings (three vertical dots)> Accounts> Add account.

You can also switch to the logged-in account here.

add account-onenote

Boost your productivity with OneNote

Well, this was the whole OneNote tutorial for both desktop and mobile. As you start using it, you’ll be more familiar with all its functions. Using OneNote can boost your productivity like you can get access to your notes so easily. You can keep them organised in the form of notebooks and sections. And this will help you to access the required things in less time. You can add important notes on your phone’s home screen.

With all the other features and functions of OneNote, it is easy to keep similar data arranged. You can add pictures, add audio, insert tables, add notes, and so on. Therefore, using OneNote for office, school, or personal will help you to become more productive. Also, you’ll not need to find notebooks or data messed up, you can find them on your phone or desktop with no effort. Hence, keeping a digital notebook is far more helpful in terms of saving time and effort.

We hope this article was helpful. If it was, then let us know in the comments below. Also, if you are interested  in similar articles, then here are a few recommendations for you.
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