Get started with Microsoft Office OneNote 2007

Whether you are totally new to OneNote or upgrading from Microsoft Office OneNote 2003, the information in this article will help you get up to speed quickly. As you become more familiar with Office OneNote 2007, you will discover that there is no right or wrong way to use it. Develop your own note-taking style as you go, and feel free to use any number and combination of features to help you collect, organize, use, and share information.

In this article

Getting started if you are new to OneNote

In its simplest form, OneNote is an electronic version of a paper notebook where you can write down notes, thoughts, ideas, scribbles, reminders, and all kinds of other information. Unlike the traditional document page format of other programs such as word-processing or spreadsheet programs, OneNote offers a free-form canvas where you can type, write, or draw notes in the form of text, graphics, and images wherever and however you want them.

Unlike the notes in a paper notebook, OneNote lets you add, move, and delete anything on its pages and in its sections. You can add more space where and when you need it, and you can stay organized by dragging note items into their own sections or even into different notebooks. You can separate and organize your notes by subjects or projects, or keep separate notebooks for different places and interests. OneNote is easy to use, and it doesn't force everyone to work in the same way.

Read the following sections for information about free resources that can help you discover and master the basics.

Explore OneNote on your own

If you prefer to learn on your own, start by creating a new page in OneNote and filling it with some information, including text, pictures, and information from other files. Explore the user interface to discover the available features. Not all of the features may make sense just yet, but that is okay. Feel free to experiment and see what happens. Don't worry about making "mistakes" — the beauty of OneNote is that nothing is ever set in stone!

Here are some things to try on your own. Click to open any topic that interests you:

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Follow the OneNote Guide

For a visual overview of OneNote and its main benefits and features, the OneNote Guide is the best place to start.

To view the OneNote Guide, do the following:

  1. Start Microsoft Office OneNote 2007.
  2. In the Notebooks navigation pane, click OneNote Guide.
  3. Click the Getting Started with OneNote section tab at the top of the note page.
  4. In the side margin, click the tabs of the pages that you want to read.

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Take a tour of cool features

After you become familiar with the OneNote basics, take a guided tour for a more comprehensive look at what OneNote has to offer.

To view the More Cool Features section of the OneNote Guide, do the following:

  1. Start Microsoft Office OneNote 2007.
  2. In the Notebooks navigation pane, click OneNote Guide.
  3. Click the More Cool Features section tab at the top of the note page.
  4. In the side margin, click the tabs of the pages that you want to read.

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Visit OneNote on Microsoft Office Online

There is much more to OneNote than meets the eye. Office Online continuously offers new and updated content about OneNote.

Here is a sample of what you can expect to find:

  • New and updated Help
  • How-to articles
  • Online training courses
  • Video demos
  • Templates
  • Downloads
  • Special offers

Visit the OneNote home page on Microsoft Office Online to view or download free content each month. All you need is a Web browser.

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Upgrading to Office OneNote 2007 from a previous version

The following section contains important information if you are upgrading to OneNote 2007 from any previous version of OneNote 2003 — including OneNote 2003 with Service Pack 1 and OneNote 2003 with Service Pack 2. OneNote 2007 requires that notes created in older versions of OneNote be upgraded to its new file format, which enables all of the new features in the new version. In addition, depending on how your existing notes were organized, you may notice some changes in the way OneNote 2007 displays notes that were grouped by using folders and subfolders.

Updating existing notes to the new file format

The first time you run OneNote 2007 after upgrading from a previous version, your existing notes are updated to the OneNote 2007 file format. This new format supports all of the new features and capabilities that OneNote 2007 has to offer. All notes taken after you install OneNote 2007 are automatically saved in the new format.

Notes that are updated to the OneNote 2007 file format are saved in the OneNote Notebooks folder on your hard disk drive. A read-only copy of your old notes is also saved, in case you need to share them with anyone who has not yet upgraded to OneNote 2007. The read-only backup files have the file name extension .one.backup.

 Important   OneNote 2003 cannot open OneNote 2007 files. To share your OneNote 2007 notes with people who do not yet have OneNote 2007 installed, you should distribute your notes in e-mail instead of sharing your OneNote files. To find out how, see Distribute notes to other people.

About folders and multiple notebooks

Upgrading your notes files to the new OneNote 2007 file format will promote any folders in OneNote 2003 to their own separate notebooks. This happens because in OneNote 2007, folders have been replaced by the ability to create and use multiple notebooks instead of keeping everything in a single notebook.

Additionally, if you used subfolders (now called "section groups") within your top-level folders in OneNote 2003, you should consider creating new notebooks for them in OneNote 2007 and then moving the sections into the new notebooks. Doing so allows you to navigate through your notes faster than you can navigate through section groups.

 Tip   While organizing or reorganizing your notebook structure, you may want to expand the Navigation bar in the left margin to see the entire hierarchy of your notebooks and their pages and sections. To do this, click Expand Navigation Bar.

New features at a glance

OneNote 2007 offers a wealth of new and improved features. To learn more, see What's new in Microsoft Office OneNote 2007.

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Applies to:
OneNote 2007