Find your way around OneNote 2007

Not all of the best features in Microsoft Office OneNote 2007 are obvious at first glance. This article provides an overview of the Office OneNote workspace and user interface and offers tips for customizing them to suit your personal preferences, your note-taking habits, and your type of computer.

In this article

The program window

As in other 2007 Microsoft Office system programs, you can freely add, remove, or reorganize menu commands and toolbar buttons in the program window to suit your needs and preferences.

OneNote 2007 program window

Callout 1 Menu Bar
Callout 2 Toolbars
Callout 3 Search box
Callout 4 Navigation Bar

Menu Bar

Click the headings on the menu bar to display menu commands. To customize OneNote menus, right-click the menu bar, and then click Customize on the shortcut menu. In the Customize dialog box, click the Commands tab, and then click Rearrange Commands.


Toolbar buttons provide quick and easy shortcuts to menu commands. By default, OneNote displays the Standard and Formatting toolbars that contain some of the most-commonly-used OneNote commands. To display other toolbars, right-click any toolbar button and then, on the shortcut menu, click the name of the toolbar that you want to display. You can drag toolbars to any location in the OneNote program window.

Search Box

The ability to search your notes is one of the main benefits of taking notes on a computer instead of paper. To search notes in the current notebook, type a word or phrase into the Search box and then press ENTER. If OneNote finds a match, navigation controls appear so that you can browse through the search results. (Click Exit Search to return to the Search box). To change the search scope, click the arrow next to the Search button.

Navigation Bar

As described in detail in the following section, the controls on the Navigation Bar can provide quick access to notebooks on your computer and in shared locations.

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The Navigation Bar

You can expand or collapse the Navigation Bar to show or hide the section structure of your notebooks, quickly access your Unfiled Notes section, and view a complete list of all of your notebooks. The following illustration shows the Navigation Bar collapsed and then expanded.

Navigation Bar in OneNote (closed view)  Navigation Bar in OneNote (open view)

Callout 1 Expand/Collapse Navigation Bar
Callout 2 Notebook Names
Callout 3 Unfiled Notes
Callout 4 All Notebooks

Expand/Collapse Navigation Bar

Click this button to show or hide the section hierarchy for each of your open notebooks. Expanding the Navigation Bar makes it easier to navigate and organize larger notebooks.

Notebook Names

Click these buttons to easily navigate among open notebooks. To display additional options for a particular notebook, right-click its name.

Unfiled Notes

Click this button to display the Unfiled Notes section where OneNote automatically creates pages for imported and unfiled content, such as side notes, screen clippings, Web pages, and e-mail messages. You can move pages out of this special section and into notebook sections that you created.

All Notebooks

Click this button to see an overview of all of your open notebooks so that you can easily navigate among them. You can collapse or expand the section hierarchy for each notebook in this view.

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The notes page

The notes page is the actual work surface where you take and collect notes within a notebook.

Notes page in OneNote 2007

Callout 1 Notebook title
Callout 2 Section tabs
Callout 3 Page tabs
Callout 4 New Page
Callout 5 Expand/Collapse Page Tabs
Callout 6 Page title
Callout 7 Notes container
Callout 8 Paragraph handle

Notebook title

The name of the notebook that you are currently working in appears here.

Section tabs

A horizontal row of section tabs near the top of the notes page provide easy access to each section in the current notebook. You can drag section tabs left or right to the locations you prefer and right-click a tab to display formatting and organization options.

Page tabs

A vertical row of page tabs in the margin of the notes page provide easy access to each page in the current notebook section. You can drag page tabs up or down to the locations you prefer and right-click a tab to display formatting and organization options.

Expand/Collapse Page Tabs

This button enlarges or shrinks the page tabs for the current section. Larger page tabs make it easier to read the page titles, and smaller tabs leave more room for the current notes page.

New Page

This button quickly creates new pages at the end of the current notebook section. To create a subpage or to apply a template to a new page, click the arrow next to this button.

Page title

In this text box, you can type or write a title for the current page. OneNote automatically duplicates the titles of your pages in their respective page tabs.

Notes container

The boxes that contain typed or handwritten notes are called notes containers. Aside from typed or handwritten text, notes containers can also contain images, tables, graphics, and other objects. You can format, move, resize, and even merge notes containers on the pages in your notebook.

Paragraph handle

This icon appears to the left of each paragraph of text as you move the pointer over the notes containers on the current page. Use paragraph handles to drag text paragraphs to new locations on the page, or right-click a paragraph handle to view additional information and formatting options.

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The OneNote screen clipper and launcher

When you first install Office OneNote 2007, the icon for the OneNote screen clipper and launcher is placed in the notification area of the Windows taskbar. To start an audio recording, capture a screen clipping, or open a new side note without first starting OneNote, right-click the icon to display the shortcut menu.

OneNote screen clipper and launcher

  • Open New Side Note    displays a small OneNote window on top of your other programs so that you can type or paste notes. Side notes are saved in the Unfiled Notes section, from which you can drag them to the appropriate section in your notebook, later.
  • Open OneNote    starts Office OneNote 2007.
  • Start Recording Audio    begins an audio recording session by using your computer's built-in or externally-connected microphone without first starting OneNote. Finished audio recordings are placed into a new side note, which is stored in the special Unfiled Notes section.
  • Create Screen Clipping    creates a screen clipping by bringing the last program to the foreground, so you can draw a box around the information on your screen that you want to capture. The finished screen clipping is placed on a new page in the Unfiled Notes section, from which you can move or copy it to your notes.
  • Options    provides entry points to specifying the default action for whenever you click the OneNote screen clipper and launcher icon in the notification area, as well as configuring the way OneNote captures screen clippings.
  • Remove OneNote Icon    turns off the OneNote screen clipper and launcher icon.

 Tip   If you turned off the OneNote icon that is in the notification area of the Windows taskbar, you must turn it back on before you can configure it. On the Tools menu, click Options. In the Category list, click Other, and then select the Place OneNote icon in the notification area of the taskbar check box.

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Customizing the workspace for desktop PC computers

By configuring certain interface options to suit your needs, you can optimize the OneNote workspace for the type of computer that you are using.

If you use OneNote on a desktop PC with a large monitor, you can choose to permanently expand some of the collapsed interface elements for easier and faster access.

  • Expand the Navigation Bar    Exposing the section hierarchy for each of your open notebooks that are in the Navigation Bar makes it easier to view, navigate, and organize all of your sections, especially in larger notebooks.
  • Expand the page tabs    If the page tabs are collapsed, click the Expand Page Tabs button to increase the width of the page tabs. You can widen the page tabs even more by placing the pointer between the vertical scroll bar and the page tabs and then dragging the pointer left or right.
  • Display toolbars where you want them    By default, the Standard and Formatting toolbars share one row and automatically adjust to the width of the OneNote window. You can expand the toolbar area to multiple rows so that more commands can appear on it. On the View menu, point to Toolbars, and then click Customize. On the Options tab, select the Show Standard and Formatting toolbars on two rows check box.
  • You can create additional toolbar rows by dragging one toolbar below another. To move toolbars around or to undock them from the toolbar area, drag the move handle, which is to the left of each toolbar, into position, either under the menu bar or over the notes page as a floating toolbar. You can also dock a toolbar to the left, right, or bottom edge of the OneNote program window by moving the toolbar toward the edge of the window until it snaps into place.
  • Show the task pane    In OneNote, task panes are turned off by default and only appear whenever you select certain menu commands. For example, when you use the Font command on the Format menu, OneNote opens the Font task pane, where you can make text formatting selections. You can permanently turn on task panes to explore additional features and commands. On the View menu, click Task Pane (or press CTRL+F1 to turn task panes on or off).

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Customizing the workspace for portable computers

If you use OneNote on a portable computer, you can minimize or hide many OneNote interface elements to maximize your note-taking space.

  • Take notes in Full Page View    When you are not organizing, searching, or otherwise managing your notes, you can increase the amount of space on your screen by switching to Full Page View. Much of the OneNote interface is hidden in this view, so that you can take and read notes more easily. Click the Full Page View button to the far right of the OneNote menu bar or press F11 to turn this view on or off at any time.
  • Turn toolbars on or off    On the View menu, point to Toolbars, and then turn available toolbars on or off as needed. You can drag two or more toolbars onto the same row and adjust them as needed. Tablet PC users can benefit from turning on the Drawing Tools, My Pens, and Writing Tools toolbars to display tablet-specific tools.
  • Change the location of certain interface elements    If you use a touchpad or pen on a portable computer, you can save time by moving the most-often-used interface elements closer together. On the Tools menu, click Options. In the Display category, select or clear the Page tabs appear on the left, Navigation Bar appears on the left, and Vertical scroll bar appears on the left check boxes.

 Tip   You can further customize your portable computer by specifying the amount of battery power that OneNote should consume. On the Tools menu, click Options. In the Options dialog box, click Other, and then select the Optimize for the following battery life option that you want

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Applies to:
OneNote 2007