Feb 14

Get Advanced with Onetastic for OneNote

By JaredD | OneNote

Get Onetastic

Make OneNote even more powerful by using Onetastic, a "multi-purpose addin for Microsoft OneNote." Built to be utilized with the desktop version of OneNote, this is the single most powerful tool to take your OneNote use to the next level.

Omer Atay Speaker at Learn OneNote Conference

What is Onetastic?

Onetastic utilizes macros, around 400 already created and custom solutions limited only by your imagination. "Macros are small programs that can be used to perform simple repetitive tasks in OneNote very quickly. The idea is similar to macros in other Office applications which use VBA language. OneNote does not support VBA and Onetastic add-in provides a simple macro language and an editor to build macros." (Source:https://getonetastic.com/docs/Getting_Started_with_Macros.html)

Essentially, a macro allows OneNote to read material, rearrange the material as desired, and save again.


Viewing some of the more popular macros you start to get an idea of what Onetastic can do. These macros are available on Macroland

Omer, in his video, shows the word count macro that allows for you to get a word count on your page, something OneNote does not do. He also shows how to quickly resize tables with a new macro he creates on the fly. Searching on Macroland, Insert Monthly Calendar, TOC in Current Section, Sort Pages are all popular. 

When I say popular, I mean downloaded as much as 50,000 times per macro.

Get Onetastic

The Onetastic site is https://getonetastic.com/.

You can get started with Onetastic for free and get access to the OneCalendar, Image Crop/Rotate/Select Text, Custom Styles and up to 20 macros in total.

For a few bucks you can get the Pro version of Onetastic that will give you access to the 400 macros, a year of macro updates, and you get support an excellent developer in Omer Atay.

For those power users, a $60 developer license is also available which will include Developer Tools (Debugger and Object Browser).

This post is written by Jared DeCamp.

To learn more about Omer Atay, speaker at the 2017 Learn OneNote Conference, visit his site via the link below.

Feb 08

Note-taking with OneNote

By JaredD | OneNote

Check Out Storyals.com

Storyteller Ulrika Hedlund brings note-taking with OneNote advice in an inspiring package in her video. She has 15 years of experience handwriting digital notes in personal and professional settings.

Ulrika Hedlund - Learn OneNote Conference Speaker

Princeton's Pam A. Mueller and UCLA's Daniel M. Oppenheimer's three studies show that students typing notes as opposed to taking notes longhand results in shallower processing and performing worse on conceptual questions. With this type of data, and other studies focusing on the lack of focus allowed with typing notes, it is clear handwriting notes is better than typing.

Fortunately, OneNote allows handwriting. Stop and appreciate how awesome technology is these days. We live in an amazing time in history.

Device Options for OneNote Note-taking

iPad Pro with Apple Pencil

Not a bad option, but not my recommendation. Ulrika chooses to use it, and I won't argue with her.

Despite among the best camera experience in real world application, the iPad OneNote app on Apple has a few key characteristics missing. It cannot record audio of a meeting and allow for handwriting of notes, something a windows OneNote version can do. It does not have the "insert space" option yet, something that is useful for note-taking. Beyond the small differences in features between the versions of OneNote, the iPad device is simply not geared to run Microsoft products as well as Windows devices. The gap is narrowing (and unavoidable when it comes to cell phones), but I advise against dividing. Go with one of the Windows devices.

On the less expensive spectrum, moving in the direction of one of these five options below will give you all the features in OneNote for Windows 10 and as well as an opportunity to get the most feature rich OneNote desktop version (2016 at the time of this writing).

Ulrika suggests these devices below, and purchasing via the links will lead to a small commission paid to the Class and Office site.

These options are legitimate and a step above the iPad Pro when it comes to OneNote functions and overall Office365 features, but I recommend and use a Surface device.

My wife is on the Surface Laptop, and I'm on the Surface Pro. Shop the Surface devices on the Windows store via the link below.

I like the Surface Pro 4 for its mobility and its power to be used as my one tablet, laptop, desktop all in one. 

Ulrika's video focuses on the iPad and Surface Pro. We'll discuss some of the highlights of her note-taking tips as it relates to the Surface Pro.


Powered by battery, the Surface stylus is better than the Apple Pencil as you'll get plenty of use (I haven't changed my battery once in 1.5 years) without having to plug it in awkwardly like on the iPad.

Sync your stylus to the Surface Pro by going to the settings and selecting Bluetooth and other devices and hold down on top of the Surface pen to pair.

After pairing, navigate to the Settings and select Windows Ink to decide what will happen when you click on the top of the pen. Ulrika has one option to open OneNote and one option to click for opening OneNote 2016. Visit here for pen pairing and option details. Once set, you can quickly go from a locked screen to a OneNote page to take notes by clicking the appropriate pattern. A little practice, and you'll be able to whip up you're notes as easy as flipping to a new page in a notepad.

A nice tutorial Ulrika shares in her video is adjusting the pen sensitivity. She recommends setting the sensitivity to the highest setting possible as this is the best for notes. But it is worth mentioning that changing this setting to less than the highest will be better for drawing. When writing you want the pen width to be consistent. When drawing you want responsiveness so you can more fluidly add thick or narrow lines. Of course, you can change the thickness of the pen but it won't be easy to draw this way and will definitely be unnatural when compared with a pen and paper type movement.

Ulrika likes a 1mm pencil setting in blue or black.

I prefer a 1mm pen setting in blue or rainbow color.

Multimedia Notes

I've heard from a few OneNote experts: do not get fancy with tags when taking handwritten notes. You will slow yourself down and get caught up in being feature focused and not real world focused. We have to be able to use our technology to help us, not trap us in a box.

But there are ways to use multimedia to your advantage. Two of my favorite ways are shared by Ulrika.

Take pictures of the whiteboard and insert into your notes. On the Surface Pro, go to Insert -> Pictures -> From Camera. Point and snap your picture or pictures. Once done, you can crop, select if whiteboard, photo or document (for best quality settings), crop and insert all on your OneNote page. This is the best way to get a storyboard from the wall, a slide for marking up or a handout page into your notes.

Record the person speaking by using the audio option on the Insert tab. You will want to ask for permission first, but this is a great option for students and staff to review a presentation. Go next level and record your speaker phone or Teams audio during your next meeting. This is when you will want a Surface or Windows device vs. a iPad to take notes and record audio at the same time.

Cleaning Up Notes

My former employer did not adopt to OneNote as much as I'd like, and that kept me from using OneNote to record meeting notes. I was wrong. Ulrika showed me why.

OneNote 2016 and OneNote allow for meeting details to be synced with Outlook so you have the participants and meeting notes on your OneNote page. But the missing piece is after the meeting is complete, share your notes on a Windows device and OneNote 2016 by clicking File -  Send so the notes from the OneNote page are inside the content of the email. Now the recipient doesn't need to use OneNote to review, and you don't have to share your OneNote if you don’t' want to. You can edit the notes before sending off.

While I recommend your handwritten notes not use tags, when reviewing your notes it is a good time to add tags if you choose. One good tag to add is a custom tag for each team member tasks. Hypothetical employee Todd needs to create a logo for your next project. Create a custom tag with a checkbox and description Todd: Project Website - logo. Now you can follow up with him on your next meeting on this and all his and other staff member tasks. Delete the custom templates after the project is complete or leave.

In OneNote 2016, use the lasso select tool to grab your handwritten notes and right click and convert to text. It won't be 100% accurate, especially if your handwriting looks like my chicken scratch, but it gives you a jump start. I recommend converting all your handwritten notes to text before sharing with others so there is no confusion as to what you wrote.

This post is written by Jared DeCamp.

To learn more about Ulrika Hedlund, speaker at the 2017 Learn OneNote Conference, visit one of the links to her work below.

Want more on taking notes in meetings? Comment below with your biggest challenge. Ten different people comment and I'll hold a free webinar to answer all your questions and give away my best strategies for note-taking.

Jan 30

Templates, Forms and Checklists with OneNote

By JaredD | OneNote

OneNote Checklists, Forms and Templates

Strategies for OneNote Forms, OneNote Templates and OneNote Checklists You May Have Not Thought Of

Sandy Morgan 2017 Learn OneNote Conference Speaker

Here at Class and Office we are all about showing how technology really works, beyond the just the clicks and into practical strategy.

You can find out where to click to do a particular task in numerous spots on the web. But why do you want to use a function? Is it really the best function for you? We hope to provide options and thoughts for you to think about by sharing how we and others approach challenges in everyday life. 

Sandy Morgan, business consultant helping companies become more organized and efficient, contributed to the discussion in her video from the 2017 Learn OneNote Conference. Her presentation is particularly relevant as we are at the beginning of the year when a high focus is spent on planning and productivity.

Sandy gets viewers on a solid platform of why and how with checklists, forms and templates in OneNote.


If you are new to OneNote, you might be interested to discover the To Do tags, which add a box with a check mark available to mark off items as completed.

Taking the checkbox one step further, Sandy showed a page where she created a table with multiple checklists on the same page. It looks clean and it appears to work well for her organization.

Another savvy trick with checklists is creating templates of checklists. Sometimes people get a bit nervous or try to over complicate templates, but really all a template needs to be is a guide from which to start.

Perhaps you are like Sandy and have a similar process for things like New Customer Profile setup, or you are like us and have a checklist for a process like publishing a blog post. Use OneNote to create a list, save that list in a template section or notebook, and copy and paste that new list wherever you need.

Personally, I like bullet lists that I highlight items when completed over the checklist tag. Whenever possible, keep it simple.

Checklists with Outlook

Many people will ask about uses of Outlook with OneNote. One such use is inserting meeting notes into a OneNote page. When you insert meeting notes, you also get a summary of things like the location, time and people who will be attending the meeting.

Sandy shows us how she checks her Outlook calendar for daily appointments at the beginning of each day, or at the end of the prior day.

Creating a meeting note from Outlook and inserting it onto the daily planning page, you can get the meeting details quickly and easily inserted onto your OneNote page without duplicating your efforts. It is a nice way to utilize the best features of Outlook and OneNote. Other tasks can be listed on this daily page, and you can seamlessly accomplish the meeting and other items back to back throughout your day.

For those wanting integration between these two productivity tools, this is a great way Sandy taught me.


There is a lot you can do in OneNote with forms. You can use external tools like Microsoft Forms to embed survey type form, or you can create a form iside your OneNote page.

Think about when you are gathering information from a customer or adding standard information such as when researching for a new home. Having a form with the same categories to complete will help you stay organized and understand the data.

When working with forms, it is worth noting that OneNote uses content containers for your content on the page.

In the File -> Options -> Display area, you can select to show or not show note containers on the page. In this instance, and really for us all instances, select to show note containers on the page if not already selected. This option for adding or removing is only available in OneNote Desktop version. Regardless if note containers are shown on your screen, when printing to PDF or paper the grey container box will not be shown.

Sandy recommends creating separate note containers for different sections of the form page so you can move items independently around on the page.

To start a separate container, double click elsewhere on the page. To merge two note containers, hold shift before clicking on one and drag to the other. Sandy demonstrates these two features in her video.

Other ideas for making your form look good is to set a picture as a background on the form page.

Finally, if you embed a Word, PDF or Excel document with the printout on the screen, changes made on respective document page will be updated in the OneNote page. This is a nice feature to see the completed form on your OneNote page without having to open the document.

For more on working with note containers, see this article from Microsoft. 


Page templates in OneNote are a popular productivity topic. Sandy walks through creating these page templates and using them as the default within a section.

Then a knowledge nugget is shared. 

Creating email templates in OneNote.

Think about it. How many times do you write a similar email over and over? Maybe it is an introduction, a response to an inquiry or a frequently asked question from a student.

Much of the time I've searched in my Outlook Sent box for a recent email I remember sending. But I've spent lots of time looking for this. Poor use of my time and shame on me. Join me in following Sandy's advice.

I'm going to be creating templates in OneNote for commonly sent emails.

For my use, I often receive similar questions from people who have purchased the All Access Pass to one of our online conferences. Or, there were several similar questions for the Planning Masterclass I offered with Michele Christensen earlier this year. Starting now, I'll save the email to the first customer question. Then, when other people ask a similar question, I'll be ready with a drafted email to respond.

I'm pretty excited about it.

From any page in OneNote 2016, select Email Page on the Home Ribbon. If you create a button with a link to a website, this link will still be active in your email. The title of the email will be either the title of your page or the first line of your page, if you have no title. Change up slight things as needed and address to the appropriate person for an efficient email trick. Good luck!

Now is as good a time as ever to be using templates, forms in OneNote and checklists for a more productive version of you. I went into depth on some of the ways I use these features in OneNote as well as my overall planning strategy with OneNote Bullet Journal Facebook Group organizer Michele Christensen.

People who purchase the masterclass receive templates, a copy of the webinar and chat, guide walking through planning your year and bonus videos with tips and tricks to make your OneNote page pretty and more. See the details for this masterclass on this page. 

This post is written by Jared DeCamp. 

To learn more from Sandy Morgan, speaker at the 2017 Learn OneNote Conference, visit one of the links to her work below.

What type of template do you use most often?