I have decided to publish my compilations of tips on efficient use of OneNote. I published Part 1 a few weeks back.

  • On low-powered x86 devices like Dell VP8 use the OneNote MX only, even if you could install the Desktop version. Desktop Apps are not battery efficient avoid using them on these devices if you could.
  • OneNote MX doesn’t allow you to attach files for now. But it allows you to use or access attached files. So attach needed files via OneNote Desktop then let it sync to OneNote MX and use them there. (File attachment now supported with latest updates to OneNote)
  • Keep High Volume, Low Access Notes only online and on principal devices. Create a low volume version that you can have on all devices from which you can move sections and items to the Online Archives.
  • Keep an eye on your OneNote size, move sections out for very large volume OneNote into new Notebooks
  • Make judicious use of Sections to organize thoughts and Categories
  • Keep number of Notebooks on low capacity tablets to absolute necessary, sync has cost for data if you have mobile data connection.
  • Identify mobile data connection on your tablet as Metered Connection so OneNote doesn’t sync on that connection. Sync preferably on WiFi only. This is important if you’re using your smartphone as WiFi Access Point to your tablets etc.
  • If you’re not sure of Sync times, choose to sync manually by turning Auto-Sync off in the settings.

You may not realize it, but OneNote comes with a powerful OCR built-In. This is one of the area where OneNote separates itself from competition.

  • This can come in handy when you need to get data out of a picture, and it is a boon to students who exchange screenshots etc. Right click on any picture and choose Copy Text then paste to any app or in OneNote itself for further edits. You’ll notice mis-recognition here and there depending on the quality of the text in the picture, these you have to manually correct.

Import Slides from PowerPoint:

  • If you search for this topic online you’ll get various hits all mentioning to import slides via PrintOuts or the so called “Print to OneNote” feature. Since Office 2010, you can actually copy and paste slides directly into OneNote.
  • There is a bug in OneNote MX that will prevent you from pasting more than one slide from PowerPoint. The first slide in your selection is always pasted. I have made this known to Microsoft, lets hope they’ve got a fix for it.

Watch out for Print-Outs, they’re top-heavy and costly in terms of space: Original PDF file:

PrintOut OneNote file container of the same file:

The original PDF file of 2.54Mb size in now a humongous 25.9MB folder of printouts. Now that OneNote MX supports file attachment, you don’t need to printout anymore unless you need to annotate. Printouts will make your OneNote database unnecessarily large, thereby affecting sync efficiency.

I will continue to update this list with new entries as they come to mind. You can also pass your favorite tips to the community via comments below.