OneNote For Mac – Navigation, Features, And Ease Of Use

Onenote for mac

Using Microsoft products on your Mac computer or device may seem like heresy for some users. But, Microsoft has done a great job providing an excellent platform for note-taking, sharing, and synching all your notes across devices – Mac, iPad, and iPhone.


Plus, it’s all free to use.

What Exactly Is OneNote For Mac?

Onenote for mac

From business projects to managing appointments and personal information, OneNote for Mac can organize your thoughts and information exchanges into multiple notebooks with embedded images, files, or PDF content wherever it makes sense to you.


Keep notes about your school classes, progress updates on business projects, or travel plans all organized and synchronized with your other devices. OneNote keeps your information in your Microsoft OneDrive in the cloud, and synchs all your devices whenever they’re online.


This allows you to work offline when necessary, such as when you’re on a flight without internet access, with the assurance that when you re-establish communications, all your updates will be automatically uploaded and available to your other devices.


Others that you share your notebooks with will also have visibility to your updates immediately.  

Navigating In OneNote

Getting around in OneNote for Mac is very simple, even for beginners. Of course, if you’ve worked with Ms Office applications, the format will be easily recognized.


Tabs present the basic functions:

  • Home – change settings and options, open or create a new notebook, and more
  • Insert – insert links, documents, tables, pictures, recordings, etc.
  • View – change page setup, display view, zoom

Like any Microsoft application, the menu bar provides quick access to every function such as formatting, editing, or creating new notebooks.

Underneath the ribbon you’ll find the name of the current notebook.


Clicking that name will provide a list of all your notebooks, which you can scroll across to find the one you want to work with, or select the ‘+’ key to create a new notebook.


You can create as many notebooks as you like, with as many sections/tabs as you like within a notebook, to keep you organized. You can also name and color the tabs to accommodate your preference or to provide a quick visual reference to important sections.


OneNote’s organizational hierarchy consists of your notebook list/stack, notebooks, sections (tabs), and pages. This keeps your information logically organized for easy reference.

OneNote Features

Onenote for mac

Although Windows users of OneNote that converted to Mac platforms have noted some missing functionality in the Mac/iOS product, there is still a great deal of functionality in the software that makes it a valuable resource for Mac users.


Multiple Windows Support

With upgraded versions of OneNote, Microsoft provided the ability to work with multiple sections of a notebook, or across notebooks, in different windows. After starting OneNote, just select Window > New Window from the menu bar, and a second instance of OneNote will open, allowing you to open another notebook or section.


Need more windows? Just repeat the procedure, and open a third or fourth as needed.


This is a great feature when you want to compare content of one notebook to another, or even cut and paste from an existing notebook into a new one.


Working With Pages

As you create content in a notebook section, you’re building pages. Selecting a notebook opens previews of the pages contained in the notebook. You can select a view to see more of the preview, or view it as a thumbnail.


Editing tools are at the top of the window. With simple drag and drop functions, you can add, move, or resize images on the page including boxes of text or images.


A wide variety of information can be included in your notes. Draw your own images with the Digital Ink feature, or combine images, links, tables, and even record audio with your notes.


Notes and audio are linked together. This comes in really handy if you would like to insert comments along with recordings to add meaning or to emphasize the intent of your audio.


If you create comments while recording, OneNote for Mac will let you view the comments associated with those points when playing back the recording.


Security is a built-in feature, as well. If you want to protect sensitive information, you can password-protect sections of your notes that contain that private information. You can also allow sharing at the notebook level, allowing others to view and optionally edit your notebook.


Formatting allows you to select the appearance of your pages – paper type, grid, etc. You can add tags to your notes, but you can’t create your own tags – at least not yet. Drag and drop pages between sections at will, making creation of new sections greatly simplified.


Clipping is a very valuable tool. With the Web Clipper tool, you can copy content from a web page directly into your OneNote account with two easy clicks – no need to cut and paste.


Even within the Web Clipper, you can specify how you want the results to be inserted into your notes – as the entire web page, or perhaps you would rather just capture the article you’re viewing, without all the extra clutter of advertisements and the like? The choice is yours.

Even within pages, you can further organize your thoughts into sub-paragraphs to provide an additional level of categorization.


Printing From OneNote

Transforming your notebooks or pages into paper copies is simple in OneNote, too. You can print individual pages, sections, or an entire notebook.


Pricing

Free is hard to beat. OneNote provides all its features at no charge for individuals. You just need a Microsoft account to download and use the application (the account is also free).


Businesses that implement Microsoft Office 365 already have OneNote available as a bundled function, at no additional cost. Business pricing for OneDrive storage is still very affordable and reliable.


Ease Of Use

Anyone familiar with Microsoft product functionality such as the Ms Office suite of products will have no problems at all getting comfortable with OneNote for Mac. All the familiar ribbon functions are there to create, edit, and view notebooks and sections.


With OneNote, you can just position on the page where you want your text, and start keying (or pasting images, or dropping spreadsheets into your note). With a touch-sensitive device, you can even include freehand notes or sketches.


Attach relevant links to text or images quickly and easily, by selecting the information or object to be linked, click, and choose Insert>Link. Paste in the link address and click OK. It’s that simple.


OneNote is just an easy application that will boost your productivity and facilitate future searching and sharing.


Synching And Sharing

OneNote’s huge productivity feature is that by saving your data in Microsoft OneDrive, it is quickly available to all your devices, whether at home, at the office, or on the go.


Sharing features provide collaboration with other team or family members. Multiple parties can access and edit notebooks remotely, sharing ideas and keeping everyone up-to-date with the latest information. You can easily keep track of your synch processing by right-clicking the notebook name, then select the arrow to the right of the name. That will reveal when it was last synched, and other valuable information.


Password protection can prevent edits by unauthorized parties, and secure information can be hidden from view. Protection can now be provided at the section level, not just an entire notebook.


Want to do more than just grant access to the notebook? OneNote for Mac offers the ability to send the page you have open directly to other parties via email or as a PDF.


Search functions allow you to find relevant notes when you need them, quickly and easily. Use the search box at the right edge of your tabs for the section, and use the magnifying glass to search. You can select the range of your search to include the current page, section, notebook, or all notebooks.  


Getting Started

There is a handy Windows-based tool which exports your Evernote contents into a file that can be imported into OneNote. Be advised though – notebooks from Evernote will create all new OneNote notebooks, pages are still transformed into OneNote pages, and Evernote tags become sections in OneNote.


Having completed the migration, you are likely to find that some reorganization is required to get the results you want in OneNote.

Should OneNote Be Your Go-to App?

Microsoft is continually enhancing OneNote’s functionality and usability, and you just can’t beat a program that packs so much power into a free application. OneNote for Mac is available on the Mac App Store, and you can download OneNote for iOS directly from the App Store.


OneNote’s most recent updates have enhanced the consistency of presentation and navigation across Mac and iOS, to make it easier than ever to move from one platform to another. Many who have converted from Evernote to OneNote find the switch well worth the effort in learning a new application.


With the popularity of this product, Microsoft appears committed to regular updates, as evidenced by features and usability that have been provided recently. This establishes OneNote for Mac as a productivity tool you can count on now, and in the future.


With such features as automatic saving, synchronization, and collaboration, you may find OneNote to be your go-to solution for note-taking and storage, replacing alternatives such as Evernote for your daily use.