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

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.


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.

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