Here’s 5 quick OneNote tips and tricks every Microsoft 365 user like you should know

Dave W. Shanahan

onenote tips and tricks

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There are plenty of OneNote tips and tricks out there, but which ones do you pick? OneNote has a number of great features and functionality to get work done and you can unlock even more potential as part of a paid Microsoft 365 subscription.

OneNote tips and tricks

Microsoft 365 subscribers can record audio notes, transcribe audio from personal audio files, bullet or number lists using keyboard shortcuts, capture text from images, and much more. Here are 5 OneNote tips and tricks that every user should know, even if you aren’t a Microsoft 365 subscriber.

#1 Dictate and Transcribe speech

Did you know you can dictate and transcribe recordings automatically if you’re a Microsoft 365 subscriber? Here’s what you need to do.

  1. Go to the Home tab and go all the way to the right to find Transcribe under the microphone icon.  onenote tips and tricks
  2. In Transcribe, you can upload a mp3 via Upload audio or Start recording to create a new recording within OneNote that will automatically transcribed for you. onenote tips and tricks
  3. In Dictate, you can speak naturally, and OneNote will keep a transcript of your speech that you can review later.

Can’t find the Dictate or Transcribe button? Just a reminder, the dictation and transcription features are only available as part of a paid Microsoft 365 subscription.

Microsoft notes that OneNote does not record you when you use the voice dictation feature, the audio is used to live-translate your speech into text in OneNote. If you want to record your voice, consider using OneNote to record audio notes.

You can transcribe up to 300 minutes of speech content per month as part of a paid Microsoft 365 subscription.

#2 Convert to bulleted or numbered lists

Use these two keyboard shortcuts to create bulleted or numbered lists when you select blocks of text:

  1. Ctrl + . to create a bulleted list from the selected text. onenote tips and tricks
  2. Ctrl + / to create a numbered list from the selected text. onenote tips and tricks

#3 Expand and collapse outlines

The outline feature in OneNote makes it quick and easy to organize long complex documents or outlines. It can organize up to 5 levels of information. To use the feature, click the grabber icon next to the item to expand (plus sign) or collapse (minus sign) outlines on the fly.

onenote tips and tricks

If you want to rely on a keyboard shortcut instead, use the Alt + Shift + +/- keyboard shortcut to expand and collapse outlines. As an added bonus, you can also use the grabber to move specific text, images, or other objects within OneNote with your mouse.

#4 Move items within lists

If you want to move selected text within OneNote, you can hold down Alt + Shift + up or down arrow buttons, you can move an item up or down in the list order.
onenote tips and tricks
It can be a pretty clutch trick to know to avoid reaching for your mouse when you want to move things around.

#5 Copy text from images

This OneNote trick is great for when you want to extract text from an image. OneNote makes it easy as pie, here’s what you need to do.

onenote tips and tricks

  1. Copy and paste an image into OneNote.
  2. Right-click the image and select Copy Text from Picture.
  3. Paste the text where you want it to go in OneNote or in another app.

Know of any other OneNote tips and tricks? Let us know in the comments!

Looking for help on what else you can do beyond OneNote? Check out our handy How-To section, including Windows 10 and Windows 11 content to get the most out of your setup!