Effects of changing Office365 login – part 6: reconnecting your OneNote files

A rather huge (though known) consequence of the login change was the effect it had on OneNote. With regular OneNote files, it was possible to reconnect the file fairly easily following the steps below. For staff and class notebooks it was another matter and we ended up needing to recreate those from scratch.

OneNote files located in SharePoint

Those who are using OneNote to access files located on SharePoint should only need to log out of Office and then log back in.

  • FILE tab
    • Account
    • Sign Out
    • Acknowledge all the warnings, and shut down all of your Office programs
  • Open OneNote again
    • FILE tab
    • Account page
    • Click Sign In
    • Log in with your “pid@starfleet.com”
    • The next screen will allow you to enter your password
    • Making sure the checkbox “keep me signed in” is on so you only have to log in one time
    • It should automatically connect all your services again
    • Go to the Home tab
    • Check all your notebooks

OneNote files in OneDrive

For those who have OneNote files that live on your OneDrive, follow the steps below.
To reconnect your file from within OneNote:

Alternatively, you can close your OneDrive OneNote file, then go to your OneDrive online, open it in a browser, and then click Edit in OneNote. If you have more than one, do these steps one book at a time so you don’t forget which books you’re supposed to have connected to your OneNote.

For OneNote files that live in someone else’s OneDrive, you would follow the same procedure as above, or you might be best to close the OneNote file, then go to your OneDrive online, click Shared with Me, and locate the folder or the file, then click Edit in OneNote.

Handy One Note shortcuts to create checklists

While OneNote is a great notetaking tool, and I spend most of my time in it, if you’re using it only as a place to store meeting or work notes you could possibly be missing out on some of its immense power.

OneNote is a great tool to create checklists, and thankfully, incorporates some shortcuts that make it even easier.

To create a simple check list, use Ctrl + 1 (i.e. hold down the control key and press the number 1) to create to do items.

OneNote: Sample to do list

OneNote: Tag OptionsThere are lots of other tagging options for you to choose from as you can see from the list here, and if this is not enough, you can also create customized tags.

If you use the highlight feature to color your text, consider using a highlighting tag, such as Remember for Later, or Definition, or create your own. You can add any available Shortcut keys to your custom tags as well.

If you later want to get a quick list of all the tags you’ve created, right-click on one of the tags, and choose Find Tags. That will generate a panel on the right hand side of all the tags and the content tagged for each type of tag.

Password Protecting a Section in OneNote

We have a special treat coming up as we have several presenters around the division sharing with us how they use OneNote in their daily work lives.

In preparation for the presentation, I had asked each presenter to share their OneNote file with me so that I could have them all available on my laptop as we presented today. I knew the enormity of what I was asking, as they were sharing their notebooks with me, some parts of which were very much confidential. The fact that my colleagues were willing to trust me with their very private documents was very humbling, and also a little scary, both for them and for me.

I was afraid I would accidentally reveal one of their private pages to the audience and that would not be good at all. Thankfully, OneNote has a way to protect sections of a document from prying eyes, and it’s actually very easy to do.

How to password protect a section in your OneNote

Simply right-click on the name of the section, and choose Password Protect This Section.

OneNote: Password Protect this Section

A panel will appear on the right hand side.

Click the Set Password button to set the password.

OneNote: Set Password

Please be aware that if you forget your password, there is no way for anyone to retrieve the information from this section, so be sure you use a familiar password.

OneNote: Password Protection Screen

Setting the password doesn’t actually lock that section from being seen. You then also need to click the Lock All button for those sections to be locked. They are locked from you as well as any other user.

OneNote: Password Protection Panel

You will need to hit Enter, or click on the text in the locked section in order to display the password screen to show the section.

OneNote: Password Protected Section

You can keep the password on the section for as long as you want, or you can use the Remove Password button to remove it. You will again be asked to enter the password, and then you will have unlocked your section completely.


  • You might not be able to view password protected sections on all devices.
  • Audio and Video recordings aren’t protected in the OneNote 2007 section format.
  • To search password protected sections, you need to unlock them first.

OneNote: extract words from pictures!

One wonderfully handy tool in OneNote is the ability to extract words from a picture.
Take this image for example, a random motivational quote I found on Google.

One Note: Picture of a quote that says "Your mind is a powerful thing. When you fill it with positive thoughts, your life will start to change.


To pull the words from this image, right-click on the image and choose Copy Text from Picture from the drop down. Then click somewhere in your file, and paste.

OneNote: Copy Text from Picture

Here is what it gave me:

So, while the result is not perfect, it can save you lots of time in typing the content.
Images with a solid background work better for this feature.

Try this feature and let me know how it works for you by entering a comment. Where do you find the best success? In what cases does it fail? What’s the funniest result you’ve seen?

Using OneNote to track and manage your timesheet adjustments

OneNote can be used for a lot of different purposes, including managing timesheet adjustments. For those who are wage employees, if you’ve ever had to email your supervisor to request a timesheet adjustment, there tends to be a delay between your email and their updates to the timeclock system.

In the meantime, you may want to keep track of what your actual hours are so you can budget the remainder of the week according to your agreement. You may also want to keep track of the requests that you have sent, and then review that the requested changes were made on your behalf.

I created a sample spreadsheet, which you can download and then save to your OneDrive, or you can insert it directly into your OneNote document for future reference.

To keep track of your emails, you can create a category for time sheet adjustments and then go into your sent box and mark those emails with the time sheet adjustment category, which you can then use to filter your emails.

Or, you can click on the email and use the Send to OneNote button which will place your request into OneNote and will keep it in one place for you to review your timesheet requests against your timesheet system to ensure your supervisor made the changes as requested.

Either way, keeping track of timesheets is the bane of any hourly worker’s existence and when you’re not able to make adjustments yourself, then you have to create your own tracking system, whether it’s printing them out or using one of these electronic means. I hope this made your life a little bit easier.

Creating OneNote pages from your Outlook Task List

In a previous post I talked about creating an Outlook Task from OneNote. The connection between these two applications works both ways. You can also create a task in Outlook and then use the Connect to OneNote button to create a page for that task in a notebook.

You can then use that page to add files, any other contributing notes, etc. Any time you select the task in the future and click the OneNote button, the specific OneNote page opens.

This also works for task lists that you have created on SharePoint, and then linked to your Outlook. You can connect tasks from those SharePoint lists directly to your OneNote files.

The result of this is a complete task management system, including projects, tasks and notes, all into one powerful system.

Embed Files into OneNote to keep them handy

Whether it’s a PDF or Word Document I need to proofread, or a video file that I need to watch and respond to, having the ability to keep these documents directly in OneNote versus keeping track of folders in a hard drive, makes my life a lot easier.

Oftentimes I am presented with an issue that a department wants to resolve, but I already know I won’t have time that day to take care of it, I move any reference files files into OneNote from Outlook, SharePoint, or someone’s shared OneDrive file, so that I can keep the file right there with my notes. *I also keep the links to those original files handy in case I need them for later.

I am able to file that document into the section of OneNote and it’s with all the other notes about that department.

You can attach files directly from SharePoint or OneDrive and place them into OneNote. In order to do so, you will need the location of your document library from your web browser.

What you need to be aware of is that the file in OneNote is a snapshot of the original file, and any updates in OneNote won’t reflect in the original file, and neither vice versa.

Some would say that is a good thing and therefore a welcome feature, and some would say it’s an unwelcome limitation. I am on the fence as to whether it’s good or bad, but I appreciate it for what it is… a feature of OneNote and how it works.

In some cases you may have an option to right-click the file and choose “Open Original” but that option is not available in all cases.

Next time you’re working in OneNote and you need to reference a file, try embedding it directly into your page and see if that makes your work easier.