OneNote is a basic work processor for taking text notes. It does do much more than take text notes but text notes lie at the heart of this application. It has the most basic of word processor tools with fonts, text alignment and formatting options. These tools should be familiar to just about anyone that has used a word processor like Microsoft Word. OneNote uses text boxes and text styles to format notes on pages. This opens up formatting and styling possibilities that make this more than just a tool for taking notes.

In the Homework section for a Biology notebook we will add a page and title it “Animal Classifications”.

Click once below the page title to begin adding text to the body of the page.

Text can be formatted in the same way it is formatted in most word processors. The text formatting tools are in the Home Ribbon. The Home Ribbon in this example, is hidden. Click on the “Home” button if the text formatting options are hidden.

The ribbon will open to display the text formatting options available in OneNote online.

We can keep the ribbon open by pinning it in the open position. The pin option is available on the right side of the page. The ribbon is currently not pinned open. Click on the pin icon.

The pin icon will be replaced with an arrow pointing up. The ribbon will now remain open. Clicking the triangle will return the ribbon to the automatic hide option. Automatically hiding the ribbon is useful if there is a need for more screen space. This is usually needed when working on tablet devices like the Microsoft Surface.

Paragraph Styles and Fonts

OneNote, like most modern word processors, includes a set of paragraph style sheets that can be applied throughout a document. Text automatically receives the normal paragraph style, which is set to the Calibri font at 11 points.

Some of the other paragraph styles available include Heading 1 through 4. Click the triangle on the right side of the styles box to reveal more paragraph styles.

The additional styles include title, citation and quote.

Using these styles can save a lot of time when formatting a document. We don’t have to use these paragraph style. The font and font style options are available in the basic text section of the Home Ribbon.

The list of available fonts in OneNote online is limited to a handful of fonts commonly available on most computers and devices. If we use a font on our device or computer that is not available in the online version, OneNote will automatically make that font available in the online version. I tried this out with several fonts and it works very well.

Text Boxes

OneNote uses text boxes instead of the traditional document format for text. This means we can have one or more text boxes to organize notes. Text boxes open opportunities to be creative with notes and what teachers and students can do with notebooks. The text box is visible when we click on another section or area of the page.

Text boxes can be resized by moving the mouse to the right side of the box. The cursor will change to a directional arrow.

The text box itself can be moved around the page by moving the mouse arrow to the text box bar. The mouse arrow will change to four opposing arrows. Click and drag the text box anywhere on the page.

A benefit of using text boxes is that we are free to place text anywhere on a page.

A text box is automatically created when we click on a page. If we don’t provide content for the text box, it will disappear when we click somewhere else.

We can use multiple text boxes to create columns of text.

To delete a text box, click once on the text box bar so it becomes selected. Press the backspace key or delete key on the keyboard.