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6 Easy Ways to Use OneNote for Project Management

December 8, 2016 by

I recently outlined some key features of Microsoft’s digital note-taking application, OneNote. I hope these tips boosted your productivity and made collaboration a little easier! If you are ready to explore the benefits of OneNote for project management in more detail, read on.

By the end of this article, you will know how to link OneNote and Outlook for improved task lists and email collaboration, and organize your notebooks effectively using lists and tags.


Link OneNote and Outlook

1. Tasks

Outlook offers limited functionality when creating detailed tasks. By integrating OneNote with Outlook, you can organize tasks with links to relevant files, meeting notes, and any additional resources needed to complete work efficiently.

To get started, open Outlook, select ‘File’ and ‘Options’. Navigate to ‘Add-ins’ and select ‘COM Add-ins’ under Manage. Click ‘Go’.


OneNote for Project Management


Select ‘OneNote Notes about Outlook Items’ from the menu and finish by clicking ‘OK’. OneNote is now available within Outlook.


OneNote for Project Management


Before adding tasks to OneNote, consider how to organize and track tasks. It may be useful to set up a new notebook for all tasks or add a section within a project notebook to store related tasks.

Creating tasks in OneNote using Outlook is quite straightforward. Firstly, create and save the task in Outlook. Open the task and add to OneNote by selecting the OneNote icon at the top of the Tasks Page.


OneNote for Project Management Next, add the task to the relevant notebook section or page. In this instance, I will add the new task ‘Project Charter Update’ to the ‘Project Tasks’ section of my notebook:



OneNote for Project Management


The task is now available in the project notebook. I can add extra details, such as documents, screenshots, and links to the task to reference when completing the work.

Once finished, mark the task as complete to remove the item from your Outlook calendar.


2. Email Collaboration

Save time and improve collaboration by adding emails to relevant project notebooks. This will ensure that the project team can easily access important information and conversations quickly.

Open the email and click the OneNote icon. Add the email to the relevant section.


OneNote for Project Management


The email is stored as a new page.

If you are using OneNote 2016 and Outlook 2013/2016, it is also possible to add OneNote pages to emails. Imagine you need to share your task list and associated files with the project manager. Navigate to the required page and select ‘Home’ on the mail ribbon. Choose ‘Email Page’ and compose your email as needed.


OneNote for Project Management


Not using Outlook 2013 or 2016? Attach a OneNote page to an email as follows: File > Export > Export Current.


Organize Your Notebook

There a few ways to organize your notebooks and keep track of useful content.

3. Table of Contents

Improve the navigation within a notebook by creating a table of contents. This is especially useful for team members who only need to access particular sections of a notebook.

Open or create the relevant notebook. Add a new page titled ‘Table of Contents. Click and drag this page to the top of the notebook as shown:

OneNote for Project Management


Next, select the page under ‘Table of Contents’. Right-click on the page title to access the ‘Copy Link to Page’ option.  Return to the contents page and paste the hyperlink. Repeat as needed.


4. To-do List

Use OneNote to identify and track your activities. Open a new page and start typing the list. Next, access the Tags tab on the Home Ribbon.


OneNote for Project Management


For a quick list, select ‘To Do Tag’. This option adds a checkbox to the selected item. Update tasks as needed.


OneNote for Project Management

If needed, assign tasks to particular team members using ‘at_name’, for example, ‘at_joe’. Team members can search for their tasks as needed:


OneNote for Project Management


5. Tags

In addition to the ‘To Do’ tag, OneNote offers several ways to categorize your list as follows:

OneNote for Project Management


As you can see, these additional tags offer enhanced tracking and visibility across tasks.

If needed, create customize tags for individual project and team needs. Select Customize Tags and opt to either modify an existing tag or create a new tag.


6. Content Searches

Despite my best efforts to organize and categorize my notes, I often struggle to find information documented in paper notebooks. Switching to OneNote has solved this problem as I can quickly search for any notes.

OneNote’s search function has five parameters: page, section, section group, notebook, and all notebooks.  Search for keywords or phrases, tags, ‘at_name’, and audio or video files.



There you have it – six easy ways to use OneNote for project management. When combined with the application’s collaboration capabilities, page templates, and content tools, OneNote becomes a very powerful resource for tracking tasks, documenting ideas and working across teams.

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Grace Windsor

Grace is a content creator within the marketing team at BrightWork. She loves creating actionable content in different formats to help others achieve more project success. Grace spent far too long at university studying English literature, which instilled a life-long love of learning and upskilling.

In her free time, she enjoys a challenging session at the gym, tucking into a good book, and walking the beautiful Galway coastline with her dog.
Grace Windsor

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