Save time with desktop shortcuts in OneNote

Ashwini Purohit is a Program Manager on the OneNote team.

Whether you use OneNote to coordinate your busy family, organize college life, plan your wedding, or give presentations, desktop shortcuts can make it even more helpful and easy to use. I became an avid OneNote user when I joined the OneNote team, and along the way I’ve picked up a bunch of shortcuts and tips for OneNote on the desktop. Here are some of my favorites–bookmark this page as a handy reference for starting your own list of go-to shortcuts.

Screen capture

Shortcut: Windows + S (Windows + Shift + S in Windows 8.1)


Make sure OneNote is already open, then navigate to any content (e.g., webpage, OneNote, Word). Press Windows + S on your keyboard. (Go ahead, try it now!) The screen will appear grey. Now select whatever region of the screen you want to capture. You have the option to send this selection to a page, or copy it to your clipboard. This is my all-time favorite shortcut–I can’t count how many times in a day I use this.

Note: In Windows 8.1, the shortcut key is Windows + Shift + S. If you’ve installed the 8.1 preview, be sure to check out the workaround for what to do.

Create a bulleted list

Shortcut: Ctrl + . (period)

Use this shortcut to create a bullet point. Or, if you already have an unbulleted list, highlight the entire list and use this shortcut to bullet all of the items at the same time.

Add a new row anywhere in a table

Shortcut: Ctrl + Enter

Click anywhere in your table, and then use this shortcut. A new empty row will be created directly under the row your cursor was in.

Create a table with tab

Shortcut: Tab


Type any text. Press the Tab key. The new text will now be a cell in a newly-created table.

Add common tags

Shortcut: Ctrl + 1 makes a to-do list. Ctrl + 2 stars an item.

Use these handy tags to mark up your notes! 

Move around a line of text

Shortcut: Alt + Shift + Up/Down arrow


This one is really cool. Try it out for yourself and see how easy it is to move around a line of text!

Insert space

Insert space isn’t exactly a shortcut key, but I use it all the time. Sometimes after writing my notes, I realize I want to add more content at the top. I go to Insert > Insert Space, and drag down to where I want to add blank space. All of my existing content shifts down, leaving me with plenty of blank space to add more to my notes.

Open another OneNote window

Shortcut: Ctrl + M

For those times you want to have two notes open at once, press Ctrl + M open two OneNote windows.

Create headings

Shortcut: Ctrl + Alt + 1 (or 2 or 3)

I always use headings to organize my content. These are some quick shortcuts to toggle between the different headings.

These timesavers have become part of my everyday use of OneNote. Give them a try and be sure to check out the complete list of desktop shortcuts.

Do you have any other favorite shortcuts? Share them in the comments below!

–Ashwini Purohit


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