Take (Web) Note

I’ve had an ongoing love/hate relationship with OneNote. It’s an amazing, versatile container for information of all shapes and sizes, but at times, it’s a convoluted mess to manage a collection with such a vast and nebulous scope. While I’ve done a decent job of adopting it as the go-to tool for my personal data horde, I’ve been only marginally successful in convincing my family and colleagues to use it consistently.

OneNote just wants to be your “everything” locker, and consequently, it offers myriad avenues for transporting your precious stuff into its hungry maw. You can insert a screen clipping, use the Send to OneNote tool, email a note to yourself (me@onenote.com), and so on. Over the years, however, I came to rely heavily on using OneNote as a virtual printer, because any Windows application that could print – particularly IE – could easily send its print-ready output to OneNote. It was a pretty excellent solution for online payment receipts, where you really need a printout instead of just a link back to the page.

Windows 8 debuted the OneNote app, which could leverage the Share charm to receive content, but only if the sending app understood how to work with charms. Which is to say, none of them. It’s was kind of a nightmare.

So, I was cautiously optimistic to learn that in Windows 10, Microsoft has once again changed up the way users are supposed to send stuff to OneNote. I’m trying to move to the lightweight touch-first Office apps wherever I can, but OneNote Mobile doesn’t provide the virtual printer. The previous sharing framework is now defunct, so what’s an aspiring note-clipper to do? It took me a few minutes to figure it out, but the answer lies in Edge’s new Web Note feature.

On any page, click the icon to start new Web Note.

The colorful Web Note toolbar is displayed. You can use the tools to markup the page easily. When you’re done, just click the icon.

You’ll see a panel with output options, but the default destination is OneNote (perhaps, it’s no coincidence that the toolbar is OneNote’s signature purple color). Choose a section and click Send.

That’s it! The next time you fire up OneNote, your new web note is there to greet you.

4 Replies to “Take (Web) Note”

  1. I forgot to check before I re-upgraded my computer to Windows 7 from Windows 10, but did Microsoft fix the horrible Office Onenote 2013 desktop scaling problem? I loved using it for PDF files. I would print them to a page just like you mention, but then it would OCR them for me to make them searchable. This used to work in previous versions flawlessly, but in the 2013 version your search, if found, would highlight in the wrong place making it almost useless to me and many others. I assumed this is why they made it a free product. This issue has been promised to be fixed for over two years. I solved the problem but installing just the 2010 version of Onenote. Sad really. You can read my posts and many others going back over two years here: http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/office/forum/office_2013_release-onenote/onenote-2013-pdf-ocr-issue-with-text-scaling/4f5bf637-405c-449f-9dd1-98dadbf63b66?auth=1

    The Onenote app on Android does not print either. It does not seem to be able to share either or it would be able to via Google Cloud Print. I’m not sure why because the other Office apps allow it.


    1. Can’t say that I ever experienced that problem, Jeffrey. I regularly use 125% desktop scaling. Maybe it’s something specific to PDF? I’ve always thought PDF is the Jenny McCarthy of document formats – pretty to look at but crazy as a sack of weasels under the hood. I used to have all kinds of problems with Reader displaying incorrectly scaled or outright blank documents.

      I think Microsoft made OneNote free mainly to compete with the likes of Evernote. Say, whatever happened to that Google note-taking product?

      I’m not particularly familiar with the OneNote app for Android, but in general, I’m always disappointed by the appified version of OneNote products. I understand they tend to be lighter compared to their desktop counterparts, but they always seem to manage to leave out something I find really useful. I take a lot of notes during meetings, and while the desktop version of Outlook has a handy Meeting Notes feature to create a linked entry in OneNote, it’s conspicuously absent in the app versions. I guess we geeks who like connecting everything are in the minority.


      1. Google Keep is still around and getting better all the time. It isn’t really the same kind of app though even though it does OCR as well. Keep is purely for one-off notes and lists while Onenote and Evernote are more like scrapbooks. If you ask Google Now to take a note it’ll default to Keep. And Keep can have note-based reminders as well based on time or proximity.

        So, you haven’t experienced the problem yourself? Can you try to experience it for me? LOL! I am curious if Windows 10 fixes the scaling issue or not. It probably isn’t just PDF of which I am also not that fond of, but most online databases provide their content in that format. Usually the PDF’s are directly searchable, but a few are literal scans of an original work that cannot be searched from within Adobe products. It should apply to any printed text that is image based and can be OCR’ed. For example, a picture of a newspaper article should work but will not OCR/search in Onenote correctly either.

        Try printing a picture of some text to Onenote then right click it in Onenote and OCR it in English. Then search for something in the text. If it finds it, and if it is correctly working then all instances of the text will be highlighted. What I am finding when I scale at 125% is that the results all miss the targets by miles.

        If it’s fixed that would be great. If not, then I still use 2010. 😦


  2. Edge doesn’t give me the option to send a web clipping to a specific location in my notebooks/sections I want. Am I missing something?

    I can honestly say that OneNote has revolutionized my digital workflow and the way I organize myself digitally. I love it. However, I am a heavy user of the 2013 desktop version. The newest versions of their apps have gotten better, but I have found that most people who say they tried OneNote and didn’t like it had test driven it on their phones. I have only piddled with the Win10 app for a few minutes. On a 7″ tablet maybe, but on anything bigger why not use the desktop version and run it in full screen mode if wanted. If I get a Windows 10 phone, I could like this app, but nowhere else.

    Someone please explain why Microsoft insists on having OneNote’s pages listed on the right in the desktop version, but then sticks them on the left everywhere else? Our brains read left to right, and in the apps that puts the pages pane “in the way” visually.

    Greg, get yourself one of those purple OneNote capes and there will be a lot more love in that love/hate relationship…


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