Create, Edit and Share Notes with OneNote for Windows Phone 8

OneNote is a productivity app from Microsoft, that is available on all major platforms: Windows, Windows Phone, Android and iOS. With it you can create notes of all kinds, to-do lists, audio recording and more. OneNote synchronizes your notes between all your devices, using SkyDrive and your Microsoft account. In Windows Phone, OneNote is embedded into the operating system and it is quite powerful. Read this detailed guide and learn how to create all kinds of notes and format them to your liking.

What to Know Before Using OneNote for Windows Phone 8

There are a couple of things that you should know before using OneNote:

  • OneNote for Windows Phone 8 is deeply integrated with SkyDrive. Your OneNote notebooks will automatically sync to your SkyDrive account, so that you can access them from any Internet connected device, even from a web browser.
  • If you don't have a OneNote notebook in your SkyDrive account, a default notebook is created when you open OneNote for the first time. It is named My Notebook.
  • If you didn't set up a Microsoft account on your Windows Phone, the notes you create won't be synchronized. They will be stored locally on your smartphone. You will find them in the Quick Notes, a section that will be presented later in this tutorial.
  • Unlike other Office apps for Windows Phone, you don't have to manually save your notes. They are saved automatically, each time you exit OneNote.

How to Open OneNote for Windows Phone 8

To begin using OneNote, you have to first open it. The quick way is to tap its tile on the Start screen.

Another way to open OneNote is to tap its entry in the Apps list.

How to Create a New Note in OneNote for Windows Phone 8

When you first open OneNote, you will see a screen listing your existing notebooks. Tap the one you want to work with and it will open.

You are shown all the sections inside that notebook. If you haven't yet created any sections of your own, you will see only a default section, named Quick Notes, containing a few sample notes.
Tap the section where you want to create your new note.

On the bottom of the Notes screen, tap new to create a new note.

The editing screen is shown. Here you'll find two important sections:

  • Title - On the top, there is a field saying "Enter title". Tap it and add the title you want to use for your note.
  • Content - Below the note's title you have the area for adding the content. It starts with the date and time when the note was created. Tap anywhere in the note's body and start adding content.

When done creating the note, you can exit OneNote and your note is automatically saved and synchronized.

How to Create a To Do List in OneNote for Windows Phone 8

Some of the most useful lists you can create are "to-do" lists. OneNote has a preset for such lists that can be easily used to add and update them.
To create a "to-do" list, you need to open the notebook and the section where you want to store it. Then, create a new note or open an existing note, where the "to-do"list will be stored.
Only then you will a check mark like icon, on the bottom of the screen. Tap on it.

Then, write the first item on the "to-do"list.

Tap Enter on the keyboard to write the second element in the list.

Repeat the procedure until you added all the things you want included in the list. When you're done entering items, tap Enter to start an empty list item. Then, tap the "to-do" list button or Enter to end the list.

How to Create a Bulleted List in OneNote for Windows Phone 8

Again, you must create a new note or open an existing one, before adding a bulleted list. Then, tap list on the bottom menu.

Write the first list item and tap Enter to insert another element to the list.

Tap Enter twice or tap Enter and list to end the list.

How to Create a Numbered List in OneNote for Windows Phone 8

First, you must create a new note or open an existing one, before adding a numbered list. Then, tap more on the bottom menu.

A contextual menu opens, with several options. Tap numbered list.

Enter each item one by one.

When done, tap Enter twice or tap Enter, then more, then numbered list to close the list.

How to Insert a Picture in a Note Created with OneNote

If you want to embed a picture inside a note, tap picture on the bottom menu.

The Choose picture screen is displayed. Here you will find all the photos stored on your smartphone and on your SkyDrive account.

Browse and find the picture you want to insert. Tap it to select it and tap done to insert it in your note. If you want to, you can select more than one picture.

If you want to insert a picture that you are about to take with your Windows Phone, in the Choose picture screen, tap camera on the bottom of the screen.

The default camera app is opened. Take a picture and tap accept to insert it into the note or tap retake if you don't like the picture you just took.

How to Insert Audio Recordings in a Note Created with OneNote

OneNote is also capable of inserting audio recordings in your notes. To add a recording to a note, tap audio on the bottom of the note's editing screen.

Windows Phone immediately starts recording. Make your recording and, when done, tap stop.

The recording is attached to your note and a play icon is shown.

If want to listen to the recording, tap the play icon.

The recording is played back to you.

How to Apply Formatting to Your Notes in OneNote

Like the other Office apps for Windows Phone 8, OneNote is capable of formatting the text in your notes.

To format a piece of text, start by selecting it: tap a word and then drag the markers displayed until all the words you want to format are selected.

Then, on the bottom menu, tap more.

A contextual menu is shown. Tap format.

The Format screen is displayed. Here you can find several formatting options. You can apply bold, italic, underline and strikethrough styles to your text. Also, you can choose to highlight your text selection.

If you already know the formatting styles you want to use for the text inside your note, you can choose to apply the formatting before writing the text. When you don't longer want to use the formatting you selected, open the format screen and tap the format style(s) you want to stop using.

How to Increase or Decrease the Indent for Elements Found in a Note

To make it easy to differentiate between elements in a note, you can use a different indent for each of them. The indent can be applied to any element in a note. It doesn't matter if it is a piece of text, a picture or something else. The indent applied to the row where it is found.
To increase the indent, first tap the element in your note to which you want to apply it. Tap more, on the bottom menu and then tap increase indent.

The row containing the element you selected now has an increased indent.

To decrease the indent, follow the same steps as above, but tap decrease indent in the more menu.

If the row does not already have the smallest indent available in OneNote, it will be decreased.

How to Share a Note in OneNote for Windows Phone 8

Sharing a note in Windows Phone 8 works the same as for Word documents, Excel spreadsheets and PowerPoint presentations. For a detailed walkthrough regarding sharing, read the last section in this article: Create, Edit, Save & Share a Document with Office for Windows Phone 8.


Notes are very useful when organizing your thoughts, your work and your life. OneNote is a powerful tool and you should give it a try if you haven't done so already. If you are looking for other useful tips and tricks about productivity apps in Windows Phone 8, don't hesitate to read the recommendations below.