Microsoft OneNote is a fantastic, versatile note-taking tool. One of its best features–at least if you’re using the Windows version–is page templates. With templates, you can have a consistent look for all the pages in your notebooks, and you can easily replicate notebooks for things like meeting notes and project overviews. Here’s how.
Insert a Page Based on a Template
In the OneNote ribbon, go to the Insert tab and click the dropdown under Page Templates. A new Templates sidebar will open, and you can choose the design you would like for your new page. There are class notes templates, meeting notes templates, templates with different backgrounds, and templates to change the page size–you can index-card sized pages!
Granted, the decorative templates are pretty cheesy, with stock photos or clipart of books, day planners, and flowers and hearts among the options.
However, the business templates can come in handy, since they start you off with an outline already.
Download a OneNote Template
Microsoft used to offer free OneNote templates at https://templates.office.com/, but now that section seems to only offer templates for Excel, PowerPoint, and Word. No worries, you can still find templates elsewhere on the web.
OneNote Gem has a collection of free templates, from a “Things To Do List” to a Cornell Notes template to seven complete notebook templates.
You can also download a meetings notebook template and an events notebook template shared on OneDrive.
The meetings notebook has sections for team meetings by quarter and pages with agenda, pre-reads, deck, and notes. Each page has placeholders for you to enter things like meeting details and follow-up action items.
The events notebook could help you wrangle all the information you need to organize an event, with sections for attendee materials, presentations, goals and theme, organizer materials, and more. Each section offers templates and instructions to help you record relevant information for the event.
If you’re a fan of The Bullet Journal system of organizing your tasks and notes, you can grab a template to turn a OneNote notebook into your Bullet Journal. Here are the instructions I wrote on Lifewire (formerly Mobile Office at About.com) and the template.
Create Your Own Template
Finally, you can turn any page you want into a template to be applied to new pages. For example, if you can create a template for pages you always want to have your logo on or a template for your weekly review notes.
To create your own template, simply make a new page with the items you want on the template. You can add placeholders for the things that might change. Then in the Templates sidebar, click the “Save current page as a template” link at the bottom. Give your template a name, and you’re done.
Photo by Matt Guay.