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How to Create Notes from Templates in OneNote 2013

Templates are essentially notes that are preformatted in OneNote 2013 so that you can basically fill in blanks to create a professional-looking note. There are a variety of options for templates to make your note-taking experience right for you.

Default OneNote templates

OneNote 2013 comes with a number of templates that you can use to quickly create new notes; these default templates fall into the following five categories:

  • Academic: OneNote was designed for students to take notes, and although the program is useful for anyone, students taking notes are still a key strength of the software. These templates can show you what you can do with lecture notes, whether you want simple or advanced notes or templates specifically designed for math or history classes.

  • Blank: This category includes various sizes, types, and colors of blank paper. Whether you want postcard size, legal size, or ruled paper like you see in actual notebooks, you can choose from more than a dozen sizes and styles and even change the background color of the paper.

  • Business: Meeting notes are the focus of this category. Whether you want simple, personal, or formal meeting notes, these templates make it easy to take and organize your meeting notes.

  • Decorative: If you want to add some pizzazz to your notes, you'll like this category, which has dozens of decorative note paper styles similar to the specialty paper you can buy in office supply stores. Most of these include graphical elements either in the title bar of the document, down the left margin, or all over the page.

  • Planners: The smallest of the categories, planners include several to-do list templates that come with graphical elements and check boxes by default. Some include multiple lists separated by priority or project, as well as a single to-do list.

How to create a note with a template in OneNote

Using templates in OneNote is easy and gives you a major shortcut to a nicely formatted note. Follow these steps to start a new note using a template:

  1. Open a new page in OneNote and select the Insert tab.

  2. Click or tap the Page Templates button.

    The Templates pane appears at the right side of the OneNote window.

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    If you click or tap the down arrow on the Page Templates button instead, you’ll see shortcuts to templates you’ve used previously, as well as a shortcut at the bottom of the list to open the Templates panel. Use these shortcuts to avoid having to open the Templates pane at all.

  3. Click or tap the black downward-pointing arrow next to a category on the Templates pane to see the templates in that category.

  4. Select the name of a template to apply it to the currently open page.

Templates are easier to use before creating a note. To use a template on an existing note, you must create a new page using the template and then copy and paste the content from the original note over to the new page that includes the template. If you simply try to add a template to an existing note, all of the note content will be erased.

How to create a OneNote template

Creating a template is as simple as designing a note and saving it as a template. Follow these steps to do so:

  1. Design a note that you want to turn into a template.

    Consider putting generic information in the template version of the note rather than specifics. For example, you can put “First Name” instead of your actual first name.

  2. Select the Insert tab and click or tap the Page Templates button.

    The Templates pane appears at the right side of the OneNote window.

  3. With the note you want to turn into a template open, select the Save Current Page as Template link on the Templates pane.

    A dialog box opens, prompting you to name the template. You can click the check box to make the template the default template for all new notes in the current section.

  4. Enter a name for the template and click Save.

    If this is your first saved template, a new category called my Templates appears on the Templates pane with your new template beneath it. All future templates that you save will appear here as well.

How to set a default OneNote template

You can set a template to be the default template for all new notes in a given section. To do so, follow these steps:

  1. Open a page and apply the template that you want for that page.

  2. Select the Insert tab and click or tap the Page Templates button.

    The Templates pane appears at the right side of the OneNote window.

  3. Select a template from the drop-down list at the bottom of the Always Use a Specific Template section of the Templates pane.

As soon as you close the Templates pane, OneNote forgets the default template and resorts to the No Default Template setting.

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