More OneNote Must-Knows: History, Search, and Template Creation

Jan 26, 2023 | Productivity, Technology

​Whether you’re using it for travel planning, procedures development, project management, or basic notetaking, OneNote is one of the most dynamic software programs out there for administrative professionals.

Previously, I talked about two of my favorite OneNote features – color coding and custom tags. If you haven’t checked out that article, you can find it here. But there’s so much more to OneNote!

So I want to share a few more powerful ways to put OneNote to work for you including how to use the history feature, search function, and create templates that you can use repeatedly!


When you are working in a collaborative environment, it’s important to keep track of who’s making changes and where. OneNote allows you to do this with the history feature. Here are the ways you can use it in OneNote:

  • Review Recent Edits (today, since yesterday, this week, etc.)
  • Find Edits by Author
  • Show/Hide Authors (toggles to show authors initials or name next to edits)
  • Page Versions will show you every version of the page with date stamps
  • Notebook Recycle Bin will show you deleted pages and content
    • Note: Items are permanently deleted after 60 days.


My friend once said that the beauty of OneNote is that no matter how organized or disorganized you are, you can always find things in it. OneNote searching is awesome!

  • Type in any word or phrase in the search field.
  • Choose how narrowly or widely you want to search (this page, section, notebook, all notebooks).
  • Open the Search Results pane. (Alt + O = Pin results to right-hand side)
  • Sorted by section.
  • Go through the links section by section.
  • See how the word is highlighted everywhere it exists allowing you to easily navigate to your words to modify them.

Create a Template

When I train people on creating office procedures, I start by encouraging them to use a template so that they have a standardized tool to keep their procedures consistent from page to page whether they are typed or handwritten. This OneNote functionality allows you to create a page template that you can use over and over again. Here’s how you create one:

  • Create a page in OneNote or insert a file from Word that you want to use as your standard template throughout the notebook (e.g. procedures, meeting minutes, travel itinerary, meeting planning, project plans).
  • On the insert ribbon, click on Page Templates.

  • Click on Page Templates at the bottom of that window.
  • A templates panel will open on the right side of your screen.
  • At the bottom of the Templates panel, click on Save current page as a template to create a new template based on the page you created. This will show up under “My Templates” for ongoing use in your notebook.

NOTE: If you are sharing the notebook, the template will only show up under My Templates for you. If you want others to be able to use the same template, they need to follow these steps to add it to their My Templates section.

 I recommend always keeping a page with your template on it so others can quickly save the existing page as a template on their machine.

The Learning Doesn’t Stop Here!

With OneNote, there’s always more to learn. If you’re interested in continuing your education, I invite you to register for a complimentary session that will show you how to better organize and systemize all the key functions. Just choose the day and time that works best for you and sign up here!


© 2022 Julie Perrine International, LLC


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Julie Perrine, CAP-OM, is the founder and CEO of All Things Admin, providing training, mentoring and resources for administrative professionals worldwide. Julie applies her administrative expertise and passion for lifelong learning to serving as an enthusiastic mentor, speaker and author who educates admins around the world on how to be more effective every day. Learn more about Julie’s books — The Innovative Admin: Unleash the Power of Innovation in Your Administrative Career and The Organized Admin: Leverage Your Unique Organizing Style to Create Systems, Reduce Overwhelm, and Increase Productivity, Become a Procedures Pro: The Admin’s Guide to Developing Effective Office Systems and Procedures, and Prove Your Skills! With a Powerful Professional Portfolio.

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