Keep it a Secret : How to Open Password Protected Sections on iOS

Finally! All your business stuff, private info and secret treasures are safe. Outline makes it come true in the upcoming update for iPad. Now it’s up to you what section you want to be password protected. Let’s say part of the notebook can be viewed by all the people you shared it with. The rest of the notebook can require a password to open.
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10 OneNote Power Tips

Here are 10 power user OneNote tips. They are definitely not for beginners but if you master them, you’ll be a real OneNote master.

1. If you use shared notebooks, new or edited by other users pages appear in bold, like new emails in your mailbox. When you read them, their boldness is gone. Press CTRL-Q to unread a page – it’ll become bold again.

2. OneNote displays notebook structure on the left and pages on the right. If you find that weird, choose Options – Display – Page tabs appears on the left. Outline+ for iPad displays pages on the left by the way!


3. Press CTRL-1 to create a To-Do tag. Press CTRL-1 again to mark it done!


4. Browse many OneNote templates by Microsoft at

5. Do you miss any tags in OneNote? You can create your own tags: right click in a note, select Tag and then Customize Tags.


6. CTRL-A usually selects everything you see in a window, but not in OneNote. First time it selects a paragraph, equal to triple-click. Second time it selects complete note container. Third time it selects entire page.

7. If you experience problems with OneNote, try Safe Boot: press Start – Run and type "OneNote /safeboot".

8. Press ALT-SHIFT-D to insert current date into your note.

9. One window of OneNote is not enough? Press CTRL-M to open a new window of OneNote.

10. There are some hidden OneNote options: create all new pages with ruled lines: open Options – Display.

15 Easy OneNote Tips

This is a collection of the first 15 OneNote tips posted in our Twitter – @OutlineApp. Since Outline+ is the only iPad app that can work directly with OneNote files (no servers, no hacks), we’ve become real pros with OneNote – and share our knowledge like real pros.

1. OneNote never deletes any data. That’s why your year-old notebooks are so huge. Learn how OneNote keeps your notes safe.

2. OneNote saves data almost constantly but you can still save with CTRL-S for peace of mind.

3. Type 3+3= in OneNote and see what happens!

4. Wanna change default font in OneNote? Choose any font and color in File – Options – General.

OneNote default font options

5. Press CTRL-SHIFT-E to email current page.

6. If you need a free OneNote viewer, just wait until your trial copy of OneNote expires. When it expires, it becomes just a viewer but a free one!

7. Optimize your OneNote notebooks : Go to File | Options | Save & Backup and click Optimize All Files Now.


8. Press CTRL-E to search.

9. Press TAB when you enter text to create a table.

10. Set passwords to OneNote sections: right click on a section, choose Password Protect This Section.


11. OneNote pages are too boring? Click View – Rule Lines and choose page style.


12. Press CTRL+SHIFT+M to open a small OneNote window to create a side note.


13. Did you know you can take screenshots with OneNote? Just press Win-S.


14. Press ALT-SHIFT-T to insert current time into your note.


15. Press CTRL-4 to create a Remember for later tag.


We’ll post more tips soon. Please let us know if you have just learned anything new!

OneNote MX UI Review

OneNote MX Preview

Funny enough, OneNote has become the first app fully redesigned for Microsoft’s new Metro UI. It can be installed for free on Windows 8, which is also free while in preview status.

You can download Windows 8 from Microsoft website and install it as a virtual OS using free Oracle VM VirtualBox

Then you go to Store, type OneNote in Search (it opens when you move your mouse to right side of the screen) and download it.

OneNote MX first note

OneNote MX is…interesting! We can expect its interface will be a guideline for all future Windows 8 applications. Unlike OneNote 2013, which is just partly touch-optimized, the MX version goes an extra mile in making the old good OneNote finger-friendly. The core UI element is its radial menu. See that violet circle?

OneNote MX menu

This is a touch control that opens radial menu – totally new concept in OneNote. It previously has been seen only in Microsoft Labs prototype apps. So it seems MS took the plunge and decided to change the UI radically.

This button moves as you type. It is always at some short distance of the cursor at the right side of it (what about left handed people?)


OneNote MX menu

Radial menu is a context menu, so it looks different depending on a situation (selected object for instance). The image inside the violet circle also changes depending on what is selected.

OneNote MX radial menu

When you select entire outline (note container) the menu changes and looks like below.

OneNote MX radial menu

And if you select some text only the image inside the circle is different but options are still the same.OneNote MX radial menu

For table the options are different though.

OneNote MX radial menu

Not so many options for images…

OneNote MX radial menu

Same for drawings.

OneNote MX radial menu

The radial menu looks interesting when you choose font size:

OneNote MX radial menu

And just beautiful when you choose font color:

OneNote MX radial menu

However, changing fonts seems unfinished yet.

OneNote MX font select

There is a UX pattern OneNote 2010 users will have to learn after switching to OneNote MX. If you right-click on selected text, you will see the following black menu at the bottom of the app. We would expect that radial menu would popup as it behaves like a context menu, which is called by right click in desktop world.

OneNote MX bottom black menu

If you click on “Notebooks” menu item in this menu you are shown with a list of your notebooks and sections in the current notebook. The same happens if you click on “Quick Notes” in the left top corner.

OneNote MX sections

If you click/tap on a notebook you see some additional actions in the menu.

OneNote MX menu

By the way, here is how the corresponding screen (options of a notebook) looks in Outline 2.0

Outline 2.0 notebook options

Hierarchy of sections and section groups created in desktop version of OneNote is clear but no way to create groups of sections.

OneNote MX

Compare to OneNote 2013:

OneNote 2013 structure

In a nutshell, the new radial menu:

  • Looks cool and fresh
  • Doesn’t clutter the UI and fits the minimalistic concept of metro very well
  • Born for touch screens
  • Will take some time to get used to it
  • Logic of the Radial Menu can be improved. For instance, you will find alignment controls inside “Bullets” menu item and Font setting inside “Bold” menu item. The whole approach seems to be too simple (constraining) for the complex editing menu MS wants to fit into it.
  • Not optimized (yet?) for left-handed people.

OneNote 2013 In-depth Review

New Microsoft Office is on its way and now everyone can download Office 2013 Preview for free and use all features and all applications (Word, Excel, Powerpoint, OneNote etc) without any limits.

We do recommend you to try this new Office at least because of its new installation mechanism. Today you don’t have to download a huge installer, then wait for half an hour for installation to complete and fight weird error messages. Imagine you can get all Office apps running in a couple of minutes, error-free. Here is how:

1. Go to

2. Click on any application (of course we clicked on OneNote).

3. Click Try it (or you can go directly to

4. Click Try it on any version once again.

Now you can click Install if you have a 32-bit Windows. Microsoft does not detect your version of Windows (anyway it did not detect our Windows 7 64-bit) so if you are on 64-bit, click Language and install options and choose Office (64-bit). Otherwise it won’t install a 32-bit Office on a 64-bit machine.

After that you’ll download a very small file, which appears to be a launcher for installer. Office 2013 uses a new technology called Office on Demand, which makes it possible to start using Office in a few minutes while something is still still being downloaded and installed.

Office 2013 streaming application features

After few moments you will see a License screen. You don’t even have to read it:

Office 2013 License screen - installation

…Then you watch a short cartoon about the entire planet using new Office…

Office 2013 installation cartoon

…after which you can login to your windows Live account…

Office 2013 installation - sign in

…then select appearance for your Office. In fact that is the screen you can spend most of time on because you don’t understand immediately what it is and why. Importance of this option during setup is arguable.

Office 2013 installation

A couple of more screens to go through…

Office 2013 installation - skydrive


Office 2013 installation - getting ready

And finally you can start using Office while the installer finishes some downloads.

Office 2013 installation - wrapping up

In fact, integration with Microsoft online services and SkyDrive is very tight. SkyDrive is always the first option for saving files and your account is always shown in the top right corner, next to two emoticons, a sad and a happy one. They are buttons for sending good or bad feedback:

Office 2013 - feedback

So we are starting OneNote now. It catches all your existing notebooks that were last time opened in OneNote, the interface looks much cleaner but familiar, no need to become a switcher. The ribbon is still there, pages, sections and notebooks are in their old places.

OneNote 2013

There are two main changes. One is File menu. It is redesigned and now includes just one step for creating new files:

OneNote 2013 - new notebook

Compare with OneNote 2010:

OneNote 2010 - new notebook

There is a new Account tab where you can add your Flickr and Youtube as image sources.

OneNote 2013 - Account menu

However, when you add Flickr, it launches the authorization dialog in Internet Explorer… Other apps usually open Flickr authorization page in your favorite browser.

OneNote 2013 - Flickr add

The other big change is improved tables. Now you can convert your tables in OneNote to Excel format, sort data, and change shading for individual cells. Still no way to move columns.

OneNote 2013 - improved table

Adding pages is improved. In addition to the old Add Page button, you can now click anywhere between existing pages to insert a new page there.

OneNote 2013 - adding pages

What format does OneNote 2013 use? Right-click on a notebook, choose Properties and it’s good news – the format is called OneNote 2010-2013, which means there are no significant changes to file format and Outline will be compatible with OneNote 2013. We’ll dig deeper for full compatibility report later.

OneNote 2013 - notebook properties

One more significant change is touch mode. You start it by clicking a small arrow and selecting Touch mode. Looks like Outline logo! With this mode enabled, OneNote adds a little more spaces to buttons so that they are easier to press with a finger. At the same time it eats up some space on your touch-enabled device that is – let me guess – not so huge. All other elements like sections and pages keep their normal sizes so they don’t become any easier to touch. That reminds of old days when Microsoft made an attempt to switch from stylus interfaces on Windows Mobile Pocket PCs to finger-friendly screens. It worked fine for simple actions but here and there you opened menus with tiny controls that could only be pressed with a stylus.

OneNote 2013 - touch mode

In about an hour Office will finish installing and you can go offline.

Office 2013 - setup complete

Interesting that the Office logo is similar in color and perspective to Andrew Kim’s idea of MS rebranding and his ‘Slate’ shape from

Office logo

Overall we can see that OneNote 2013 sports mainly cosmetic changes and little improvements. We are sure we will discover some new handy additions as we use it everyday, and the new colors and shapes for sections and notebooks are sexy but the tables improvement could have been supplied as update for OneNote at an earlier point. We foresee a confusion between Office 365 and Office 2013 as well as between Metro interface and old desktop in Windows 8 – a number of people commenting first reviews of Office 2013 pointed that already. We hope that Microsoft will find a way to deal with that because all people want is just Outlook, OneNote or Word.

Where OneNote files are stored (and how)

Notes are safe in OneNote and Outline for iPad

If you ever used OneNote, you probably wondered why there is no “Save” button and why your notebook becomes so huge. The answer can be found in the principle how OneNote stores its data. The rule of thumb for OneNote is that all data must be stored safely. It means three things:

1. All notes should be always saved.

2. They should be never deleted.

3. And you should be able to restore any version of your notes.

So what happens when you enter your note in OneNote?

First of all, it goes to cache. Cache is an important part of OneNote, it keeps all immediate changes to your notes, so we don’t recommend messing with it.  Don’t touch cache file unless you really need to move it to another place (e.g. another hard drive with more space). If you move the cache file, make sure its new home is on a non-removable hard drive and neither you nor other users can delete it by mistake.

When OneNote sees that your note dropped into cache, it begins saving it. All your notes can be stored in 3 places. Seems a bit redundant but when it is about your notes, it’s better to be on the safe side.

The main storage is .one file that is stored wherever you decided to keep your notebook. Each .one file represents a section within your notebook. The way your sections are sorted is defined in a special file that is called Table of Contents with extension .onetoc2.

Your .one file contains two things:

1. List of pages

2. All of your pages within that section. But not just pages – rather all revisions of them.

What is a revision? A revision is a new copy of your file with any changes compared to a previous copy. If OneNote detects that you edit a file, it saves a new revision of it. How often it happens. Pretty often, I’d say but it depend on where your OneNote notebook is stored. If you are working with a local copy (that’s on your PC), OneNote saves it every 3 seconds. If your notebook is stored on a local network, it is saved every 10 seconds. If it is a SkyDrive notebook, OneNote syncs it from every 20 seconds to 1 minute max (depending on whether you keep typing or not).

In other words, every 3 seconds OneNote creates a new current copy of a page you are working with. No wonders your notebook can become huge, especially if you have a lot of images or multimedia – they are all saved every 3 seconds again and again! Good news is that sometimes OneNote optimizes your notebooks to merge revisions and clean up some space. 

OneNote makes revisions available to you as Page Versions. Page Versions are created not so often in order to provide a manageable history – it would be a little hard to search every-3-second copies! Page Versions are created every one hour or when another author edited a page. Microsoft engineers posted a very detailed explanation in MS Office Forums

Notebook Recycle bin in OneNote

Another place where your notes are saved is Recycle Bin. That’s where your deleted pages go to. OneNote’s Recycle Bin is not the same as your computer’s recycle bin, you can find it in Share – Notebook Recycle Bin. Click it to find all of your deleted pages and sections for the last 60 days. You can empty it anytime or completely turn off for selected notebooks.

OneNote backup settings

Backups is the third place where OneNote stores your notes. By default, the notebooks are backed up every day. You can find settings for backup in OneNote Options – Save & Backup. We are often asked, what is “Number of backup copies to keep”? By default it’s two but it does not mean that you will have two identical copy: OneNote will keep your most recent copy and a previous one. If you choose 1 copy, it will store only the last copy. If three, then 3 most recent copies.

Most of settings for saving your notes are located in OneNote Options – Save & Backup.

Since we in Outline for iPad use the same format and data structure as OneNote, your notes in Outline are equally safe (add to this Dropbox that also keeps all versions of your files).