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OneNote Shortcuts

A Fortunate Accident

I was writing a OneNote page when suddenly the page took on an appearance that I had never use. It had lines and a red margin, just like a ‘scribbler’ page. 



Instinct told me that I had somehow triggered a keyboard shortcut, one that might prove useful in the future. That set me to digging in to OneNote keyboard shortcuts. My search led me to this site (for OneNote 2010) and this one (for OneNote 2013).

It didn’t take long to identify the shortcut I had accidentally triggered (<shift><ctrl>R). Like many shortcuts this one is a toggle so that by keying <shift><ctrl>R again (deliberately this time) the margin and lines disappeared. Problem solved and I had added a new item to add to my personal bag of tricks. By the same token, some shortcuts apply only to a specific application.

Shortcuts – the Road Less Travelled

I didn’t used to be a shortcut fan. Until a few years ago, I quickly turned my attention to other things whenever the topic came up whether in something I was reading at the time or in personal discussions. After all, learning anything involves personal effort and time and I had more important things to do and little enough time to do them in. Happy in my ignorance, I completely missed the point that investing a tiny amount of time in learning shortcut pays a huge dividing in time saved, time that becomes available for other, more ‘important’ tasks.

I suspect that many computer users, especially those who have been using personal computers for a relatively short time take the same ‘path of least resistance’ that I allowed myself to be caught by. In their defense, the learning curve for a new user can be overwhelming. It is difficult enough to learn and remember what to do without taking on the additional burden of learning shortcuts. Besides, for a computer newcomer, there is no apparent benefit for investing the time involved.

Nevertheless, one aspects of shortcuts does help to ease the learning curve. Many shortcuts are, at least in the Windows world virtually universal. That means that you have only to learn them once to be able to use them ‘everywhere.’

A Selected Few OneNote Shortcuts

This list is by no means comprehensive. It contains a small sampling of shortcuts that I find useful on a daily basis. Some are useful throughout the Windows world; others are specific to OneNote. Shortcuts are associated with keyboard keystrokes. Some use just a single key, others a combination of two keys pressed together, still others a combination of three keys pressed together. In most case you position the cursor or select the portion of text to which you want to apply the shortcut

‘Universal Shortcuts’



Undo the last action <ctrl>z
Redo the last action <ctrl>y
Move cursor one character to the right <right arrow>
Move cursor one character to the left <left arrow>
Move to the next paragraph <ctrl><down arrow>
Move to the previous paragraph <ctrl><up arrow>
Scroll to the top of the current page <ctrl><home>
Scroll to the end of the current page <ctrl><end>
Scroll up in the current page <page up>
Scroll down in the current page <page down>
Cut the selected text or item <ctrl>c
Copy the selected text or item <ctrl>x
Paste cut or copied text or item <ctrl>v


OneNote Specific Shortcuts



Copy the formatting of selected text <ctrl><shift>c
Paste the formatting of selected text <ctrl><shift>v
Apply or remove yellow highlight from selected text <ctrl><shift>h
Apply or remove strikethrough from selected text <ctrl><shift>-
Apply or remove superscript from selected text <ctrl><shift>=
Apply or remove subscript from selected text <ctrl>=
Apply or remove bulleted list formatting from selected text <ctrl>.
Apply or remove numbered list formatting from selected text <ctrl>/
Right align a paragraph <ctrl>r
Left align a paragraph <ctrl>l
Go back to the last page visited <alt><left arrow>
Go forward to the next page visited <alt><right arrow>
Insert the current date <alt><shift>d
Insert the current time <alt><shift>t
Insert the current date and time <alt><shift>f
Apply, mark, or clear the To Do tag <ctrl>1
Apply of clear the Important tag <ctrl>2
Apply or clear the Question tag <ctrl>3
Remove all tags from the selected text <ctrl>0


This list contains but a selected few OneNote shortcuts. The best way to learn these and other shortcuts is simply to start using them

For a more comprehensive collection of OneNote shortcuts visit this page: Shortcut World.

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