OneNote for Surface Pro 3 Users

OneNote for Surface Pro 3 Users

What you need to know about OneNote for Surface Pro 3:

I think the Surface Pro 3 is an excellent tablet/laptop. I believe that there was a batch of bad hardware on the first release because I had continual problems, but since I’ve sent it in for replacement my new one has been awesome.

I’ve even set up a home office with dual monitors using my SP3 as a desktop replacement, see my post My New Surface Pro 3 Home Office for pictures.

One of the things that I think is really cool about the Surface Pro 3 is the integration with OneNote. It allows you to easily take notes, make drawings, and even markup documents with ease.

In this post, I’ll cover what you need to know to get started with OneNote for Surface Pro 3, including:

  • How it works
  • How it’s different from Desktop version
  • How to see your Notebooks
  • Change quick notes location
  • Delete quick notes
  • Delete entire Notebook
  • Take a screen shot
  • How to install OneNote (desktop) on other devices

OneNote for Surface Pro 3 Users: How it works

On your Surface Pro 3, OneNote syncs and saves everything to your OneDrive automatically by default. This way you can write and organize your notes without worrying about them getting lost. To start OneNote you simply click the top button of your Surface Pen, see Surface Pro 3 vs. Surface Pro 2 pen, or tap the OneNote tile. The Surface Pen will open OneNote even if your screen is locked.

OneNote for Surface Pro 3 Users: How it’s different from Desktop version

The Surface Pro 3 includes the modern touch interface version of OneNote, which is found in Windows 8.1 Store. It is already pre-installed and you do not have to download it. However, you do have an option to install the OneNote 2013 desktop application, if you prefer it. The feature set on the two applications varies slightly. For this post, I will cover the features of the included version of OneNote.

Suffice it to say that the pre-installed version on Surface Pro 3 was designed with touch in mind. And so, it provides better touch experience on a tablet. It works well using your finger or the Surface Pen and has a radial button to quickly select features, such as copy/paste, tables, drawing, tagging, and the camera – camera is exclusive to this version of OneNote and not available on the desktop version. It lets you take pictures with your device’s camera and add them to your notes. What’s even better is that by using the optical character recognition built into the app, you can search for any text in the images.

In the Surface Pro 3’s OneNote, you can also find your notes quickly and easily as they appear at the top. If you use multiple Notebooks, you can find all your recent notes and the recent previews without having to open the individual pages. This is a very nice time-saving feature.

This version also integrates with the Windows 8.1 Share Charm, so for example you can share something from Bing Travel or your favorite Bing recipe right to your OneNote.

You will not be able to cut and paste in the traditional way, by right-clicking, with the touch version. To do so, you will need to either use the radial button or use your keyboard shortcuts (CLTR+C / CLTR+V). The good news is that most of the keyboard shortcuts still work.

OneNote for Surface Pro 3 Users: See your Notebooks

To see the list of your Notebooks in OneNote, do the following:

  • Open OneNote
  • Tap on Recent Notes in the top left corner – a list of your Notebooks will appear on the far left, see picture below.

OneNote for Surface Pro 3 Users: Change quick notes location

  • Open OneNote
  • Slide from right to open Charms Menu
  • Tap Settings
  • Select Options
  • At the bottom of the list will see “Chose a notebook for quick notes

  • Click to see where your quick notes are being saved, you may change the location from here with the pull down menu.

OneNote for Surface Pro 3 Users: Delete quick notes

To delete a quick note do the following:

  • Open OneNote on your Surface Pro 3
  • Tap and hold the note you want to delete
  • Tap Delete Page at the bottom of the screen

OneNote for Surface Pro 3 - delete notes

OneNote for Surface Pro 3 Users: Delete entire Notebook

You cannot delete an entire Notebook from within the OneNote app. To do this, you must go to where your Notebooks are saved. By default on Surface Pro 3, that’s in your OneDirve under Documents\OneNote Notebooks.

Simply select and delete the Notebook you no longer want.

OneNote for Surface Pro 3 Users: Take a screenshot

Double-click the Surface Pen top button twice. You will see the screen dim for a second while the screenshot is being taken. Then OneNote will open automatically.

Press down Clip All button (shows at the top right) to paste your picture into a new note.

Note: if double-clicking the top button on Surface Pen does not take the screenshot, you may need to re-pair it, see my post on Surface Pen troubleshooting.

OneNote for Surface Pro 3 Users: Install OneNote 2013 on other devices

OneNote (desktop) application is free to install on any device. You can set it up to read the same Notebooks as your Surface Pro 3, so you will be able to view everything on multiple devices.  To download the desktop application go here:

OneNote for Surface Pro 3 Users: Surface Pro/Pro 2 Users

If you’re one of the folks (like Tim) who decided to not upgrade to a SP3 this information could still be useful to you. With the exception of the stuff about the pen starting OneNote, most of the rest of this article applies to OneNote on your Surface too.

So, that’s the basics on OneNote for Surface Pro 3 users. What cool things are you planning on using OneNote for? Please share with us.


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