Navigation in OneNote 2013
This post was authored by Olya Veselova, Senior PM Lead on OneNote
Organizing and finding content is an important part of your note taking experience, and we've spent a lot of time this release thinking about how to improve navigation in OneNote 2013. We've also been working on making OneNote better for touch based devices, which have an entirely different set of constraints. It's also important for the UI to scale well for casual and power users - we wanted to make it easy to get around your content whether you have a single notebook or dozens of them.
As David touched upon in his earlier post, we now have two modes in OneNote:
- Normal View, an updated version of the layout from 2010 designed for mouse and keyboard use
- Full Page View, a completely new style of navigation designed specifically for touch
Normal View is an updated version of the OneNote layout you've always known - pages are on the right side, sections are on top and a list of notebooks on the left.
In OneNote 2010 the notebooks were shown collapsed in a bar along the left side of the screen , and we realized that there were some shortcomings to that approach: sideways text was harder to read, and the visual layout didn't make the relationship between notebooks and sections entirely clear. It also wasn't very obvious which notebook was current and the UI didn't scale very well when you had many notebooks.
The dropdown in Normal View will be the default view for most mouse and keyboard users, and the name of the current notebook is displayed prominently next to your sections, so you're never in doubt about which notebook you're in. To navigate to another notebook, you click on the notebook name which brings up the dropdown. The layout also scales well - if you add several notebooks, the icons will be shrunk so that you'll almost never have to scroll.
If you have only one notebook, we don't take up the extra space on the side of your screen - this view is good to use if you spend a good amount of time in each of your notebooks, rather than constantly switching between notebooks. It is also best suited for notebooks of medium size - without section groups or too many sections - such that your most used sections can fit across the top.
Now, if you're more the power user type and you like to switch between your notebooks frequently, fret not - we've updated the old Notebook pane view from OneNote 2010. You can get to this view by clicking on the pin button in the notebook dropdown (pictured below)
When you turn on the notebook pane, we display a list of all your open notebooks and highlight the notebook you're looking at. The pane takes up less space, and wraps your notebook names if they are too long. This view is great for large notebooks with many section groups and sections.
If you have several sections in your notebook, the bar on top can get filled quite easily and then you have to click twice to get to your section. To make this simpler, the notebook pane also displays a vertical list of sections so that you can get anywhere with a single click.
Full Page View
Full Page View is our minimalist, touch friendly mode that you can get to by clicking on the button in the top right corner of any page. Full page view gets rid of both the ribbon and our navigational chrome, and keeps you content in focus.
As you can see the layout is very clean, keeping your content front and center while removing all but the most necessary UI elements. The extra whitespace is really useful for working with wide tables or taking notes next to inserted documents. It's great for a tablet when you're writing with a stylus, and you won't accidentally go to a different page when your rest your palms on the screen. In fact, if you rotate your tablet to portrait mode, OneNote goes into Full Page View to provide a better experience.
In this mode, you tap the notebook name in the top right corner to bring down your notebook dropdown. If you're using a slate, this button will be within easy reach of your thumb so that you can jump between pages easily.
To make our navigation more touch friendly, we brought notebooks, sections and pages into a single 3 column layout. You can tap on a notebook, section or page to preview it instantly in the background and then tap on the page to dismiss the dropdown. You can also double click or tap or navigate instantly to a particular page,
You can right click any item in here for context menus and drag and drop to reorganize. There's also a shortcut to the search box, and if you're using a mouse, you can take advantage of our new floating page button to insert a new page exactly where you want it:
Editing Notes in Full Page View
You probably also noticed that the ribbon is hidden by default in full page view in addition to our navigation. Users can still edit and interact with content through the context menus, which can be brought up by :
- Right clicking with a mouse
- Selecting and tapping with touch
The layout changes depending on whether you're using touch (pictured above) or a mouse and keyboard. Of course, You can always bring back the ribbon temporary by clicking the '…' bar at the top of the screen or you can pin the ribbon to have it always appear.
If you have feedback on any of the changes we've made to navigation in OneNote 2013, please let us know in the comments below.
Senior PM Lead, OneNote