Run Effective Meetings with OneNote

Work Smart by Microsoft IT

Quick Reference Guide


DownloadQuick Reference Guide, 227 KB, Microsoft Word file

Another meeting! If you are overbooked, and want your meetings to be more productive and effective, consider inviting Microsoft OneNote. Use a OneNote notebook, which attendees can access on their mobile devices, to keep track of agendas, action items, and other important meeting information.

Let Work Smart show how you can plan and run efficient, effective meetings, ensure that attendees can access meeting information, and keep everyone on the same page. This guide is part of a series, which introduces the many benefits that OneNote offers with respect to successful collaboration. Be sure to download our easy template to get started quickly.

Advantages of OneNote

OneNote enables you to create, share, and use content in a cloud-based, digital file, known as a notebook. It is the digital equivalent of saving paper files in a binder. Your meeting attendees can access the notebook from most mobile devices, provided they have an Internet connection.

OneNote provides several benefits with respect to running efficient meetings, including that you can:

  • Create and store information in the cloud.

  • Add agenda items, and insert related content on the fly.

  • Use templates that Microsoft provides, for a consistent look and feel, or you can create your own templates.

  • Automatically synchronizes files so that attendees have the most current details, with no version-control issues.

  • Reduce the number of emails that you send and the files that you have to track, because you can write notes, draw diagrams, and embed audio, video, and picture files.

  • Search for information easily by using keywords or tags.

Get started

OneNote makes it easy to digitally create and store, share, and find content from one central notebook.

Creating a notebook

You can add a section to your notebook for each meeting, and then create pages for agendas, meeting notes, and for action items. Additionally, when creating a notebook, you can:

  • Create and store your digital notebook in the cloud, on OneDrive for Business, or in a Microsoft SharePoint Online team site. This enables your recipients to access it from most devices.

  • Update content or change sections and pages easily. OneNote synchronizes changes automatically so that recipients are accessing the most current information when they open the notebook. For example, add a meeting agenda to a notebook, and then team members can add agenda items. OneNote will track the additions by notating the team members’ initials.

  • Consider using an agenda template for recurring meetings. Create page templates with the formatting that you desire. That way, each time that you insert a new page into the notebook, OneNote uses the template’s format.

  • Use the Meeting Notes feature in Outlook to send invitations to meeting attendees that include links to the OneNote notebook’s agenda page. This enables meeting attendees to see who is in the meeting, enter their own notes, and embed meeting notes in a link to share important information.

  • Use the tag feature to mark action items so that they are easy to find after a meeting. As you take notes in OneNote, select text, and then add tags from a scrolling list in the Tags menu.

  • Search quickly for meeting notes and action items by using OneNote search functionality. OneNote will search all open notebooks for your text or tags.

  • Import the contents of other Microsoft Office files into your notebook, such as Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint files. This provides critical documents to users seamlessly, without requiring large file attachments to emails or for your recipients to jump between programs.

Sharing a notebook

Use the OneNote file-share functionality to distribute your notebook to meeting attendees via an email link. Recipients click the link to access the meeting files from their mobile devices. Add the link to meeting invites so participants do not have to hunt for it in their emails. To distribute your meeting notebook:

  1. Open the SharePoint Online or OneDrive site on which you are storing your notebook.

  2. Click the ellipses (…) next to the OneNote notebook, and then click Share.

  3. In the Invite people field, enter your recipients’ email addresses, and then specify whether they can edit or view (read-only access) the notebook. Additionally, enter the text that you want the body of your email message to include, and then click Share.

NOTE: If you store your notebook in a SharePoint Online site, you must ensure that the attendees have access to the site.
To find Work Smart guides for SharePoint Online, visit

Best practices

  • Test notebooks before you roll them out. Do not assume that everyone can access the notebooks on every device. Perform basic user-acceptance testing with two or three people who use different mobile devices.

  • Determine whether your team needs OneNote training before implementation. If so, consider hosting a brown-bag lunch. Create a PowerPoint presentation that details OneNote basics.

For more information

Download the OneNote for Meetings template here.

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