Tips and tricks for the OneNote Windows Store App

This post is written by Omeed Chandra, a Program Manager on the OneNote team.


If you’re new to Windows 8, you probably noticed that the OneNote app looks and feels very different from other versions of OneNote. How do you search? What happened to the menus? The new Windows is designed to avoid distracting you with commands you don’t need, but all that change can be a little intimidating at first. Fear not! In this blog post, we’ll teach you how to use the OneNote app from the Windows Store. These tips and tricks can be applied to most other Windows Store apps as well. If you don’t have OneNote yet, download it now and follow along–it’s free!

Where did the menus and toolbars go?

Instead of traditional menus and toolbars, the OneNote Windows Store app uses something called the app bar, which appears when you right-click with your mouse or swipe your finger in from the top or bottom edge of your screen. For example, in OneNote, you’ll see this:

The app bar is contextual, meaning you’ll see different commands depending on how you open it. For instance, if you right-click or cross-swipe (more on that later) on a page in OneNote’s navigation pane, you’ll see commands specific to the page, like deleting it or pinning it to your Start menu. Different commands appear if you swipe in your finger from the top or bottom of your screen.

OneNote supplements the app bar with a unique feature called the radial menu, which you won’t find in most other Windows Store apps. Try this: Type some text in OneNote, select it, and press the circular button with an A in the middle. You should see a menu that looks like this:

In this context, the radial menu provides options that apply to the text you’ve selected, like changing the font or copying and pasting. Press the purple buttons along the outer edges of the menu, and you’ll see even more choices. Just like the app bar, the radial menu is contextual and shows different commands depending on how you open it–for example, try opening the radial menu without selecting any text and notice the difference.

Charming ways to search, share, and more

In the past, different apps each had their own way of doing things; just because you knew how to search in Microsoft Word didn’t mean you knew how to search in Firefox. The new Windows addresses this problem via the charms bar, which provides a single, consistent way to access common features like search, sharing, and settings in every Windows Store app. To open the charms bar, move your mouse to the bottom-right corner of your screen, or if you have a touchscreen, just swipe your finger in from the right-hand side of the screen.


Play around with the charms bar and check out all the stuff you can do! For example, the Search button searches within the app you currently have open. Meanwhile, the Share button shares information to another app; for instance, in OneNote, you can use Share to email your notes to a friend. In apps that support printing, you’ll find that feature under the Devices button. (Sorry, the OneNote Windows Store app doesn’t support printing yet, but rest assured that we’ve heard your feedback requesting it.)

Cross-swipe instead of right-clicking

As we mentioned earlier, right-clicking on something with your mouse brings up the app bar with contextual commands. But how do you bring up the contextual app bar using touch? Simple: Use the cross-swipe gesture. In OneNote, swipe from left to right across the name of a notebook, section, or page in the navigation view. This will open the app bar and show features related to the item you cross-swiped. Many other Windows Store apps use cross-swipe as well, so this is a really useful gesture!


The new OneNote Windows Store App has been boldly reinvented for modern computing and includes many important modernizations. However, there’s no denying that it’s quite different from previous versions, and we know change can be a little scary. We hope this blog post makes your transition a little easier and helps you make the most of OneNote and all the other Windows Store apps!