Keyboard shortcuts for fast access to favorite OneNote pages

If you're like me you probably have a few OneNote pages or sections that you use frequently. For example, a to do list, daily log, team notebook homepage, or project status page.

I like to have instant access to those things with a simple keyboard shortcut, whether OneNote is currently open or not. It really improves my workflow. I do that by creating windows shortcuts directly to those pages as follows:

  1. In OneNote right click on the page tab, or section tab that you want the shortcut to go to.
  2. Choose "Copy Hyperlink to Page" or "Copy Hyperlink to Section"
  3. Go to your windows desktop (Win-D will take you straight there) and right click on the desktop. Choose "New" -> "Shortcut".
  4. In the location box, press Ctrl-V to paste the OneNote hyperlink.
  5. Click next. Then give the shortcut a name. For example "ToDo List".
  6. Click Finish. You now have a shortcut on the desktop. You can move it anywhere you want, like mydocs.
  7. Now right click on the shortcut icon and choose "Properties"
  8. You will see a "shortcut key" textbox. Click in there, and then press the key combination you want for the direct keyboard shortcut. For example: Ctrl-Alt-T is what I use for my to do list. The shortcut key needs to be Ctrl-Alt-, Ctrl-Shift-, or Alt-Shift-. Try to avoid any known keybaord shortcuts you might use in apps.

Voila. You now have a direct keyboard shortcut to that page or section in OneNote. Close OneNote and try it out. Just press the keyboard combination and OneNote should open up to that page, no matter what app you're in. It's even useful while you're actually in OneNote but on another page.

Vista bonus

If you're using Vista, there's a nice bonus feature here. You can hit the Windows key on your keyboard. This will pop the start menu and you'll have your cursor in the search box. Type the first few letters in the name of your shortcut. For example: "ToDo". Vista should instantly search (assuming it's already indexed) and your shortcut should pop right to the top. When it's selected, hit enter and it will immediately launch OneNote straight to that page. I find this handy if I have a lot of page shortcuts and it's hard to remember keyboard combinations for all of them. I can just hit the windows key, type a couple of characters, then hit enter.

You could even have a naming convention for your OneNote shortcuts, such as "ONZ1 ToDo List" and "ONZ2 Project Status" etc. If they all started with ONZ, then you could just hit the Windows key and type in "ONZ" and then Vista search would instantly show all the shortcuts with that in it. You could see the list and then just hit the number to narrow to the particular shortcut, or just arrow key through them and pick one.

Of course, if you don't have Vista but have some other desktop search tool that could work too.

Comments (8)

  1. I am happy to see that another of my coworkers is blogging: David Rasmussen has a blog.  He has been…

  2. Thanks for this recipe. It’s really useful.

    There is a drawback, however:

    The link always produces a msgbox asking for what shall be opended. And then a section is opened for a second although the notebook was already open on ON.

    Would there not be a way to open the section directly when the notebook is already open?


  3. DavidRas says:


    I’m not sure exactly what you’re describing. I haven’t seen this. What kind of msgbox do you see? Can you tell me the exact text?

    This method should definitely work to open a section directly even if the notebook is already open. I do it all the time.

  4. MikeGsNuts says:

    You probablly know this already, but if you don’t care about specific pages and only want to have quick access to OneNote, you can do the following:  (Your way always starts my browser 1st)

    1. Click Start, and then point to All Programs.

    2. Point to Microsoft Office, right-click Microsoft Office OneNote version, and then click Properties.

    3. On the Shortcut tab, click in the Shortcut key box.

    4. Type the shortcut key combination that you want to use to start OneNote. The key assignment appears in the Shortcut key box.

    5. Click OK to close the Microsoft Office OneNote version Properties dialog box.

  5. ToddA says:

    Using Vista Ultimate, I don’t see the shortcut key text box under properties in my newly created shortcut…

  6. Shane says:

    To add an update to this. If your notebooks are stored on SkyDrive (OneDrive) you need to paste the link into a text editor and you will see two links. To open the OneNote page as opposed to a web browser you need to use the second link that starts with "onenote:" as your shortcut.

    This post explains it further…/creating-a-link-to-a-onenote-page-on-the-desktop.aspx

  7. Skampp says:

    An update to the update:

    I'm working in OneNote 2013.  If you make a wiki link to a page using the [[brackets]] then you can right-click that link and copy it, using it for the desktop shortcut.

    Thanks for a great post even years after the fact!

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