OneNote Power Toys

Chris Pratley recently mentioned various ideas for OneNote Power Toys.  Personally, I'd really like to see:

  • A Journal Importer that cracks open journal files, creates a new page (in a user specified section) in the OneNote Notebook, and then imports all of the ink content from the journal file into the newly created page.

  • A generic Print to OneNote driver that appears in every sense to be a regular system printer but converts the “printed“ input into an image that is subsequently imported -- perhaps as a background image -- in the user's notebook.

It's unfortunate that the hardest part about all of the Power Toys I've heard mentioned isn't the actual import of the final content into OneNote -- it's generally interfacing with the external application: Outlook, Internet Explorer, or Windows for the Print Driver, etc. 

Nonetheless, we've been working on ways to make it easier to use and develop OneNote power toys.  David on our PM team has been working recently on a single page of add-in's that will be available off of the Office site that will provide links to all the various power toys that you can install with the SP.  (For example, I suspect you'll be seeing Omar's excellent Outlook2OneNote add-there.  🙂  And I've been working on a nicely abstracted managed interface to our COM components that feels more like an Object Model.  (It's not quite ready for release, but if you're anxious to try it out -- drop me an email, and I'll send you the source.)

It's great to see people thinking about OneNote PowerToys -- one of the best moments in the life of any developer is seeing people use your programs in ways you'd never have imagined.

Comments (16)
  1. Jim Robbins says:

    I’ve heard a lot of people say that OneNote needs its own printer driver, similar to the Journal printer driver. Instead of the OneNote team creating their own virtual printer, I’d like them to be able to use the existing Office 2003 Document Image Writer. This works like the Acrobat printer driver; anything "printed" is saved to a file. The resulting file can be manipulated, and all the original text is still available for searching, copying, etc.

    What I would like is to have OneNote import a .MDI file into a page or sequence of pages. The user could then annotate on top of the imported page, search the imported text, etc. This would allow the flexibility of Journal or GoBinder while reusing the existing MDI technology.

  2. Daniel says:

    I am new to OneNOte and tablet computing in general. I am considering purchasing OneNote after usinf the SP Preview and Journal software for a couple of weeks now.

    I imediately saw the need for a stand alone OneNote print driver likended to Adobe’s and Journal’s offerings. I do not have Office and at the prive I’m not all that eager to purchase it. I need to be able to print to OneNote from any application. I noted your comments from April 27. Is there any new news on this front and where is the best info-discussion site for OneNotes and Tablet computing in your opinion?

    Thanks inadvance.

  3. Hi Daniel,

    Unfortunately, there is no new news that I can offer officially at this time. However, I wouldn’t change the channel either — good things come to those who wait. ;p

    Regarding, OneNote/Tablet discussion, I’d of course recommend the OneNote user group ( and I’ve found that a lot of people hang out at

    Hope this helps,



  4. ben says:


    i am german. 🙂 and i use onenote. its awesome.

    but: what about this mdi – document image. its lika acrobat from adobe. but tell me, what about the people who doesn’t have office 2003? how can they open a .mdi-file?

    is there any possibility to get a "reader"? thanks for your help!


  5. ben says:

    once again:

    i have my todo-list in outlook. is there any possibilty to import these list in onenote? dynamicly?

    thx for your help,


  6. Hi Ben,

    Offhand, I don’t believe that there is a reader for .mdi files; although I could be wrong. *mumble mumble, we suck, mumble mumble* 🙂

    OneNote won’t automatically import your Outlook tasks, but if you’re ultra-motivated, you could write a utility that would accomplish this using the new DataImport API in OneNote SP1 with Outlook’s ObjectModel. (Alternatively, you could ask <a href="">Omar</a&gt; to add the ability to import tasks to the "Send to OneNote from Outlook" power toy that was just released.)

    Hope this helps,


  7. ben says:

    thanx a lot. this helps,


  8. ben says:


    once again a question about this odi-driver:

    you can print to tiff and mdi, right? but: tiff is s/w. it isn’t in color. and mdi is in color. is there a possibility to save it as a tiff WITH colors?

    i found no position to change this in the properties of the ODI printer…

  9. Hi Ben,

    I’m just guessing here, but I don’t believe this is possible. ODI was primarily designed with Fax services in mind, hence why the TIFF image is saved as a monochrome.

    Sorry I couldn’t be of more assistance,


  10. David Funni says:

    In the top 5 tips for students it says to print directly into onenote but I can’t find out how to.  This is the most intuitive way to trasfer anything into onenote.  Its better than having a power toy do it.  However the power toy does work…

  11. My name is Donovan Lange.  I’m a Software Design Engineer on Microsoft Office OneNote.

    I do not agree. Go to

  12. My name is Donovan Lange.  I’m a Software Design Engineer on Microsoft Office OneNote.

    I do not agree. Go to

  13. Steve says:

    Here is a new OneNote addon that is very interesting:

    It is called Xiipy and acts as a "research assistant" and automatically reads through your notes and finds related resources (i.e. pictures and webpages).  Give it a try, I love using it for taking notes in History class.

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