A new OneNote Favorites Powertoy

Shu Chen, a tester working on OneNote, created an alternate Favorites addin for OneNote.  It works much like the IE favorites model.  You click the star icon with a green plus sign to add a page, section or notebook to the favorites list, and click the bare star to open the favorites list or navigate back to it.  Pretty simple!

The surprise I mentioned last week is an online video demo created by Matt over at www.gottabemobile.comI’ll follow up with the link to it as soon as we get it nailed down.

The video is now available at http://www.gottabemobile.com/GBM+InkShow+OneNote+Favorites+Powertoy.aspx 

Here’s the basic UI to add a page to the favorites list:


Page is the default choice, but you can choose the section or notebook as well.

Once added, it looks like this when you open the favorites list:


This view is still modeled after the OneNote notebook structure.  You can also click the “List view” button near the bottom right to make it a little more “table-ish”:


(updated) Download it below my signature below as an attachment to this article. here (http://johnguin.members.winisp.net/Shared%20Documents/ON_Favorites_Page.zip) and give it a try!

And if you want the source code, just email me using the link at the upper right.  I’ll add it back here or link to it once I figure out if 2 attachments per posting is possible (which it doesn’t seem to be).

Get the source code (C++) at http://johnguin.members.winisp.net/Shared%20Documents/ON_Favorites_Page_Source.zip 

Questions, comments, concerns and criticisms always welcome,



Comments (37)

  1. I just tried it out and its awesome 🙂 … Just one thing though, if the powertoy didn’t close on it’s own, it would be even better. While reviewing notes I go back and forth a lot and relaunching it every time is a little irritating. I know it’s a favorites powertoy, and technically not meant for a lot of navigation but it has a really nice interface and I prefer it over the existing navigation structure.

  2. Daniel ION says:

    Shu Chen, great job on this one.

    I believe it’s only natural to see a more robust form of Favorites Management for the next OneNote version, right?

    What I miss now are keyboard shortcuts:

    – 1 keyb. shortcut to call the Favorites Center without touching the mouse

    – the option to set for each favorite a shorcut; I can see it’s possible now by using the properties on the shortcut, but I also want to be able to look at the list of shorctus, next to the favorites, or else I will forget the keys.

    Thanks and keep up the good work.

    I’m a fan of OneNote.

  3. Jeremy Horn says:

    Very nice plugin.  Is it possible to display the bookmarks within a toolbar?  Like the favorites toolbar in safari/firefox?

    Jeremy Horn

    The Product Guy


  4. Feralboy says:

    Shu Chen — just watched the Ink Show on Gottabemobile.com…excellent work. About to download it now and give it a spin. Thanks.

  5. shuchen.net@hotmail.com says:

    Glad to know you guys like it.

    To Anirudh, I was planning to make the favorites center window as top most in the next version.

    To Daniel, OneNote 2007 add-in framework doesn’t support shortcuts but I will see what I can do by system hotkeys. As for the shortcuts in the favorites center window, the alternative solution could be: open the favorites center, press down key, and type the favorite’s name, then the favorite will be selected.

    To Jeremy, OneNote 2007 add-in framework doesn’t support display anything(including menu or other windows) in its toolbar.

  6. shuchen.net@hotmail.com says:

    Glad to know you guys like it.

    To Anirudh, I was planning to make the favorites center window as top most in the next version.

    To Daniel, OneNote 2007 add-in framework doesn’t support shortcuts but I will see what I can do by system hotkeys. As for the shortcuts in the favorites center window, the alternative solution could be: open the favorites center, press down key, and type the favorite’s name, then the favorite will be selected.

    To Jeremy, OneNote 2007 add-in framework doesn’t support display anything(including menu or other windows) in its toolbar.

    – Shu

  7. jack kyle says:

    too bad I can’t have it in any toolbar of the full page view mode 🙁

  8. Seth says:

    Funny, I already had a "OneNote" favorites folder in IE.  So when I pulled this up the first time it listed out my existing OneNote Web links.  I thought it was a strage coincidence, until I figured out it was just recylcing the favorites folder name I had already been using.  

    Nice addition.  

  9. shuchen.net@hotmail.com says:

    To Seth, the addin was designed to use OneNote folder in IE favorites as its storage. So in the OneNote Favorites Center you can access the IE favorites which would be shown as the type of Page and listed under Wild Favorites in the TreeView.

  10. Jeremy Horn says:

    I guess we need to bug Micrososft to add some display capabilities. 😉

    This feature has been on the top of my MOST WANTED list for a long time.  I used to use the agilix product for my note-taking.  I keep hoping that someday their tab concept finds its way into onenote.

    This is the best onenote powertoy I have seen, to date.  Keep up the good work — and we all should be petitioning the OneNote team for a more powerful API.

    Jeremy Horn

    The Product Guy


  11. Michael Trebing says:

    Wonderful addition!

    I found it also can work with Firefox, if you are using the PlainOldFavorites Addon (since the ON Favorites Powertoy bookmarks are also pushed to the IE Favorites).


  12. JohnGuin says:

    Jeremy, what specifically do you mean by "display capabilities?"  Do you mean to the toolbar addin display capability, or something more general?

    And Michael T, thanks for the Firefox tip!

  13. a defeated Julie says:

    I am having real difficulty loading this plug-in into OneNote.

    I have booted under "Administrator" and installed the plug-in. When I installed it, I checked the box that it be made available to all users.

    When I run OneNote under the administrator, I see the plug-in. And I also see in the options section that the plug-in was installed.

    When I open windows Vista as a user, and run OneNote, the plug-in toolbar buttons are not installed. And it is not mentioned in the options section that lists all of the plug-ins — which incidentally are none. (I have the merge pages plug-in that seems to have the same problem.)

    I have even tried additionally to install the add-in as a user, and I get a message that the program has successfully installed — but again, there are no toolbar buttons available and the plug-in is not listed in the options section.

    What have I done wrong? It’s really tough feeling stupid 🙁 I hate getting defeated by technology.

  14. shuchen.net@hotmail.com says:

    Sorry I didn’t do much test for installation.

    Please have a try to uninstall the add-in first and install it under the user instead of Administrator. You can right click the msi file and select "Run as Administrator".

    I will fix it in the next version, which is coming soon.

  15. alceste says:

    excellent work – thanks!

    a minuscule suggestion: why segregate the different types (section, page) in the display, I’d prefer a single display that branches off more for pages, less for sections, even less for notebooks. I believe this is the view that I would be using the most.

  16. shuchen.net@hotmail.com says:

    Alceste, I believe you would like the list view which is a single display of all the favorites. But if display all the favorites in a single display in the tree view, there would be some design challenges when you add the section and the page under the section as your favorites. (and if you change the title of the section, which title should be displayed in the tree view? and what if you close the notebook and reopen it and save the page as favorite and overwrite the existing favorite? and if you can click all the tree node in the tree view to do the navigation (page/section/notebook levels), there would be no way to expand/collapse a single tree node. What do you expect on this?)

  17. shuchen.net@hotmail.com says:

    "there would be no way to expand/collapse a single tree node", I meant there would be no way to expand/collapse a single tree node *by mouse*.

  18. Brian says:

    Excellent Powertoy!! One question…after I have added favorites my tablet "beeps" each time I choose the favorites I’ve added to the list. My Vista sound scheme is set to "No Sounds." Is there a setting in OneNote I have to change or something else obvious that I’m missing? Thanks.

  19. I was just thinking today, what I’d love would be a word wheel search for navigating to a folder in OneNote – a keystroke combination (I know! I hope this gets fixed in 14) for a dialog or even a GoTO box in the toolbar and as you type a couple of characters it word wheel filters down to matching folders and finally hihglights the one matching folder and you hit Enter to jump to it. SpeedFiler has this option for Outlook and it’s amazingly useful (www.claritude.com).

  20. JohnGuin says:

    Good idea, Mary – I’ll pass it on to the design team.

    Thanks for using OneNote!


  21. John says:

    Like Julie, I am having problems installing the OneNotes Favorites Powertoy.  The account from which I use OneNote does not have administrative privs.  When I try to install the powertoy, I get a UAC dialog.  When I give the UAC dialog an administrative account and its password, the powertoy does not get installed for my account (even if I choose the install for "everybody" option instead of "just me").

    I’d love it if the next version’s install works for folks who are trying to use Vista properly – i.e. from an account without Administrative privs.

  22. JohnGuin says:

    I couldn’t agree more.  This (how to build setup programs in Visual Studio) is being looked at – we need to hammer out these frustrating setup problems.


  23. Mark R says:

    Great, practical tool! thank you. I’m not sure I understood all the preceding comments… I use one note with ink on a tablet PC a lot! It would be very handy to have the Favorites Center available in full screen mode. Then I can easily jump around in my Favorite notebooks using The Favorite center. Now, I have to switch out of full screen mode, navigate to the page & then go back to full Screen.

  24. shuchen.net@hotmail.com says:

    The new version support shortcut keys.


    But if you only use pen without keyboard, unfortunetely there would be no way to access the OneNote Favorites Center in the full screen mode.

  25. Love this add-on… We have alot of shared notebooks in our school so this will come in handy for teachers and students.

    One feature I would suggest is the ability to organize favourites into folders like you can do in IE.  Currently, if you try to put your OneNote favourites into subfolders, they just disappear from the OneNote Favourites Center altogether.

  26. Richard says:

    I’ve had OneNote for a while but have only just started using it properly!  One of the problems I ran into was that two or three notebooks has turned into nearly twenty, with lots of sections and literally hundreds of pages, and quickly finding key pages or sections I use every day was becoming laborious. At a stroke, you have solved my problem! The fact that the Favorites also appear in IE is the icing on the cake.  I regularly check bank details online so I have put my entire OneNote Favorites folder into my Links so I just have to click on it to find my passwords really fast. It makes going quickly from browsing the web to key areas of OneNote, then back to the web, smooth and seamless. Brilliant!

  27. Richard says:

    I spoke too soon. Actually MOVING the OneNote Folder from its position in IE Favorites into Links stops it working properly because the program seems to lose track of its path. If you go to OneNote itself and go to Favorites it tells you that it is empty.

    I have now (temporarily I hope) taken it out of Links and back where it wants to be and it likes that.  I would love to have my OneNotes Favorites folder on my IE toolbar. Must be solvable – can you help!

  28. Shu Chen says:

    Thanks for the feedbacks, Richard.

    You’ve actually made a good point to improve the usability of OneNote Favorites AddIn.

    I agree on that putting "OneNote" folder under %OneNote%FavoritesLinks makes more sense than under %OneNote%Favorites.

    To considering compatibility, I would make the add-in to search the both two paths.

  29. The end of the year means it is time to recap the powertoys the test team created during 2008. While

  30. Margaretha says:

    How do I get it to work?

    Sounds like a great tool, butI have no "favorites" on either the menu bar or standard toolbar in onenote 2007 and it is driving me to distraction!

    I have tried to add "favorites" to menubar or toolbar, but I cannot add the command………….

  31. Margaretha says:

    Just in case you want to reply, if not, i will search on a bit longer.



  32. JohnGuin says:

    Hi Margaretha,

    There is no label named "Favorites" with this addin.  Instead, you get the same two buttons IE 7 has for favorites: a yellow star to show you the list, and a yellow star with a + sign to let you add to the list.

    Are you using OneNote 2007?  And if so, there are directions for installing a needed component at http://blogs.msdn.com/johnguin/archive/2008/03/17/the-3-biggest-pain-points-we-are-investigating.aspx for getting addins to work.

    Let me know if this helps,


  33. Love it, thank you so much.  I teach so many classes and when students call I need to be right there in sections.  This helps wonderfully.  Thank you for your creativeness!!!

  34. Tom Hughes says:

    Just installed this add-in on a Windows/XP professional SP3 PC running OneNote2007.

    The add-in works however when I click on a favourite, the add-in gets a nasty error and asks me if I want the error report sent to Microsoft.  Despite this crash, the does open up the correct notebook/page etc.

    Is there some obvious thing I have missed?  I checked that .NET supportability is turned on

  35. John says:

    What is the error?  And you do get it each time, or only the one time?


  36. Tom Hughes says:

    There are no errors when adding a link.

    If a favourite is selected within OneNote then it works but it also gets an error everytime:

    AppName: onaddinfavcenter.exe AppVer: ModName: onaddinfavcenter.exe

    ModVer: Offset: 00003080

    If I do the same thing using favourites from within IE then it works a number of times without a problem then it starts to crash and causes OneNote to restart:

    AppName: onenote.exe      AppVer: 12.0.6415.1000     AppStamp:492b2527

    ModName: unknown      ModVer:      ModStamp:00000000

    fDebug: 0       Offset: 00000000

  37. David Levin says:

    Wow! Excellent idea. OneNote is a powerful tool but it’s missing some really key features. A Favorites button should really help increase productivity.