A new powertoy (nee test tool) used to find OneNote pages with embedded files

    1. FDO stands for "File Data Object." This probably only means anything to us, but I wanted to point it out to be complete.
    2. If you click the FDO button and it turns gray and gets disabled, check this out to ensure you have the .NET programmability support for OneNote installed.
    3. It's not fast, and if you have a large-ish section (30 pages or more), it may take a minute or more to finish.
    4. You can get the source code here. by emailing me. (9-24-2010)

Every so often I'll get a question from someone who has a need to find pages that have embedded files in them. The reasons vary, but when you need that information, it is hard to get with OneNote 2007. The same question was facing me last week as we were testing notebooks on SharePoint, and I was thinking of creating a tool to identify those pages. I remembered someone posting the same question to the newsgroup many months ago, and figured if anyone else wanted this, I would give it away. Lo and behold, as I was in the process of adapting Nani's Table of Contents powertoy to my needs, I got an email forwarded to me from someone who wanted the same functionality. And finally, about a year and a half ago, Kathy Jacobs, a OneNote MVP, asked if we ever used our powertoys to test with, and this is a great example of a tool we use for testing turned into a powertoy. Talk about getting a lot of bang for the buck.

Before I describe how this works, I want to point out this is an internal tool which I hope you find useful. It has a bare bones UI, and I did not try to optimize much to make it optimized for speed. It's a tool that solves one specific problem and is aimed at people that need that particular bit of functionality.

To install it, click the download link below. Unzip the file and run setup.exe. Then when you start OneNote, you will notice a button named "FDO" in the toolbar, like this:


(You'll notice two other addins installed here. Can you identify them?)

When you press the FDO button, the addin will look through all the pages in the current section - whatever section you are viewing - and identify the pages with embedded files or images. Since this is a test tool designed for our testing purposes, I needed to know which pages had those two specific types of information on them. When it gets done checking, it creates a table on a new page at the beginning of the section with links to the pages with the files I looked for:


This is from my Unfiled Notes section. I have one page with 2 images on it (one is a screen clipping and the second is one I pasted there) and another page with one inserted file. Again, for testing purposes, I log a count of how many of each file type I have. The links in the left hand column will take you directly to the page.

If the table looks familiar, I re-purposed Nani's Table of Contents powertoy to create the table and the new page. It worked very well and provided a nice solution of how to display the results of the search. The code will also group the Image pages first in the table.

Some miscellaneous notes:

Let me know what you think!

Questions, comments, concerns and criticisms always welcome,



Comments (10)

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

  2. kartal says:


    I installed and I do not see the new icons. My onenote is not installed in default place. How can I install this plugin?


  3. John says:

    There are no icons – there should only be a button named "FDO" showing.

    If you are not getting that button, check the directions here to see if you have all the needed OneNote support installed:  http://blogs.msdn.com/johnguin/archive/2008/03/17/the-3-biggest-pain-points-we-are-investigating.aspx


  4. Daniel says:

    will OneNote14 handle inserted files better?

  5. JohnGuin says:

    Not to be smart alecky, but what do you mean by "better?"  There are many different ways I could interpret that and I don’t want to speculate or put words in your mouth.


  6. Daniel says:

    For instance, being able to search for files in a side pane, just like for tags.

    Show me files: on this page/section/notebook… etc.

    Another one: being able to view the whole file name (not truncated) and be able to rename the file inside OneNote.

    Thanks for the answer.

    I hope OneNote 14 will exceed my expectations, just like 2007 did.

    Unfortuntely, I feel that Microsoft doesn’t listen to (real) customer enough.

    At least a features list that people could vote on. But I’m sure you guys know better.

    OneNote FTW !

  7. JohnGuin says:

    Hi Daniel,

    I hope OneNote 14 will be much better too 🙂

    We have a voting mechanism at http://connect.microsoft.com in which people can suggest and vote on features.  Be sure to check it out.


  8. Daniel says:

    Okay, I’ve registered.

    I follow your blogs (OneNote guys) and never heard of it.

    I have big hopes for next version. I’ve seen the screenshot of version 14 and I’ve noticed styles and searching tags. That’s good.

    Can you please let us know if there will be some improvements with ON Mobile?

    Like tag syncing and choosing what pages to sync (not making a separate notebook)?

    Thanks and keep up the good work.

    OneNote is the best software ever for me.

    Like someone said, I feel naked without it.

  9. Jeremy says:

    Hi John,

    Thank you for this tool. Would you be able to modify this tool or make a similar one to search embedded objects in an entire Notebook? I know it may seem silly, but this is how I would use it. I use a OneNote Bible (ESV & NKJV) from http://www.tabletbible.com and sometimes embed sermons or objects related to a chapter or verse. I would like to be able to search the entire ON Bible for EO’s. Thx.

  10. John says:

    Hello Jeremy,

    I tried this on a per notebook level and it was s-l-o-w: around the order of 15 minutes for a notebook that really was not large at all.  With any reasonable data, I could see this taking an hour or more to run – the algorithm is not very elegant.

    If at all possible, I’d suggest keeping it on a per section basis.  If this doesn’t meet your needs, let me know.  And feel free to contact me via email.

    Thanks for using OneNote,


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