A tip for working with outlines in OneNote

I was digging through OneNote this week looking to increase test coverage for OneNote automation when I found this neat functionality. It made me remember my fifth grade science teacher Mrs. Jones, who loved outlines – she taught me more about outlines than anyone I have met since. She believed in lining up all your data in outline form to make study that much easier.

Suppose you have an outline something like this:


In this outline, my main topic is "Animals." My two topics below that are Capybara and Chihuahua, and each of those elements have sub topics.

Now imagine this outline went on for 20 topics or more. If you need to study for a test, you may want to focus only on certain topics within the outline. You may want to focus only on the list of animals (the topic level of this outline, or "1" and "2"), or the characteristics of the animals (the sub-topics, "a" and "b"). Here’s the tip – you can extract only that level from the outline! Here’s how:

  1. Put your cursor at the start of the level you want to extract. I’ll put mine to the left of Chihuahua.
  2. Right click and notice the "Select" command on the context menu
  3. Select that flyout menu
    1. From here, you can select "all at same level" to select all the elements at that same level within the page
    2. alternately, you can select "All at level 2" to get all those elements at that level

Here’s what it looks like:


Level 1 in this outline is the heading "Animals" so level 2 is "Capybara/Chihuahua". Level 3 is as far as this outline goes.

Then when you are done, you have those elements selected:


Copy and paste gives this:


Pretty slick, right? Makes me want to go back to science class (or at least make me wish I had OneNote back then)!

Questions, comments, concerns and criticisms always welcome,


Comments (6)

  1. Jan Roelof says:

    Capybaras have heavy, barrel-shaped bodies and short heads with reddish-brown fur on the upper part of their body that turns yellowish-brown underneath. Adult capybaras may grow to 130 centimetres (4.3 ft) in length, and weigh up to 65 kg (140 lb).[11][12][13] The top recorded weight is 105.4 kg (232 lbs).[14] Capybaras have slightly webbed feet, no tail and 20 teeth.[15] Their back legs are slightly longer than their front legs and their muzzles are blunt with eyes, nostrils, and ears on top of their head. Females are slightly heavier than males. Females average 36 to 66 kg (80 to 145 pounds), while males typically weigh about 34 to 61 kilograms (75 to 135 pounds).

  2. Tan says:


  3. JohnGuin says:

    I'm not a fan of tiny little dogs… :-

  4. That is COOL! I use ON for outlining all the time, and I'd never known this – thanks!

    Also, Jacksonville Zoo has a capybara; it's trippy: since it looks like a giant hamster or something, your brain keeps trying to convince you that the creature isn't actually as big as it is! Really weird.

  5. JohnGuin says:

    Yeah, capybaras are incredible.  I've even seen them riding in cars!