Templates in OneNote

    Templates are relatively easy to use and create in OneNote. There are a wide variety of pre-defined template styles to choose from. There are 33 blank templates that define everything from specific page sizes to the page color.

    A6 Blue Mist
    A6 paper size Blue Mist

    There are 5 academic templates designed to help you get rolling quickly in your school classes. They’re pre-designed for classes such as Simple Lectures, Math/Science Classes or History Class.

    Simple Lecture Math/Science History Class
    Simple Lecture Math/Science Class History Class

    Then you have 67 decorative templates that contain everything from simple background pictures, such as Hearts or Boxes to complex and beautiful background images such as Bamboo, or Blue Clouds and much, much more.

    Hearts Bamboo Blue Clouds
    Hearts Bamboo Blue Clouds

    You also have 3 To Do List style templates which can help you begin a simple or prioritized to do list.

    Simple To Do List Prioritized To Do List
    Simple To Do List Prioritized To Do List

    And finally, 7 business templates to help you get started taking notes quickly in meetings, such as Project Overview or Formal Meeting Notes

    Project Overview Formal Meeting Notes
    Project Overview Formal Meeting Notes

    This makes a total of 115 pre-defined templates to choose from.

    To look at a sample of the available templates, simply click Format  -> Templates. Then expand the category you’re interested in and begin clicking through the templates you’d like to view. When you click on a template, OneNote will actually create a new page, then apply the template to it, unless you’re already starting with a new page.


    • There is no preview of templates. To see what a template looks like, follow the instructions in the paragraph above.
    • To set a template as the default for a given section, just navigate to the section, then right-click the template and select Set as Default for This Section.
    • To customize your own template, just set the page up exactly as you want your template to look, then click Save current page as a template at the bottom of the Templates task pane. You will then be prompted to enter a template name and specify whether you want the template to be used as a default template for the current section.
      • Your new customized template will appear in a new category called My Templates.
    • To delete a customized template, right-click the template -> Delete.
      • Only customized templates can be deleted.


    • Templates cannot be able to applied an existing page, unless it’s never had any content on it before.
    • Templates can only be applied to a single page at a time, i.e. they cannot be applied to an entire section or notebook.
    • A while ago I created a powertoy called OneNote Template Manager to circumvent the 2 points listed above. With it, you can apply a template to pages that you have already added notes to. In addition, you can create your own custom templates and apply them to any scope you specify, i.e. apply a template to a range of selected pages, or to an entire section or notebook, etc. However, the templates created with this powertoy are not able to be managed inside of OneNote, but rather inside the powertoy itself. Click here to give it a try.


Comments (9)

  1. TimP says:

    Template manager seems to have stopped working in OneNote 2010  – gives "section is read only" message when ever you try to apply a template. Shame, I really liked this add-on and used it a lot.

  2. Arr Livingston says:

    As usual a lot of information that is all fluff






  3. DavidDotNet says:

    Template Manager seems to be a gem of an Add-On from I've read in different blog posts.  Can you  either or both update Template Manager for OneNote 2010 and / or make the source code available for download so I can modify it, PLEASE?   As a last resort I may even convert my notebooks to 2007 version so I can try it out. Does anyone know whether this will work?

  4. Aaron Cohen says:

    1. RE: your statement, "To look at a sample of the available templates, simply click Format  -> Templates. Then expand the category you're interested in and begin clicking through the templates you'd like to view. . . ." — where is "Format" in OneNote 2010?

    2. I installed Template Manager, but only one template, "Sample Template" shows up in Templates window. How do I get all templates added?


  5. "Templates can only be applied to a single page at a time, i.e. they cannot be applied to an entire section or notebook. "

    This seems bogus. For some reason every time I open a page, I get the "school notebook" template by default, not the "blank page" template. How do I apply the "small grid" template to my entire notebook? I want that template applied everywhere by default, unless I have explicitly overriden it.

  6. Dave Steinberg Rosenthal says:

    I'm hoping to use OneNote templates to change the default outlining scheme. Wish me luck!

  7. Jim Petree says:

    Will there be a Template Manager for OneNote 2013

  8. Karri says:

    I create a OneNote page each week based for my team's weekly staff meeting.  I like to create the page from the Outlook invite so I link to attendees and the OneNote page reflects the title of the staff meeting and the date.  I have a standing agenda for this staff meeting in a OneNote template.  How can I create each week's OneNote page from Outlook that uses my standard template?  

  9. Karri says:

    You can disregard my question,  It worked by just saving the template and then creating a new page from Outlook.  Cool!

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