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Default template for Outlook items sent to OneNote

I sometimes use the “Send to OneNote” option in Outlook to archive instructional emails for future reference or to collect information for an upcoming meeting or task.

Is there a way to change the default layout of these OneNote items and to add some default text as well?

The “Send To OneNote” add-in for Outlook, which gets installed when you install OneNote on your computer, copies some default text and properties of the selected message which you cannot change.

However, you can change the default layout of the messages by selecting a different default template for the section that you send your Outlook items to. This template can also contain text, tables, tags, etc… to use as a default structure for your notes.

Create separate sections in OneNote

In OneNote, templates are assigned to a page when the page is being created and cannot be changed afterwards. Therefore, to make sure that a specific template is always being applied when you send an Outlook item to OneNote, you must change the default template for the section that it will be send to.

As you probably don’t want this to be the default template for other OneNote notes that you create, you’ll have to create a new section in OneNote. You can opt to create a separate section for each of the supported Outlook item types; E-mail, Meetings, Contacts and Tasks (only in OneNote 2010).

The tabs shown in a OneNote workbook are called "Sections".
The tabs shown in a OneNote workbook are called "Sections".

Set default section for each Outlook item type

Once you’ve created your section(s) for the Outlook items, you must configure OneNote to always use this section when using the Send to OneNote button for this specific item type. You can do this in the following way;

  • Outlook 2003
    Download and install the Send to OneNote from Outlook PowerToy.
    When using the OneNote icon in Outlook, you can select the section to copy the item to. Pressing the OneNote text button will display a list of recently used sections to choose from. The amount to display can be configured via the add-in’s Options… dialog.
  • OneNote 2007
    Tools-> Options…-> section: Outlook Integration
    The default is the Unfiled Notes section.
  • OneNote 2010
    File-> Options-> section: Send to OneNote
    The default is to prompt you for a section.

Select locations for notes sent to OneNote (Option dialog of OneNote 2010).
Select locations for notes sent to OneNote (Option dialog of OneNote 2010).

Change default template for a section

Now that the sections have been created, you can change the default template for a section in the following way;

  1. Select a section.
  2. Click on the down arrow next to the New Page button.
  3. Choose the following option from that menu;
    • OneNote 2003
      More Stationery Choices and Options…
    • OneNote 2007
      More Template Choices and Options…
    • OneNote 2010
      Page Templates…
  4. At the bottom of the newly opened Templates pane you’ll find a “Choose default template” list with templates to choose from.
  5. Repeat the above steps for each section that you want to apply a different default template to.

Accessing the Page Templates option in OneNote 2010
Accessing the Page Templates option in OneNote 2010.

Download or create your templates

You can download additional templates by visiting Templates section on Office.com. By clicking on the “Edit My Programs” link in the bottom left of that page, you can add a filter to only show templates for OneNote 2003, 2007 and 2010.

If you want to create a template yourself with some default text and other markup (like tables or tags/icons), simply create that page first in OneNote. Now open the Templates pane as indicated above. At the bottom you’ll find the option to save the current page as a template. Your templates will be stored in a My Templates.one file in the following location;

  • Windows XP
    C:\Documents and Settings\%username%\Application Data\Microsoft\Templates\
  • Windows Vista and Windows 7
    C:\Users\%username%\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Templates

Create and/or set default template for a section.
Create and/or set default template for a section.

Note: If your default template contains text, the text which is being sent from Outlook to OneNote will be always added to the bottom of your template. Of course you are free to move around the inserted text block afterwards.



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