Staying Organised: How to Use Tags in OneNote

In the range of digital note-taking apps, Microsoft OneNote stands out with its wide range of text and inking features and user-friendly interface. One such feature that can significantly enhance your note organization is the use of tags. Tags in OneNote provide a simple yet powerful way to categorize, prioritize, and recall information. This week let’s explore how to effectively use tags in OneNote to stay organized.

Understanding OneNote Tags

Tags in OneNote are markers that you can attach to any piece of information in your notes. They function as visual cues, helping you categorise and prioritise within and between your notes. You can choose to use tags can represent a range of different types of information, such as important points, questions, to-dos, categories of information and more. OneNote provides a variety of pre-defined tags, but you can also create custom tags to suit your specific needs.

Tags used on a page

Using Tags in OneNote

To use tags in OneNote, simply select the text you want to tag and then choose the appropriate tag from the ‘Tags’ menu. You can apply multiple tags to the same piece of text if needed. Once you’ve tagged an item, a tag icon will appear next to it, making it easy to spot.

Because there are currently still two visually distinct versions of the OneNote app, the tags tool looks slightly different on each. In practice both function in the same way.

Choosing tags on pc and mac

For example, if you’re taking notes during a lecture, you might tag important points with the ‘Important’ tag, questions you have with the ‘Question’ tag, and tasks you need to complete with the ‘To Do’ tag. Later, when you’re reviewing your notes, these tags will help you quickly identify the key points, questions, and tasks.

Searching for Tags

One of the most powerful aspects of tags in OneNote is the ability to search for them. You can use the ‘Find Tags’ feature to create a summary page that lists all items with a specific tag. This makes it easy to locate and review specific types of information.

On mac you do this by clicking in the left hand sidebar, choosing the search tool (magnifying glass) and then selecting the tags you wish to find.

Search tool with tags

For instance, if you want to review all the important points from your notes, you can search for the ‘Important’ tag. OneNote will create a summary page that lists all the ‘Important’ points from your notes, making it easy for you to review them.

Summary page for tags search

Managing Tags

OneNote provides several tools to manage your tags. You can create custom tags, delete unused tags, and even rearrange the order of tags in the ‘Tags’ menu. To manage your tags, go to the ‘Tags’ menu and select ‘Customise Tags’.

Managing new tags on mac
Managing new tags on pc

Creating custom tags allows you to tailor your tags to your specific needs. For example, if you’re a student, you might create custom tags for different types of study materials, like ‘Lecture Notes’, ‘Textbook’, and ‘Online Resources’. This will help you categorise your notes based on the source of the information.

So What?

Tags in OneNote are a versatile and powerful tool that can significantly enhance your note organisation. By understanding how to use and manage tags, you can categorise, prioritise, and recall information more effectively. Whether you’re a student taking notes for a course, a professional managing a project, or just someone trying to stay organised, tags can help you make the most of your OneNote experience.




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