Tip 1017: Using Outlook and Onenote Together

A user was complaining about syncing Contacts between Outlook, Hotmail, and iPhone. She often adds long notes to contacts but Hotmail only supports 1024 characters.

My suggestion: OneNote, with the notebook stored in SkyDrive. You can easily link Outlook Contacts to a OneNote notebook, with one page for each contact you link to OneNote. You can copy a hyperlink to the page and paste it into the contact's note field for easy access to the OneNote page for the contact.

To link a contact to OneNote, click the OneNote button on the ribbon. The first time you do this, a dialog opens asking you to choose a section.

Link an Outlook contact to OneNote

If you select the option at the bottom to always use this section, you won't see this dialog again. (You can change the section in OneNote's options).

A page is created for each Contact. The basic contact information is copied to OneNote, along with any attachments in the contact. Text notes are not copied to OneNote.

Outlook Contact information in OneNote

A link is added in OneNote that will open the contact; to open OneNote from a contact, click the OneNote button.

Right-click anywhere on the page and select Copy link to page to copy a hyperlink to the page. Two hyperlinks are put on the clipboard, one link is to the notebook page in Skydrive, so you can access the page in the a web browser from anywhere, using the OneNote web app; the other hyperlink opens the page in OneNote.

In additional to Outlook Contacts, you can link Email, Tasks, and Appointments or Meetings to OneNote. Meeting and Tasks can be added to the contact page or added as a separate page and made a subpage of a contact's page. You can keep your notes to yourself or share them with others.

While OneNote doesn't have all the features of Outlook's Journal, it can be a usable replacement for the Journal.

Published on August 23 2012

  • apricoto

    excellent. i had been looking for a journal replacement. since i use journal only for keeping notes about meetings, this may work for me. i'll have to try it.
    and, if i can find a way to transfer journal entries to onenote, even better.

  • Diane Poremsky

    Excellent idea. OneNote supports VBA. I'll see if i can put together something to push journal entries over. It looks like there is a base sample - http://code.msdn.microsoft.com/OneNote-2010-Create-New-880f8ee3 - just need to get the journal fields and push them over.

  • Diane Poremsky

    Here is a sample macro. It still needs some tweaking (IMHO), but it's a start.
    http://www.slipstick.com/outlook-developer/copy-journal-entries-to-onenote/

  • Ian Niamath

    This relates to the synchronizing issue. I am afraid to sync my blackberry and outlook as on a few occasions I have lost all my calender records on outlook from about three months previously to the beginning of time. I would like to know how I can retrieve the lost information as well as avoiding this catastrophic situation.

  • Diane Poremsky

    Sorry to say, unless you have a backup or they are in the deleted folder, you can't recover them. See Missing appointments for the settings to change on the BB to prevent this.

  • Alan Baljeu

    Correction: Unless I'm missing something, you CANNOT link to email, although you can link to tasks. Instead, Outlook will generate a dump of the email contents into a OneNote page.

  • Diane Poremsky

    Correct, you can't link to email using the OneNote button.

  • Phil

    OK - this is depressing. I am using Office 2013 and I don't see a OneNote button anywhere!! :(

  • D Poremsky

    In Outlook, go to File, Options, Addins - is the onenote addin enabled?

    This screenshots shows to buttons - one in the main outlook window and one in a meeting request.
    http://screencast.com/t/9E3IPkdyezE6

  • Phil

    Hi Diane! THanks for the tip...

    So... no, it seems it is not in the list of addins. I have:

    - Microsoft Exchange addin
    - Microsoft SharePoint Server Colleague import add-in (!)
    - Outlook Social Connector 2013
    - PDF Architect Outlook 2007 plugin
    - Plaxo

    Microsoft VBA for Outlook addin (inactive)

    avast! addin (disabled, odd!)
    Windows Search Email Indexer (disabled, should this not be enabled??)

    So what should I try now?

  • D Poremsky

    I would leave the avast addin disabled - it can cause problems and is not really needed as long as you have the 'autoprotect' feature enabled so it scans all writes to the drive. The outlook addin can slow send and receives and mess up messages - if you try to open an infected attachment, it'll be scanned at that time.

    Do you have onenote 2013 installed? :) (It should be included in all suites.) Try repairing the installation.

  • Phil

    I believe OneNote is just part of the Office Installation, it doesn't have a separate entry in the list of Programs installed. I am currently running a repair and will let you know how I get on....

  • Phil

    So... I repaired Office 2013 and still no OneNote addins are visible :(

    Aloso, the Windows Search Indexer was disabled automatically. Odd.

  • D Poremsky

    Indexer disabled is normal - it's a relic left from older windows and outlook when the search engine didn't hook directly into Outlook.

    I'll see if anyone knows why it's not installed.

  • Phil

    OK - the indexer is auto-disabled every time Outlook starts. So what about the OneNote addin? I'd really like this to work, as I'd like to start using OneNote properly, to keep tabs on contacts etc. and have back-links to the original contacts

  • D Poremsky

    I'm trying to find out what might have happened. Have you used onenote yet? it needs to set up the first notebook. If you create a note, is there a button to make it an outlook task?
    http://screencast.com/t/SMRGlEqus

  • Phil

    Sorry for the time delay. So yes I can see the outlook button that you highlighted.

    PS How are you getting snagit to post your screenshots online? I have an (older) version of Snagit and love it, but didn't know it could do that...

  • D Poremsky

    SnagIt: on the share tab / toolbar is a button for Screencast. The newest versions also upload to dropbox and google drive- if you have 9 or newer, the accessories are here: http://www.techsmith.com/snagit-outputs-windows.html

    Does the Outlook button in Onenote create a task? if so, we know the connection is working. Still waiting to hear back about why the onenote addin is missing in outlook.

  • Phil

    That's great, I learnt something I really didn't know about Snagit, they don't really advertise that feature much.

    The task button in OneNote DOES create a task in Outlook, so at least that part is working...

  • D Poremsky

    Did you ever try using Run as Administrator? I'm not sure it will help since the addin doesn't appear in the listing, but if run as admin works, try editing this registry key
    [HKEY_CURRENT_USERSoftwareMicrosoftOfficeOutlookAddinsOneNote.OutlookAddin] and changed the LoadBehaviour value from 2 to 3.