Microsoft OneNote: What is it?

This article is the first in a series of knowledge-base articles that have been produced to provide support and guidance for staff already using or planning to use Microsoft OneNote to set up OneNote Notebooks, Staff Notebooks and Class Notebooks.

  1. Why use Microsoft OneNote?
  2. Synchronise across multiple devices
  3. Summary of Benefits
  4. Further Reading and Additional Learning Resources
  5. Contact Us
Why use OneNote?

OneNote is a powerful tool for teachers, it can help with organisation, the creation of lesson resources and many other parts of the daily workflow.  Microsoft OneNote can be thought of as a digital notebook.  It is a tool that can be used to bring teaching content, notes and even student work into a single location.

Students need to be able to access their study material at any time and from anywhere.

From a student perspective… Imagine you were studying at home last night on your desktop computer and today at work a meeting gets cancelled and you decide to fit in ten minutes of study time. You quickly pull up your notes on your smartphone and spend ten minutes studying.

To summarise, OneNote allows staff to get organised, work more efficiently, & synchronise between devices.

  • Can be used to explore ideas
  • Can be used as a whiteboard and for mind mapping.
  • Notes can be added by being typed, hand-write or even annotated.
  • Annotate can be added to pictures and models.
  • Handwrite or type maths formulas and use the equation editor to explore problems.
  • Embed audio recordings for notes and assessments.
  • Add images from online sources as well as local images.
  • Videos from Stream and Flip can be embedded as well as YouTube and other video platforms.
  • Microsoft Forms can be embedded as well as other assessment tools like Quizlet.
  • Files from OneDrive and SharePoint can be embedded.
  • Creative content can be embedded like Microsoft Sways and other tools such as Genially and Canva.
  • Can be used to collaborate with others.
  • To keep track of tasks using the to-do list feature.
  • Being saved to the cloud means it can be accessed across multiple devices.

OneNote is included as part of your Teesside University Microsoft 365 account, it is cross-platform, flexible, offers accessibility support (including touch, handwriting and stylus) and synchronises to the cloud storage service.  There is also a completely free version of Microsoft OneNote that can be used; however, this version lacks some of this functionality.

Back to top

Synchronising across multiple devices

Staff and students can access OneNote from their laptops, phones and tablets which means they can access their study notes anywhere.  OneNote is currently available for:

Windows Apple Android Web
Desktop Mac Tablet All devices
Tablet iPad Phone Chromebook
Phone iPhone Wearable

Back to top

Summary of benefits
  • Organise notes in Notebooks, Sections and Pages.
  • Tags can be used to categorise and prioritise notes.
  • Audio and video files can be directly recorded into OneNote
  • It can be accessed from mobile devices and shared with others

Back to top

Further reading and additional learning resources

Please see the following learning resources for more guides on how to use OneNote:

Back to top

Contact Us

If you would like to discuss any of the above in more detail or explore the more advanced options of this feature, please don’t hesitate to contact the Digital Learning Specialists, who are more than happy to arrange bespoke coaching and mentoring sessions.

They are contactable at

Back to top