How Can You Format Microsoft OneNote Pages?

by Jackie Lohrey
business woman at desk #15 image by Adam Borkowski from

Microsoft OneNote is the digital equivalent of a well-organized office. You can use OneNote to collect, organize, and file information such as text, pictures, reminders, audio and video files, links to web sites. If you use OneNote on a tablet PC, you can create digital handwriting. Although each page in OneNote opens as a blank slate allowing you to organize information as you wish, you also have the option to format Microsoft OneNote pages using formatting templates. Using page formatting in Microsoft OneNote can provide a familiar environment that makes it easier to place and locate information.

Format Pages Using a Predefined Template

Step 1

Open the [notebook]( you want to customize by clicking on the name from the "Notebooks" tab on the left side of the window. Select a section in the notebook you want to format, such as "Things To Do," then click "File," "New," and select "Page from Template" to create a new page and open the Templates Task Pane.

Step 2

Choose a template category and decide on a predefined format style. Templates are available in six categories: calendar, academic, blank, business, decorative, and planners.

Click the template style you want to apply to the new page.

Format Pages by Customizing a Predefined Template

Step 1

Open a notebook, create a new page and select a predefined template as you did in the previous section.

Step 2

Open the "Page Setup" task pane to view available options for custom formatting. Click "File" on the main menu, and then click "Page Setup" to open the task pane. Available options will depend on the basic template format but generally include items such as paper and margin size, options for creating rule and grid lines in varying styles and colors, choices for background colors, and an option for inserting a picture to use as a background object. Formatting selections apply immediately to the page, so view and change options until you are satisfied with the results.

Save the modified template. Select "Save current page as a template," located at the bottom of the "Page Setup" task pane, and give the new template a name. If you want to apply this template to all pages you create in this section of the notebook, place a check mark in the "Set as default" box. Click "Save" to save the new template and continue working in OneNote.


  • To create a new notebook, click "File" on the main menu, then "New" and select "Notebook" from the menu list. Type in a name for the notebook, select a notebook type, such as "Personal" or "Research," and click "OK" to create the new notebook.
  • You cannot format pages that already contain information. A workaround for this is to create and format a new page in the notebook and then copy and paste information from the old page. Delete the old page by right clicking the tab containing the page name and selecting "Delete."
  • The "Blank" template category is a good place to start if you want to customize a predefined template. Most blank templates are a blank slate, differing only in size and background color. For example, two size choices for a blank template include "Postcard" and "Legal."
  • If the standard templates available within OneNote are not to your liking, you can visit the Microsoft OneNote Template Gallery and choose from additional template options.


Photo Credits

  • business woman at desk #15 image by Adam Borkowski from

About the Author

Based in Green Bay, Wisc., Jackie Lohrey has been writing professionally since 2009. In addition to writing web content and training manuals for small business clients and nonprofit organizations, including ERA Realtors and the Bay Area Humane Society, Lohrey also works as a finance data analyst for a global business outsourcing company.

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