• Engineering OneNote Blog

    OneNote 2007 + MindManger


    I just got an email last week from Michael at Mindjet where he wrote me about a new app he wrote that allows you to:

    • From MindManager, you can easily map out the Notebooks, Section Groups, Sections, Pages, and Subpages, including hyperlinks:
      Select File...Open...OneNote 2007 Notebooks.
    • From MindManager, you can send the current map to OneNote as an image that you can sketch on and annotate:
      Select File...Export...Microsoft Office OneNote 2007.
    • From OneNote, you can send a page to MindManager as a hyperlinked topic:
      Press the Send to MindManager button on the Standard toolbar in OneNote.


    You can read all about it here: OneNote 2007 + MindManager. From talking with Michael he said it was one of the most popular addins they had with over 100 downloads in 24 hours! And that is even before we have publically shipped OneNote 2007! I can see right now that there are 332 download which is just amazing. Here are some screenshots:

    The hierarchy of OneNote 2007 notebooks, sections, and pages in MindManager

    A MindManager map in OneNote that you can sketch on.

    This is just amazing and great for our customers to hats off to Michael for writing this. He said that he used this blog post and documentation to write his tool: Creating Toolbar Buttons in OneNote 2007. So if you would like to do something like this please check out this documentation!

  • Engineering OneNote Blog

    Information on OneNote Misplaced Sections


    I saw someone ask about Misplaced Sections on the OneNote newsgroup so I thought I would blog about this.

    1. Misplaced Sections are created whenever OneNote could not sync some changes from the local cache to the master copy of the file. This might happen if you make some changes offline, then delete the master .one file and then come online; OneNote will move that section to the misplaced sections. You might also see this if you make changes to some notebook and while offline you try and close the notebook. OneNote will prompt you if you are sure you want to do this and if you choose to do so OneNote will create a Misplaced Sections virtual notebook and store the changed sections in there.
      The main point here is that OneNote will not delete changes to your content, we want to be very conservative with your content and lose it.
    2. Misplaced sections are only in the cache. These misplaced sections are not in the file system, you can only get to them from the cache and by running OneNote.
    3. They work like other sections so you can move them to other locations or deleted them; but they are read-only while they are in the Misplaced Sections notebook. If you have lots of misplaced sections and you want to quickly clear them out you can navigate to one of the sections and then choose File-->Delete all Misplaced Sections.
    4. If you reopen the notebook in question OneNote will attempt to patch up problems and move the misplaced sections out of that virtual notebook and move them to the master copy of the file. It works magically in certain cases, I was really impressed when I saw this working well.

    If you have more questions please let me know and I will add to this.  Ideally you should never see misplaced sections : )

  • Engineering OneNote Blog

    Integrating with a Document Management System


    Just last week a new paper was posted on OneNote's MSDN site: Integrating OneNote 2007 with a Document Management System. Alex Simmons, another PM on the OneNote team, has been working on this document and it is a great whitepaper helping explain how to program something that integrates OneNote and a DMS (document management system).

    I would recommend this paper to anyone who is interested in developing someone with OneNote. There are some great gems in the article such as:

    Files Are Saved Automatically

    Any changes made to the files are saved automatically. This happens on an interval, which differs based on where the file is actually stored:

    • Local drive: 5 seconds
    • UNC share: 30 seconds
    • SharePoint library: 10 minutes
    • HTTP share: 10 minutes

    By default, notebooks are stored in the user's My Documents folder.

    Working with the OneNote Cache

    When OneNote saves a change to a file, it first saves the change to the OneNote cache, and then later replicates and merges it with the actual .one file. The .one files may be stored on the local drive, on a share, or in a SharePoint library. The cache enables users to have continuous access to their notes, regardless of where the files are actually stored or if the user is online or offline. Users can make edits to files while they are offline and OneNote automatically merges the changes back to the file when the file is available again. This also prevents OneNote from writing the entire file from the cache each time replication happens. Instead, only changes are replicated and merged with the actual file.

    If your document management system supports SMB/CIFS or WebDAV, it may be possible to open the files stored in the document management system directly. However, if your version-history model is to create a copy for each version of a file, this does not work well, because OneNote continuously updates the open (and checked out) files as they are edited.

    By default, the cache file is stored at C:\Documents and Settings\user name\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\OneNote\12.0.

    • Cache file name: OneNoteOfflineCache.onecache
    • Cache thicket folder name: OneNoteOfflineCache_Files

    Pasted from < 

    Nice work Alex! If people have comments on the document please comment below.

  • Engineering OneNote Blog

    OneNote 2013 Preview is now available



    OneNote 2013 was announced earlier today as part of the Office Customer Preview , and we're really excited to show you what the team has been working on for the last two years. Over the next few weeks, Engineering OneNote will explore each of the changes we've made in detail, but for now you can check out What's New in OneNote 2013

    Try OneNote 2013 today

    We'd love to hear what you think of the new OneNote, so please let us know in the comments below. 

  • Engineering OneNote Blog

    I am official!


    I just read this on Chris' blog:

    A new OneNote blogger! I'd like to introduce Dan Escapa, one of our most energetic Program Managers who has just started blogging - well he blogged before but but this is his first blog for work-related stuff. We call Dan the "make it happen" guy (when we're not calling him the "intern who never went home" - inside joke). Welcome to the blogosphere Dan!

    Thank you much Chris.  Also if you haven't read Chris' blog I highly recommend it.

  • Engineering OneNote Blog

    OneNote 2007 Templates


    I have been working with Sheila who works on Office Online to get the OneNote templates up on Office Online. You can see them here:

    OneNote 2007 templates

    These are the same templates that you would see in OneNote when you chose File-->New-->Notebook. But now you can download them off the web or see them in OneNote, either way. Additionally you can create your own notebook templates, just save the file as a .onepkg file and that is your notebook template.

    If you all have questions please let me know!

  • Engineering OneNote Blog

    Pen Attention - highlights your pen cursor for giving presentations


    I wanted to pass on something I saw from Kenrick Mock which helps give presentations with the Tablet.  Here is a quick description:

    I've been using my Tablet PC to deliver lectures for years, and I love having the ability to record lectures, mark-up PowerPoint, and write by hand using OneNote. However, it's always bothered me that the pen cursor is a tiny little dot. An example is shown below from OneNote:

    In that image, the cursor is right below the number "2" but it's REALLY hard for my class to see on a projector since it's a teensie weensy dot. The problem is that I like to use the pen to "point" at things as I give the lecture, but it doesn't help if the class can't see it. To remedy this, I've been using the eraser mode of the pen while in hover mode to "point" at things I want to talk about. It works, but is a little klunky.

    After lots of searching around for ways to change the pen cursor to no avail, I finally (after 5 years!) got the idea to make my own program to highlight the cursor. A few afternoons of hacking later, and the result is PenAttention v1.0. This program draws a circle highlight, pencil, or pointer at the location of the pen, when the pen is detected on the screen:

    The class can easily see the location of the pen…

    You can download the software from here: and read his blog where he updates everyone on new features:


    I thought this would be useful for all of the teachers or other educators who are using a Tablet to present their material.
    Thanks Kenrick!

  • Engineering OneNote Blog

    Announcing the OneNote 2010 Beta


    Exciting day everyone!  We are releasing the OneNote 2010 beta today, so you can try out the newest version of OneNote right now!

    Download the Office 2010 beta here:


    We are super excited to unveil the work we as a team have been doing since releasing Office 2007 and we hope that you all are excited as we are, David talked about what's new in OneNote 2010 so please check out that post if you haven't already.  OneNote 2010 is OneNote's 3rd release and we have come a long way from where we started in Office 2003 to where we are today.  We are now part of every Office install, we have a web client, a mobile client and a desktop client which is better than ever.  Most importantly we have you all, people who use OneNote everyday in school, at work and at home...we are just so amazed to see how you all use OneNote and how it helps you everyday.  We have been listening to you all and I hope you all are happy with the release.    Hence the beta, now is the perfect time for you to submit your feedback and we will listen : )


    That being said you can download the beta here: and try it on your computer right now.  Please remember this is a beta and there will be bugs, hopefully not too many but please report anything you see in the beta.  I will have a post later today outlining how we will be listening to your feedback and submit bugs.  Also over the next weeks I will be posting about the new features and showing step-by-step how they work and why we designed them the way that we have.

  • Engineering OneNote Blog

    OMSpy - A OneNote developer’s tool


    I know a few people have created their own app which does this but I finally wanted to release the one that Ilya Koulchin created for us on the OneNote team. Introducing..OMSpy

    OMSpy Overview

    OMSpy is a tool to get you started using the OneNote API, it allows you to export the XML for an entire OneNote hierarchy, sections & pages. It also lets you update the hierarchy with one click of a button. Additionally you can update the page content and see if you edits are valid before updating them on a page.




    1. Refresh – This will refresh the current hierarchy of what you see in the view
    2. Release – This will release OMSpy's COM reference to OneNote
    3. Get Content – If you have an item selected this will give you the XML for the content. This is mainly useful for the pages
    4. Update Content – If you make changes in the content field it will update the XML accordingly and make a change on the page.
    5. Publish PDF – This will publish a PDF for the current item selected, via the API
    6. Save Archive – This will create a OneNote Package (onepkg file) for the item selected
    7. New Page – This will create a new page in the section selected
    8. Navigate To – This will launch OneNote and navigate to the item selected
    9. Update Properties – This will update the page's properties as listed under the main content
    10. Exit – Well I think you can understand this one

    All you need to do is to download and extract it wherever you want, make sure you have OneNote 2007 installed and then you are done! I believe it needs the .net 2.0 framework.


    If you have problems please let us know. <applause> Otherwise a big thanks to Ilya for his help on this! <applause>

  • Engineering OneNote Blog

    Submitting Watson Crash inforamtion


    Have you ever seen a crash dialog while using a beta product (and maybe even some released products)?  It looks something like this:

    (I actually had to go back to an old build to find this dialog).

    However when you see this in Beta2 please make sure to click on the "Send Error Report" button because this will send inforamtion to us, and on the next prompt click on "Continue" to send the data to us.  We go through those reports to see what is casuing major problems in the product.

    If you submit a bug on the Connect site regarding a crash please make sure to include your Watson bucket number.  What is a Watson bucket number?  Well when you click on that "Send Error Report" it will actually talk to a server about your problem and then determine if we need more inforamtion and then you get a number back to say what your problem was, that is the number we need when you submit you bugs.

    How to find your Watson bucket number:

    1. Start-->Run, type "eventvwr" and hit enter
    2. Click on the Application section
    3. Now look for a pair of items for an Error and Information and the Source will be "Microsoft Office 12"
    4. Double-click/open the Information item
    5. In the Description it will start with Bucket XXXX, where XXXX is your number.

    There you are, just use that bug when you submit the problem to us via the OneNote Connect site.

    For more infomration about Watson please see here: Watson by Chris Pratley

  • Engineering OneNote Blog

    A teaser on how OneNote storage and replication works


    The other day someone internally was asking how OneNote stored its files and how often the save behaviour actually happened. You know if you were to pull the power cord on your computer what would you lose and what wouldn't you lose? Well Irina Yatsenko from the OneNote Test team wrote up the following to answer the question and she wanted me to post it for all to see:

    Now, I'll describe in more details what we do in OneNote 2007:

    1. Internally all data from a single paragraph on a page up to a notebook are represented in a graph, which is split in areas we call "graph spaces". This allows us to load/save incrementally per a graph space, so when you open a notebook, you'd see all section tabs popping up almost immediately though pages inside those sections aren't yet loaded. When saving we can also choose which piece to save, rather than saving everything.
    2. We never save directly to the server hosting the files (even if it's a local machine). First we save into local cache file. Because the cache is local and OneNote has exclusive access to it, we can guarantee that save always succeeds (if not, OneNote will force an exit, because running without a cache means users might lose data, and we think it's better to exit then lose data). Save into cache happens every 30 sec or on exit ([descapa] I have found this to be faster at times though I am not pulling my power cord out)
    3. To propagate the data from the cache back to the original location of the sections we use background process – replication (=sync). Schedule for the sync depends on the actual store: UNC servers / local machine replicate every 30 sec, but for SharePoint it's by default set to 10 min. If replication fails (e.g. because the machine has lost power) the cache will still have the data and will try to replicate again after OneNote is restarted.
    4. Actual mechanics of the incremental save are rather technical. The bottom line is that we have our own binary format and all changes are stored in form of "revisions", sort of diff between current state and previously saved state. As these revisions grow OneNote will run optimization to clean up the revisions and update the main base state.


    Hope it clears things a bit, let me know if you have any questions.

    Thanks Irina! So I hope this explains things like why we have a cache (which allows OneNote to go offline, merge changes and more) as well as explain why our app works certain ways. The storage tech is actually quite complex and innovative; I haven't really appreciated it as much until I deal with other sync technologies that make me choose which copy is the most up-to-date, etc. There is still a lot more going on under the covers but this is a good overview, if you have more questions please let us know.

  • Engineering OneNote Blog

    Send a Smile feedback tool - no comments accepted after October 14


    I have written about Send a Smile before and it looks like it is time for it to be over. It has been a very valuable feedback tool for us on the team and we value your input however we are transition from finishing Office 2007 (Office12) we are now moving to planning and working on Office14; that being said the Send a Smile tool will be discontinued on 14-Oct-2006. Here is the announcement:

    Thank you for using the Send a Smile tool to tell us about your 2007
    Microsoft Office system experiences! Starting with early builds of the 2007
    Office system and continuing through the Beta2TR build, you have sent us more
    than 40,000 smiles and frowns, and we are thankful for every one of them.
    Reading your comments has been fun and insightful, but most importantly, it
    has continually helped us improve Office. Your Send a Smile feedback had a
    tangible impact on the product and your comments influenced many of our
    decisions over the last year.

    The Send a Smile tool has been designed exclusively for managing beta
    feedback. Due to the manual nature of processing feedback submitted using the
    tool, we regret we will no longer be able to respond to Send a Smile feedback
    after October 14, 2006. We will continue to investigate ways to make it easy
    for you to provide us with feedback of this nature in the future with an eye
    toward improving our processing system for this feedback.

    Please uninstall the Send a Smile tool before October 31, 2006, by following
    these steps:

    1. From the Start menu, point to Settings and then click Control Panel.
    2. Double-click Add/Remove Programs.
    3. In the list of currently installed programs, select Microsoft Office
    Information Worker Feedback Program and then click Remove or Add/Remove. If a
    dialog box appears, follow the instructions to remove the program.
    4. Click Yes or OK to confirm that you want to remove the program.

    Thanks again for using the Send a Smile tool!
    Mirko Mandic - Office User Experience Program Manager

    (Link1) (Link2)

    Thank you all for your feedback via this tool, but please uninstall it and get that hard drive space back : )

  • Engineering OneNote Blog

    Encryption for Password Protected Sections


    I just saw this question on an internal mailing list so I thought I would pass it on to the blogging community. The question was:

        What underlying security technology is used to protect OneNote content with passwords?

    Well the answer is:

    OneNote uses 3DES encryption, with 192 bit key length. We do encrypt all the content that you enter into the page, so once protected there is no way for someone to read it without knowing (or guessing) the password.

    What that means is the longer the password and the more complex the better. It takes some time but people can still brute force an attack on your files by guessing your password. Note that you cannot unlock password protected sections via the OneNote 2007 API. You just can't get to it unless the user opens OneNote and unlocks the password (even then they can still lock out API apps from getting encrypted content).

  • Engineering OneNote Blog

    Sending Feedback about OneNote 2013


    It's been a few days since the Customer Preview was released, and we'd like to thank all our users who downloaded and tried OneNote 2013. If you haven't downloaded the 2013 Preview already, you can get it here today.

    We'd also like to ask you to to send us feedback about OneNote whenever you find something that you like, dislike or want. You can always post in the comments below, or use one of these alternatives:

    Send a Smile

    You can click on the smiley icon in the top right corner of OneNote 2013 to send feedback. If you're using the Windows 8 style app, swipe up from the bottom to get to the feedback button.

    Send us smiles about features that you like or frowns about things that you don't like - our team looks at the feedback quite regularly, and it's super helpful to learn about what you find delightful or annoying.

    Microsoft Answers

    For more detailed questions or issues, reach us through the OneNote forum on Microsoft Answers. Some of our team members check the site regularly and help users with issues, as do many of our MVP's and helpful community members.

    Known issues with OneNote 2013 Preview

    We wanted to send a link to the known issues for Office 2013 Customer Preview, you can check there for known issues, but of course we look forward to your feedback!


    Thank you again for installing the Customer Preview! Stay tuned to the blog, starting next week we will go in-depth into some of the new features that we've added.

  • Engineering OneNote Blog

    Outlook Sidebar Gadgets, should OneNote get one too?


    Over on Melissa's & Ryan's blog they announce the Outlook 2007 Sidebar gadgets for download:

             Outlook Upcoming Appointments – shows you your upcoming appointments.

             Outlook Tasks – shows you your tasks and flagged mail all in one place, plus gives you an easy way to enter tasks, just like the To-Do Bar.

    Go check them out!

    Now I wanted to ask you all in the blogsphere would you like a Sidebar gadget for OneNote? What would you want it to do? We have some ideas and I wanted to get a pulse from you all. The Sidebar is a great technology which allows you to just have some information up on the screen. On my desktop I have the weather for outside (since I am indoors all day!) and the weather back where my family is. I also have a stock ticker and some beta gadgets that will be coming out shortly. I like the Sidebar but do you all use it? Please let me know in the comments or email me!

  • Engineering OneNote Blog

    Creating a C/C++ Add-In which works with OneNote!


    I thought I would take some time today and write up how to program a C/C++ add-in that works with OneNote 2007. Here are the directions I had and downloads below.

    1. Open Visual Studio and create a new C++ project.
    2. For my example I am creating a Win32 Console App:

    3. Now I want to add the OneNote2007 header file, OneNote12.h. You can find that attached with this document. Make sure to copy it to the folder with your C++ source files as well as add it to your header files like this:

    4. Add a new #include for OneNote:

      #include "OneNote12.h"

    5. Now just connect to OneNote like you would any other COM API. Please see here for an example:


          IApplication* piOneNote;


          CoCreateInstance(__uuidof(Application), NULL,

              CLSCTX_LOCAL_SERVER, __uuidof(IApplication), (void**)&piOneNote);




              BSTR temp;        

              HRESULT hr = piOneNote->GetHierarchy(NULL, hsNotebooks, &temp);

              wprintf(L"%s", temp);


    A huge thanks to Ilya Koulchin for his help with this, I couldn't have done this without you!


    This should be all that you need to get this working, but if you need anything please let us know!

  • Engineering OneNote Blog

    Fix for Daily Journal in OneNote 2007


    I was reading my feeds, I am way behind, and I saw this great post from AdminID over @ OneNote PowerToys, which discusses how to fix the Daily Journal for OneNote 2007. Here is what AdminID says:

    I was manually recreating the functions of the Daily Journal PowerToy using the same format and a "Links" page with a hyperlink to the section, but came across a tip by Ilya Koulchin this morning…To get the Daily Journal PowerToy to work in OneNote 2007…

    • Have to use the first open Notebook
      • Create a Section Group named "Journal"
      • Inside of that create a Section Group named "2006
      • Start up OneNote Daily Journal and press Windows-J for it to create a Section for the month and a page for today.

    And you can see what Ilya said earlier:

    We've tried to maintain compatibility with existing plugins for this release, however, due to the many improvements (such as allowing users to have multiple notebooks), it is not always clear how to map previous functionality into the new model, as evidenced in this case. In the future, if you discover other plugins that don't work as expected you can log them as bugs on the connect site.

    Ilya is one of the kickass developers on the team who have been working on sync'ing, the API and more. Thanks Ilya & AdminID!

  • Engineering OneNote Blog

    OneNote & Python - using OneNote COM API with Python


    I wanted to pass on a few awesome posts by a new team member, Varun Srinivasan, who has been exploring how to use OneNote with Python.  I wanted to share for people who wanted to learn how to connect OneNote with their favourite Python projects:

    Please check it out if you have been trying to get OneNote working with Python.  Great stuff Varun!

  • Engineering OneNote Blog

    Include OneNote in Start menu search results - WDS OneNote


    If you are using Vista you might have fallen in love with the new start menu which automatically includes Windows Desktop Search results when you search for something.  This enables you to search for programs, files and emails all from the same place.  The other day the OneNote PMs where in a meeting and someone said that they didn't see OneNote hits in the search menu results and I told them that this wasn't the case as I use it all of the time.  We I found the difference, I had changed a start menu search option which included the OneNote files and by default the option was set differently.  I wanted to share this with you all, here is how to set this up:

    Include OneNote hits in Vista start menu search results:

    1. Right-click on the taskbar and choose properties:
    2. Start Menu tab and then the “Customize..” button
    3. Scroll down to “Search files” and set it to “Search entire index”
    4. Click Ok & Ok.
    5. Success!

    For example I have an ING Direct account and I never remember my account number so I just type this into the search results and hit enter:



  • Engineering OneNote Blog

    Open as Notebook in OneNote - get it back in OneNote 2010


    Right-click on a folder and choose “Open as Notebook in OneNote” was a little used power feature we had in OneNote 2007 was removed in 2010 because many people were confused by it.  Many people just didn’t know how to use it and we improved our open experience in OneNote to people wouldn’t need to do this.  That being said I wanted to let you know that if you _really_ missed this you can add it back via the registry, just add this:

    Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

    @="Open as Notebook in OneNote"

    @="C:\\PROGRA~1\\MICROS~3\\Office14\\ONENOTE.EXE \"%L\""

    (or whatever you have for your location of OneNote)

    This should be it and you are done. 

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